The Dirty John’s of the world….


Have you watched the Netflix TV show Dirty John as yet? Last week, I stumbled upon this show and by the end of the first episode I was enthralled with the story of John Meehan and Debra Newell. There is something about a true story that can just grab your attention and have you on the edge of your seat wanting more 🙂  So I ended up binge watching this show and watching the entire 8 episode first season in about three days.

The Netflix TV Show Dirty John chronicles the relationship between the handsome, smooth talking, always lying, scam artist Dr. John Meehan (an anesthetist) and Debra Newell, the hardworking, independent, wealthy businesswoman. They met on a dating website, fell in love and eventually got married after a couple months of dating. After a little while however, things began to fall apart and Debra learnt information about John that caused friction in the relationship and its eventual demise.

Right: The real Debra Newell and John Meehan. Left: The actors in the TV Show.                            Pic courtesy:

The sad thing about this story is that it happens more often than you think. There are many Dirty Johns and Dirty Janes, who scam other persons, cheat, lie, abuse, and con their way through life and there are many innocent persons and sometimes slightly foolish and gullible persons who end up suffering at the hands of these types of persons. But what can you learn from this show, how can you recognize the Dirty John’s in your life? :/

  • Your close family and close friend do not like this person. This is and will always be a major red flag. Yes, sometimes your family members could just be jealous of your new found happiness or this new person in your life, but most of the times, your family and close friends want the best for you and they are often the first ones to notice when someone is not being genuine or that there may be some serious issues with their personality. Sometimes when you are in a relationship, you maybe too caught up with all the dinner dates and flowers and good times to notice. You may overlook that time when he / she cursed out the waiter for making a mistake with an order by bringing orange juice instead of grapefruit juice…….over-reaction much? 😮
  • Their friends and family don’t have anything good to say about them or you have not met any of their friends or family members.  This, in my opinion is also a red flag. From the portrayal of their relationship on the show, Debra never met any of John’s friends or family and in his previous relationship his friends at the wedding, told his first wife that they could not understand how a good, wholesome girl like her would end up with a guy like John. Red flag! Red flag! Now, of course, guys always tend to roast each other at weddings and joke around, but somehow this seemed genuine, they did not understand how a good girl would end up with a fella like John. And then there was Debra, why hadn’t she met any of John friends, family or coworkers? Didn’t she think that this was a bit strange?
  • You have to choose between your friends and family and this person. This …. this is a problem. If the new person in your life is creating such an issue that you have to choose between them and your family and friends, maybe it is time to take a step back from this relationship and reassess the situation. If it is a situation where your family and friends are encouraging you to do things that are illegal or maybe morally questionable and this new persons does not want these influences in your life, then okay but, if this new person does not get along with your older kids, or your siblings or mother and makes you stay away from family gatherings or limes with your friends, then this maybe another red flag. o_O
  • People can only fake it for so long. Even with a professional, lifelong scammer like John Meehan, Debra was able to find cracks in his personality and lies about his personal history after a couple of months. A person maybe able to sell you a story about themselves, paint a pretty picture, have the most loving, kind and gracious personality and keep up this act for a certain period of time. However, a person can only act for so long. Of course, there are persons who are always genuinely nice and caring, but someone who is faking it, they cannot keep that act up forever. Relationships take time. You have to spend time with a person to know their true nature. Don’t rush. However, remember that no-one is perfect but a fake person will show their true colours eventually.

In closing, I will like to thank Debra Newell and her family for sharing this story. As she herself said, she knows it may not cast her in a particularly great light but it is a story that many persons could learn from. It is a brave thing she did telling this story and it really is a entertaining, yet thought provoking and educational show. You should check it out on Netflix when you get chance and by the way, the acting by Connie Briton who played Debra Newell was outstanding.

Much Love


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