‘Dirty John’: The TV Characters vs. Their Real-Life Counterparts (PHOTOS)

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Dirty John - Season 1
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Connie Britton as Debra Newell

As a successful businesswoman looking for love, she’s the perfect target for John’s purposes. Despite her family’s aversion, she can’t see anything beyond John’s kind exterior and false personality.

Bravo's Anthology Series
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Debra Newell

As a target of one of John Meehan’s many cons, Debra Newell didn’t heed the initial warnings from her family about his shady story. Marrying shortly after meeting, Debra’s connection with Meehan eventually grew volatile when she tried to divorce him.

Dirty John - Season 1
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Eric Bana as John Meehan

Portraying an ultimate con-man, Bana’s acting skills are on full display as he plays John’s con-side against the real him.

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John Meehan

An expert con-man, John Meehan deceived Debra Newell and nearly everyone in his life. Eventually his lying catches up to him though as [Spoiler] Meehan died after and altercation with Debra’s daughter Terra.

Dirty John - Season 1
Jordin Althaus/Bravo

Julia Garner as Terra Newell

Playing Debra’s youngest daughter, Julia Garner plays up Terra’s suspicions to match the real-life version. Ultimately the story will come to a shocking conclusion when Terra gets into a scuffle with John.

Bravo's Anthology Series
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Terra Newell

The youngest daughter of Debra, Terra played an integral part in John Meehan’s story — [Spoiler] she killed him in self defense when he showed up outside of her apartment wielding a knife.

Dirty John - Season 1
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Jean Smart as Arlane Hart

Smart portrays Debra’s mother Arlane in a shocking transformation. The actress is nearly unrecognizable with her snow-white do and granny glasses.

Bravo's Anthology Series
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Arlane Hart

Hart is the real-life mother of John’s last con victim Debra, and like much of the family, had her suspicions about John.

Dirty John - Season 1
Michael Becker/Bravo

Sprague Grayden as Tonia Bales

As the ex-wife of John, her relationship to the con-man will come into play with his and Debra’s story during the show.

Bravo's Anthology Series
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Tonia Bales

As John’s first wife, Tonia endured more than a decade of marriage with the con-man, sharing two daughters with him in the process. Prior to their divorce she wasn’t aware of Meehan’s behavior.

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True-crime stories have captured audiences for years, and the recent Bravo series Dirty John is exactly the brand fans are willing to buy.

What happens when you take a con-man, mix him together with a business woman, and sprinkle in some suspicious family members? You get this new limited series that was inspired by the true story of John Meehan and Debra Newell. Their saga became a podcast, which eventually turned into the TV show, but throughout that time most of the actual people involved with the case of John Meehan weren’t afraid of showing themselves.

Because of their willingness to talk about the story, we are able to compare the casting of Dirty John to the real-life individuals involved.

Above, we’ve collected images to see how spot-on the show was in creating this true-crime drama. (Note: Some of the photo captions contain spoilers to the story.)

Dirty John, Sundays, 10/9c, Bravo