‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story’ Episode 7 Recap: “The Shillelagh”

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Episode 7
Amanda Peet as Betty Broderick in ‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story’ episode 7 (Photo by: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network)

The end of episode six of USA Network’s Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story found the judge ruling in Dan’s favor and Betty shopping for a gun. Episode seven, “The Shillelagh,” opens with Dan (Christian Slater) delivering a lecture to a class of law students. The topic is the definition of a statement of fact and how two people can perceive the same incident differently. He suggests a client’s truth is the ultimate truth because the job of a lawyer is to focus on their client’s perception of events.

Meanwhile, Linda (Rachel Keller) and her friends are busy giggling over Linda’s bachelorette party plans. They joke about Betty still leaving messages on Dan and Linda’s answering machine. Linda reenacts a message, using Betty’s language and calling herself “the whore.” She toasts to herself, quoting Betty, “Once a whore, always a whore.”

Linda’s friends are incredulous, unable to fathom how Linda puts up with Betty’s rage. Linda lightens the mood by singing “Chapel of Love.”

Betty (Amanda Peet) is home alone, the gun case open on the kitchen table. She’s writing her thoughts in her diary, talking about the dark tunnel Alice Through the Looking Glass fell down and how she doesn’t stand up for herself.

Another day finds Betty listening to her daughter describe the plans for Dan and Linda’s upcoming wedding, and she’s upset Dan’s planning on wearing formal morning dress after refusing to wear that at their wedding. She also learns Dan’s taking Linda to the Caribbean for their honeymoon. She thinks Dan’s just repeating what he did with her including the month of the ceremony and the morning dress.

Betty has her boys over and while they’re playing, they knock something over. Betty reacts quickly and picks it up. She then makes them promise if she shows them something, they’ll never handle it.

Later, Betty returns the boys to Dan’s and sends one up to fetch a dress from Tracy’s room. She waits in the doorway for only a moment before stepping inside, fully aware she’s not legally allowed to enter Dan’s house. She shuts the door behind her and spots a box of pink bachelorette shirts nearby. She snags one as well as a large pink envelope off the counter.

Her son retrieves the dress and she gives him a hug and kiss before taking off.

That evening Linda and Dan are going over seating arrangements for the reception when Linda discovers her invitation list is missing. She immediately blames the boys – who’ve entered the room asking about dinner – for letting their mom inside the house. Dan calms the boys down and assures Linda they won’t let Betty keep the stolen list.

Linda pouts and wants to know why Betty won’t leave them alone. Dan swears he’ll get the list back.

Betty’s busy using the list to make phone calls. She’s telling Dan’s friends and colleagues they’re not on the list in order to make them angry at Dan.

Dan takes a seat next to one of the boys on the couch and apologizes again for Linda’s behavior. He blames it on how women get stressed while they’re planning a wedding and need everything to go perfectly. The young boy confesses to his dad that his mom has a gun. He reveals Betty told them not to touch it and asks if it’s okay she has it. Dan thinks she’s not keeping it a secret and told the boys so they would pass the news on to him.

Linda overhears the conversation and appears concerned.

Betty’s at her job at the preschool when she receives a phone call. No one is on the other end of the line so she hangs up.

The call was Linda checking to see if Betty’s home. Learning she’s not, she goes through Betty’s house looking for her list. She finds Betty’s diary and is reading a few entries when the maid arrives. Linda scurries out, claiming to be Betty’s friend who just dropped by to pick something up.

Betty returns home as the maid’s still cleaning. The maid explains a young blonde stopped by to retrieve something, but she’s unaware of what the stranger wanted. Betty looks concerned and then frantically searches for her diary. It’s missing.

Linda tries to show Dan what’s in Betty’s diary, but he doesn’t want anything to do with it. He chastises her for breaking the law by entering Betty’s place, and Linda bites back reminding him Betty always breaks into theirs.

Linda starts reading out loud from the diary and Dan stops her. He tells Linda to put it back where she found it – and he doesn’t care how she does that. She storms off, upset.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Episode 7
Amanda Peet as Betty Broderick and Steven Culp as Bakter FKA Bibb in ‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story’ episode 7 (Photo by: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network)

Betty’s hauled into court because Dan’s accusing her of taking their wedding invitation list. Her attorney (Stephen Culp) demands to know if she took it and she claims not to even know what they’re talking about. Her attorney argues on her behalf that it’s a baseless accusation. The judge, however, takes Dan’s side – again – and will allow Dan to withhold payments until she gives it back or explains where it is.

Betty’s attorney begs her to explain what’s going on and she finally takes the list out of her purse and hands it over. When she returns home, her diary is right inside the door. She imagines Linda and Dan laughing as they read what she’d written over the past months.

Linda and Dan meet with a security company, worried Betty might try and ruin the wedding. Linda believes Betty might even try to ruin the supplies as they’re being delivered. They admit they haven’t heard any specific rumors of what Betty has planned, but Linda confesses Betty has joked about shooting them.

Dan and Linda confirm Betty has a gun. Dan also confirms he hasn’t installed a security system at the house. He assures the security guard that he should be able to handle Betty if she shows up to cause trouble.

Betty’s friend Karen wants to plan a trip out of town or something to keep Betty’s mind off the wedding. Betty doesn’t want to go anywhere on that day, and instead would like to buy herself an expensive watch engraved with Dan and Linda’s wedding date. Karen plans to come over on Sunday – the wedding day – to keep Betty company.

Betty buys herself a happy anniversary cake.

Karen meets with another friend of Betty’s and describes what Betty told her about wanting to buy a watch. They’ve bought pagers they’ll use to keep each other in the loop as to Betty’s whereabouts on the wedding day. They work out a code – 666 is a heads-up number that something might be wrong. A 911 page from Karen will mean she can’t find her and to give Dan a warning Betty’s on the loose.

Dan confirms to a friend there will be security guards at the wedding. He doesn’t seem overly concerned and tells his friend to stop worrying, even though his friends think Betty has a hit list. He’s sure all Betty cares about is money so she won’t kill him since he’s her source of income.

The guests arrive on April 22, 1989 and Betty’s at home with Karen. They look through old photo albums and Betty wonders if Karen feels sorry for her. Karen doesn’t and believes Betty is strong enough to handle life on her own.

Linda and Dan return from their honeymoon and Linda changes the answering machine message. The court had ordered Dan to get his girlfriend off the machine, but Linda points out now she’s his wife. The order no longer applies. Obviously, all she’s doing is poking the bear.

Betty meets with her therapist and he describes her children – who live a luxury lifestyle – as “in crisis.” He wants her to help them and herself by getting them home.

The boys are over for the weekend and she explains she may be moving to a smaller condo. They make her feel better about their possible new living arrangement by revealing their friends have bunk beds in a shared room. She suggests the next weekend they come she’ll take them looking for a place.

When one of the boys points out they won’t be with her for a while, Betty tenses up. Dan and Linda will be taking them to Indiana for the Notre Dame vs USC football game. Betty’s mood noticeably darkens.

The day of the game Betty watches the action on the gridiron at a bar. She tells a friendly lady she’s sitting near that she met her ex-husband in South Bend in 1965. Betty then reveals her husband left her for his secretary and is now at the game with her plus their kids. She becomes emotional as she talks about Dan having a great time with his new wife at the place they met and fell in love. Betty wonders what Dan’s friends’ wives think about Dan being with some young chick.

A few days later, Betty puts in an unexpected appearance at a restaurant where three of her friends are having lunch. They’re shocked to see her and she pulls up a seat at the table, uninvited. They ask how she’s doing and she reveals Dan and Linda are going to the Greek Isles and want the boys to be left at their place with the housekeeper instead of with her. This means she’ll have to beg a judge to let her be her sons’ mom for two weeks. She’s livid, and her friends don’t engage in the conversation. Instead, they look uncomfortable as she rages on about Dan and Linda.

Betty meets with her attorney and learns Dan’s refusing to discuss custody. The attorney shares a letter from Dan complete with transcripts of recent answering machine messages. Dan also claims Betty’s committed 20 separate acts of contempt since the judge’s last ruling. He threatens Betty with another jail sentence.

Betty curls up in bed with Dan’s letter playing over and over in her head.

Betty’s daughter is over visiting her mom and after a heated discussion, she storms off – leaving her purse on the table. Betty fishes out her daughter’s keys and puts them in her pocket.

Linda and Dan have dinner out with a friend and they’re absolutely giddy over their trip to the Greek Isles. They reveal their next vacation will be to Australia and their friend’s overjoyed. But then they drop a bombshell – the Australia trip may have to wait because they’re hoping to add a new member to their family!

Linda’s absolutely bubbling over with excitement about the idea of having a child.

November 4, 1989. Betty has lunch with a friend and is distracted as the woman describes her son’s Halloween costume. Betty reveals Dan had said she could take them trick or treating but then they called and canceled. She confides this wasn’t her first Halloween without them, but it will probably be the last time they want to go out trick or treating since they’re getting older.

Betty looks defeated and depressed, and she asks her friend if Linda’s pregnant. The woman claims not to know anything about Dan and Linda’s relationship.

Her boys are over for the weekend and as they do dishes, one of her boys says his friend invited him to Disneyland this weekend but he said no. He turned his friend down because if he went, he couldn’t see his mom. She begins sobbing and he asks her not to cry again, suggesting she does this a lot. She blames her emotions on lack of sleep and he suggests she should get some.

Fully dressed, she lays on top of her bed and doesn’t close her eyes. A while later she rises, unaware her son has crawled into bed with her.

She walks through her house in the dark, with only the kitchen light on. Betty retrieves the keys she stole from her daughter’s purse and gets into the car. She realizes she’s going over the edge but doesn’t stop. Instead, she takes her gun from her purse and enters Dan’s home.

A short while later she begins calling friends, waking them from their sleep and confessing what she did.

Friends swing by Dan’s house, believing this is a prank. Her daughter explains Betty doesn’t know if Dan’s dead and told her it was dark and she heard Dan talking to her.

Tracy calls her dad’s house and no one answers.

Betty rings up her father but doesn’t stay on the phone.

Betty finally returns home and her daughter, Jenny, plus the friend from HALT are with her. The friend explains that no matter what happened to Dan, the truth is Betty went to his house and fired a gun. She suggests Betty turn herself in and get a criminal lawyer to help her with the police.

As the friend’s talking, Betty and her daughter are staring at each other without speaking.

Next we see Betty in the passenger seat of her friend’s car. Her new attorney arrives, introduces himself, and confirms Dan and Linda are dead.

The scene shifts to Linda and her new attorney standing in front of the judge. Betty’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder. She pleads not guilty and requests a jury trial. Due to the seriousness of the charges, Betty is remanded into custody.

The episode ends with Betty, now in jail attire, being locked in a cell.