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Entertainment Weekly


Dateline NBC sneak peek: See Terra Newell describe her showdown with 'Dirty John' Meehan

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In fall 2017, Christopher Goffard’s story of creepy con man John Meehan transfixed readers and listeners alike via a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times and in the true-crime podcast Dirty John, which featured interviews with those whose lives had been affected — and in many cases ruined — by Meehan. (We named Dirty John one of our top 10 podcasts of the year.) Meehan had spent his adulthood insinuating himself into the lives of unsuspecting marks — mainly women — with lies, threats, and emotional abuse; the podcast honed in one particular target, Debra Newell, and her family, whose world turned upside down once Newell fell for Meehan. For those who followed the story, after the seventh and final episode of the podcast aired, we jumped down a rabbit’s hole of endless Googling to learn all we could about Meehan, whose sociopathic behavior was equal parts terrifying and titillating, as well as his victims.

Now, the foremost TV expert on all things terrifying and titillating, Dateline NBC, is delving further into the story. Dateline‘s Keith Morrison sat down with Newell for an episode called “The Women & Dirty John,” airing Friday, Jan. 12 at 10 p.m. ET. The episode will also feature interviews with Newell’s youngest daughter, Terra, whose killing of Meehan in self-defense was the subject of the podcast’s harrowing final episode, as well as Meehan’s first wife, Tonia Bales, and journalist and podcast host Goffard.

For fans of Dirty John, it’s the first time we can actually see the people whose voices we grew so attached to over the course of the podcast, perhaps no more than soft-spoken Terra, who became the story’s unlikely hero. In the exclusive clip above, she describes her violent final showdown with Meehan.

Dateline NBC airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on NBC.