In Episode 204 of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, Dan begins to turn his attention to his new paralegal—and eventual lover—Linda, while spinning a complex web of lies that creates a pressure cooker for Betty.
“You make me want to do great.”
While working as the receptionist for the building where Dan’s firm is located, Linda can barely hide her crush on Dan, checking him out every time he walks by. Once he notices her and initiates a brief chat, it isn’t long before he offers the job as his paralegal despite her inability to type. But she’s eager to learn as much as she can and is more than willing to put in the same long hours as Dan.
Betty Unknowingly Enters the Pressure Cooker
After Betty’s ultimatum to fire Linda is rejected by Dan, Betty asks him if he’s sleeping with her. Though he denies it and is often loving and attentive with Betty, she can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying, which causes her to question his every move. Especially since somehow Linda is always there—on the phone with Dan, driving him to pick up his new car, in the courtroom for a hearing that Betty attends with her daughter to observe for a school assignment. What Betty doesn’t know is that by October 1983, Dan has in fact begun an affair with Linda—and the whole office knows it. In an effort to fight for her man, Betty tries to surprise Dan at work for his birthday only to find out that Dan has left the office for the day. Convinced that he wants out of their marriage, she sets fire to his suits. But Dan comes home with what seems like a reasonable explanation for his whereabouts, so Betty apologizes, relieved that she was wrong, or at least, that she can go on believing him despite her nagging suspicions to the contrary.
Bait and Switch
Even while his affair with Linda deepens, Dan continually throws Betty enough bones to keep her thinking that he’s still in it for the long haul, like buying the house in La Jolla together and suggesting she reverse her tubal ligation so they can have more children. All the while, Dan has been setting his complex plan in motion to wall off his finances and leave Betty so he can eventually marry Linda, who’s tiring of keeping their relationship a secret from her family. Using the excuse that he needs “time to think,” Dan moves out, leaving Betty to pack up and move her belongings into the new house without him or his things. He then returns to the Coral Reef house and announces that not only will he live there without her but also that she’s now on her own.
Tug of War
Betty makes a grave misstep when she tries to punish Dan and block his “fun” with Linda by sending the kids to stay with him while she heads east for her father’s birthday. In retaliation, Dan seeks and wins an emergency judgment granting him temporary physical custody of the children. Twenty-three months after Dan began his affair with Linda, Betty gets served divorce papers. Betty continues to spiral, looking for evidence that Linda is living at the Coral Reef house by letting herself in when no one is home. Dan gets a court order prohibiting her from stepping foot on the Coral Reef property without his permission. Betty finally seems to understand where she stands with Dan, but she has to know: has she been crazy for imagining his affair with Linda? He confirms that he’s in love with Linda and that Betty was right the whole time. Betty seems relieved to know that she isn’t crazy, but that relief is overshadowed by both the cold hard truth… and the sheer extent of his deception.