Betty murders Dan and Linda after nobody takes her declining mental health seriously.
Dirty: John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Seven “The Shillelagh,” directed by Alexandra Cunningham, is about the murder of Linda Kolkena and Dan Broderick. The real or fictional Betty has no real excuse for murdering two people, but the television show documents how there were many warning signs. Instead of helping Betty, both Dan and Linda played with her mind. Betty is not a victim, but she could have been stopped. Her friends only try to contain her. Dan and Linda emotionally or legally destroy Betty.
Betty’s gun purchase should have been the first significant warning sign. Instead, everybody decided Betty was acting overdramatic. Betty shows her sons the handgun. She tells them never to touch the gun or tell anybody about it. Ryan informs Dan that Betty now owns a gun, but he still refuses to buy a home security system, even though Betty has threatened to kill him several times. Dan thinks that Betty is just playing mind games with him.
During his bachelor party, one of Dan’s lawyer friends asks him if he is nervous now that Betty owns a gun. Dan flippantly states that all Betty cares about is money. She would never kill the “golden goose.” Dan doesn’t realize that money is just part of why she is so crazed about the divorce. Betty wants the whole marriage back. She doesn’t know who she is without being Mrs. Broderick. She feels like Dan stole her entire identity. Betty worked hard, building the perfect family. Dan’s arrogance blinds him and he doesn’t report her to the police. If Betty is willing to keep on leaving offensive voice messages even though it leads to her serving jail time, she is not acting logically.
Linda doesn’t help matters either. The new bride has enough after she steals her wedding guest list. Linda takes her anger out on the sons, attacking them for letting Betty into the house when she dropped them off. Dan stands up for his sons, knowing that they cannot control an adult. She and Dan fight over how they are going to get the guest list back. At the end of her rope, Linda breaks into Betty’s house while she is at her job. Betty now assists at a pre-school. She doesn’t find the guest list but steals Betty’s diary instead. Linda bumps into Betty’s cleaning woman as she leaves the home.
When Betty comes back, the cleaning woman tells her that a blonde woman who is not her daughter was in the house. She knows its Linda when she can’t find her diary. Betty becomes more outraged. Back at her home, Linda shows Dan the journal telling him how she broke into Betty’s house. She doesn’t see the problem since Betty has broken into their house so many times. Dan correctly scolds Linda telling her that they don’t stoop to her level. They don’t violate laws by trespassing and stealing his ex-wife’s property. He tells Linda to return the diary.
Linda returns the journal after a judge forces Betty to fork over the guest list. If Betty didn’t, then Dan wouldn’t have to pay spousal support. But breaking back into the home to give back the diary leaves the ex-wife even more paranoid. She hallucinates Linda and Dan mocking her journal entries. ” The Shillelagh” evokes Betty’s paranoia with eerie voice-over of her internal hallucinatory dialogue as she stares obsessively at the diary.
Betty’s friends do their best to stop her from doing anything rash. They make up beeper codes to warn each other if they lose sight of her during Dan’s second wedding ceremony. Karen hangs out with Betty during the ceremony. Even though Betty continues to act up, her friends think that her not ruining Dan’s wedding means she is no longer obsessed.
I think that everybody is fooled by the fact that Betty seems to be making some progress. She is going to therapy. The therapist urges Betty to work toward getting her sons back instead of acting on her impulses. Betty looks for a new home to buy. But Dan’s happiness leads her further into manic depression.
After returning from a relaxing honeymoon in Cabo, Dan refuses to engage in any serious talks about shared custody until Betty stops leaving vile voice messages in contempt of court. Instead of changes her actions, Betty wallows in her pain. She steals keys to Dan and Linda’s house from her eldest daughter. Bringing it one step closer to the murder. If only Kim had remembered the keys or had realized she left them, then maybe there would have been no shooting. Dan could have changed the locks or finally called the police.
Betty finally snaps after Linda and Dan decide to try to conceive. Betty feels she has no real purpose after learning that Dan wants to have a child with somebody else. Betty breaks into tears frustrated and resentful that her son has to give up Disneyland to spend time with her. She doesn’t realize that the important thing is that her children love her more than a theme park, plus she can fight to gain more custody.
That night Betty lets her rage at Dan take control. She drives over to their house with the stolen keys. Thankfully the episode doesn’t show the actual murder. The loved ones of the victims don’t need to see the glorification of the killing. Instead, Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story shows Betty telling everybody about the shooting over the phone. “The Shillelagh” ends with Betty sitting in jail. Next week, we will see the theatrics of the trial.