Dirty John is the predecessor to Doctor Death from Wondery. Although the stories are not connected, Dirty John is Wondry’s first taste of a top ten show and produced similarly. The podcast opens up with a coroner describing the knife wounds from a murder. Dirty John is about a woman’s hopeless attempt at finding her soul mate. She meets John on a dating website–he is a Doctor, holds multiple degrees, and seems to be an expert in everything. Debra runs a successful interior design business in Newport California and finally thinks she found her match. However, it turns out John is far from the successful Doctor he portrays.
The story of Dirty John and the overall quality of the podcast is intoxicating. Every episode is fantastic. Through first-hand interviews of those involved, the story unravels of John who is nothing more than a con-artist. He spent time in jail for drug possession and has multiple restraining orders against him. To avoid spoilers, the podcast ends with a murder.
The podcast aside, I find it depressing a story like this could happen. Debra is so enamored with the thought of seeing her significant other that she ignores multiple signs that something is not right with John. Besides the fact John alienates her from her family, she does not question his long absences from work, mysterious friends, and they get married in less than a few months.