Dirty John is a true crime story focusing on the life and exploits of John Meehan. L.A. Times Journalist Christopher Goffard first heard of Meehan when he learned that the police were investigating a possible murder in Newport Beach. Upon investigating, Goffard discovered a bizarre web of deceit and abuse.
The main focus of the story is Meehan's relationship with businesswoman Debra Newell, who he met via Internet dating, as well her immediate and extended family. The podcast deals with themes of abuse and manipulation, as well as the behaviours of those being abused.
Episode 1: The Real Thing
Debra Newell, an interior designer in Southern California, meets John Meehan on an over-50 dating site. His profile looks exciting: Anesthesiologist, divorced, Christian. She falls in love fast. But her children dislike him and warn her that his stories don’t add up. A psychologist advises Debra to set firmer boundaries with her kids, saying she has a right to be happy.
Link to whole series on Wondery: