‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story’ Episode 3 Recap: “Marriage Encounter”

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story
Christian Slater as Dan Broderick and Amanda Peet as Betty Broderick in ‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story’ episode 3 (Photo by: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network)

USA Network’s Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story episode three opens with a flashback to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1973. Dan’s discussing a point in class and finishes his summation with, “In the right circumstances, lying serves a greater good.”

The scene switches to San Diego in 1981 where Dan (Christian Slater) is having lunch with his legal colleagues. They’re discussing how Martin should set himself up if he wants to get a divorce. The lawyers all toss in their suggestions on how to manage his taxes and income in preparation. Plus, they suggest he get his kids into therapy (and pay in advance) and if he wants to make any large purchases to do so now while married because he’s less of a credit risk. (It’s infuriating to hear them explain how to manipulate the system!)

Dan, who’s been soaking this all in, adds, “When you do finally leave, make sure that Yvonne knows that’s what you’re doing.” He explains this is because it’s important to establish for the court a legal date of separation.

Meanwhile, Betty (Amanda Peet) and Karen Kintner (Missi Pyle) are waiting for Yvonne (Martin’s wife) to show up for lunch. Karen assumes Yvonne is humiliated because her husband’s cheating on her and wants a divorce, but Betty sticks up for her friend.

Evelyn joins the ladies and Betty reveals she’s heard Martin wants to work it out. She believes they just need to get counseling to solve their issues.

Yvonne finally shows up and announces she and Martin will be going to counseling.

Later, Betty tells Dan about their lunch conversation. She genuinely believes Martin and Yvonne will emerge from this stronger than ever.

A flashback shows Dan putting off his fellow students when they ask him to join their study group. Instead, it’s Betty who helps him prep for classes and exams. Dan also lies to his classmates and says he types up his own briefs when it’s actually Betty who pounds away at the typewriter as he dictates.

A leap forward shows Dan pitching himself in a one-on-one meeting with a potential client. He’s a good salesman, assuring this man his daughter’s case will get his full attention. He reminds the man that he’s the only Ivy League lawyer in town who’s also an MD.

Later, Dan and Betty celebrate his new client’s million-dollar settlement with dinner at a fancy restaurant. One of Dan’s lawyer friends comes over to congratulate him and you can see Dan visibly cringe when Betty brings up how they used to live on food stamps in Boston. When he walks away, Dan expresses his displeasure, but Betty is proud of what they’ve accomplished considering where they came from. She ends up apologizing for upsetting Dan and for having her own opinions.

Time takes a leap forward and Dan’s single law practice has expanded tremendously. Dan and Betty return to the ritzy restaurant, and Betty’s practically giddy over the fact this is now their every day life. Dan stomps on her happiness by telling her to stop bringing up the struggle of those early years of their marriage.

Martin pays a visit to Dan after hours and reveals he’s proposed marriage to a woman named Amelia. Betty also learns from Yvonne that she knows about Martin’s plans to remarry. (Apparently the counseling sessions didn’t do any good.) Betty assures her no one in their circle will attend that wedding.

In the days following, Betty, Karen, and Evelyn have lunch and discuss the upcoming wedding. Betty’s disgusted by the affect this will have on Yvonne but when she invites the ladies to join her in taking Yvonne somewhere on the day of the wedding, they reveal they have to attend the nuptials because of their husbands’ connections to Martin.

Betty tries to shame them into staying away, but they’re determined to attend so as not to upset their husbands.

Dan rushes home on the day of the wedding, apologizing for being late and assuring Betty he’ll quickly change into a suit. Betty is relaxing with a magazine and definitely not dressed to attend a society wedding. She’s going to support Yvonne, even if all of their friends will be at the wedding. Dan attempts to tell her she doesn’t know Martin’s side of the story. After a brief argument, Dan gets ready and attends without Betty.

Betty noticed a Marriage Encounter flyer while at church and brings it up with Dan one evening. She thinks it would be healthy for their relationship, but Dan’s initially reluctant because he claims to be too busy. Betty doesn’t let him off the hook. He won’t touch her or really talk to her, and she feels lost and scared. Her self-worth appears to depend on how Dan views her.

Finally, Dan admits he now longer believes in going to church and doesn’t respect organized religion. That takes Betty by surprise; she had no idea he’d lost his faith. Betty’s about to give in when Dan acknowledges that if she thinks attending Marriage Encounter is important, he’ll go.

The couple attends a Marriage Encounter session and both pledge to support each other and work on their relationship.

Next, we see Betty returning from a shopping trip carrying half a dozen bags. The phone rings as she enters the house and it’s Dan complaining about all the large charges on their credit card. Betty explains some were for the kids, some were gifts, and some were in fact clothes she bought for herself. However, Betty claims a $900 charge wasn’t hers. Dan can’t believe she’s denying it and warns her to exercise more restraint. As they’re talking Dan finally realizes the $900 charge was his for purchasing new shirts. Even though he doesn’t apologize, Betty says she forgives him.

A few years pass and Betty doesn’t have any problem spending the money Dan’s bringing in. She redecorates their home and both Brodericks indulge in shopping for expensive clothing. Out with friends, Betty admits Dan’s been calling himself the Count De Money as a joke.

Dirty John Season 2 Episode 3
Rachel Keller as Linda Kolkena in ‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story’ episode 3 (Photo by: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network)

A maître d’ retrieves Betty to inform her their table’s ready. She heads over to where Dan’s talking to his friend, Mitch, and as she walks up, she overhears him say, “She’s just so beautiful.” It’s obvious Betty’s puzzled and disturbed by his comment.

At home later that evening she asks who he called beautiful. He laughs and says it’s a new girl at the office. He claims Mitch has a thing for her, but Betty points out Mitch doesn’t work in his office. Dan reminds her he does however work in the same building.

The beautiful girl is a receptionist, but Dan says he doesn’t know her name. Betty continues to pepper him with questions, clearly concerned about this attractive woman.

Betty pays a visit to Dan’s office and spies on the receptionist. She learns her name is Linda.

The tension is building in their relationship. Even during a relaxing day at the beach with the family Dan appears tense and uncomfortable. They return home and Dan announces he’s hired an assistant. Betty’s happy about this development, believing it will mean Dan will have more time to spend at home with his family. Her joy is short-lived as she learns the new assistant is Linda the receptionist.

Betty asks if Linda has a degree, can type, or has ever worked in a law office. Based on Dan’s reply, none of those skills apply to Linda. When Betty implies he hired her because of her looks, Dan calls her childish. Betty becomes angry, arguing it’s not childish to think that when he’s hired someone with no experience for an important position in his firm. Dan claims she’s just being crazy and when Betty threatens that he needs to fire Linda or leave their home, he doesn’t respond.

In the days that follow Betty calls the law firm and asks for Linda. When Linda gets on the phone, Betty immediately hangs up. Dan didn’t take her threat seriously.

She’s wiping tears from her eyes as Dan arrives home. Betty reminds Dan she asked him to get rid of Linda and reveals she called and Linda answered the phone. She becomes emotional as she asks why Linda’s still there. Dan warns her it’s not her decision and he pays for everything – the house, her clothes, etc. “So if anyone’s going to be getting out, it’s you,” he threatens.