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Source: Bravo

'Dirty John' Is Based on a True Story — but Some Characters Are Made Up

By Amber Garrett

Our new obsession Dirty John is one of a handful of TV series in 2018 based on popular podcasts. Unlike Amazon's Homecoming, Bravo's new drama is based on the real story of John Meehan, a criminal and con-artist played by Eric Bana, and his relationship with entrepreneur Debra Newell, portrayed by Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights and Nashville fame.

While most of the cast of characters stick to the names and descriptions of their real-life counterparts, this is a Hollywood dramatization, and there are a few liberties. So here's a breakdown of which Dirty John figures are real life characters and which are either fictionalized or completely made up.

Warning: major spoilers ahead!

John Meehan — Real

Source: Michigan Department of Corrections/Getty

The title character is, unfortunately, a real person. And I say unfortunately because his character was not at all good. The nurse anesthetist masqueraded as a doctor, stole pain medication from post-operative patients to fuel his opiate addiction, defrauded and/or stalked multiple women, and conspired to kidnap and murder his last wife's daughter, Terra Newell.

Debra Newell — Real