Amanda Peet, who plays Broderick, "channels so much energy into the role of this simultaneously gutsy, broken, and naïve woman, it’s amazing that she still had the capacity to walk off the set every day when filming was complete," says Jen Chaney. "Her Betty is exhausting and, as her ordeal continues, exhausted. After being arrested for killing her ex-husband and his new wife, the first thing she does upon arriving in her cell is lie down on the wafer-thin prison mattress and exhale, as if she’s finally found peace for the first time in years." Chaney adds that Dirty John's "time-skipping approach, along with the fragmented imagery and hazy memories that sometimes seep into scenes, puts the audience into Betty’s headspace, where her fixation on rekindling the past often prevents her from more firmly grasping the circumstances of her present. There are times, too, when the show is deliberately vague about whether something we’re seeing really happened as it’s portrayed, or if we’re seeing events from Betty’s viewpoint. If Betty Broderick was a gaslit wife — and the series makes a pretty sound argument that she was — then part of The Betty Broderick Story’s goal, it seems, is to make us feel like we’re being gaslighted, too. Which: Mission accomplished."
Dirty John Season 2 hinges on Amanda Peet's fantastic performance: "Betty collapses right before our eyes, becoming more and more unhinged," says Amy Amatangelo. "Her tenuous grasp on reality gets looser and looser until she’s barely hanging on. 'Daddy’s divorced. I’m still married,' she tells her son. The only place for her despair at being unceremoniously dumped and having the life she loved taken away from her is uncontrollable rage and violent acts. There are so many moments Betty could have chosen a different path and stubbornly refused to. It would be easy to write Betty off as a 'crazy bitch'—that’s often society’s go-to move—but Peet doesn’t allow that to happen. She brings a depth of humanity to everything Betty does. We cannot not excuse Betty’s behavior. We may not even be able to fully understand it. But Dirty John and Peet provide viewers with context. We feel for Betty even as we are frustrated and appalled by her behavior."
Season 2 is good -- until isn't: "You sense lawsuits being avoided in the flat portrayals of the Broderick children," says Darren Franich. "Rachel Keller embodies Dan’s new flame Linda as an ethereal cipher, viewed with a narrative remoteness that’s oddly mean. Peet plays confused desperation to the hilt, but the awkward structure of this eight-part saga turns her rage repetitive. The actual act of killing gets morseled out as a tension-creating Big Reveal, fodder for flashforwards and cliffhangers. There’s a word for that kind of shamelessly overextended true-crime storytelling: Dirty."
Amanda Peet on transforming into Betty Broderick: "I am very close with Holland Taylor, and before I started, she gave me a great piece of advice: Don’t play crazy. She encouraged me to look at each scene as a legitimate protest or a justified experience," says Peet. And the story is riveting. They appeared to be such an average, suburban American family. And yet the story ended up being so violent and tragic. I think Alexandra feels that there’s value in exploring how and why — how could that have happened?"