Positioned as a longform thriller when it become a sensation in print and podcast, the series comes across as more mundane, perhaps because women being manipulated by lying, no-good men is such a familiar staple of the fact-based drama. (It’s also popular in documentaries, and sister network Oxygen has its own companion project, “Dirty John: The Dirty Truth,” scheduled to air in January.)
Jean Smart also turns up as Debra’s mom, but through the episodes previewed it’s largely Britton and Bana’s showcase, and they help make the series watchable enough, even if it doesn’t feel particularly distinctive or special.
There’s a temptation to endorse anything that supports investigative journalism, and the Times receives a production credit on the series, which carries the requisite disclaimer about certain events having been altered for dramatic purposes. That’s not the kind of thing that’s considered kosher in newspapers, but when you get into bed with Hollywood, you generally wind up playing by their rules.
“Dirty John” premieres Nov. 25 at 10 p.m. on Bravo. The premiere is available online via YouTube and Bravo’s web site.