*Warning: This post contains spoilers for Season 1 of Dead to Me*
If you're looking for a new addictive show to binge right through, allow us to recommend the best Netflix series of the year: Dead to Me. Christina Applegate stars as Jen, a grieving widow obsessed with hunting down the hit-and-run driver who killed her husband.
Judy, played by Linda Cardellini, is an overly friendly optimist who's recently suffered some loss of her own. The two ladies meet at a grief support group and immediately form a friendship over their love of wine, Entemann's, and shared insomnia.
However, Judy has a huge secret she's hiding from Jen in an attempt to not completely destroy her life. Keep reading for Season 1 spoilers.
So, did Judy kill Jen's husband?
In the pilot, we watch as Jen is desperately trying to make sense of her husband Ted's tragic death. Because the police tell her there is a terribly low chance of finding Ted's killer, the determined widow takes matters into her own hands and becomes somewhat fixated with solving the crime for herself.
For example, Jen notes the license plates of every car speeding in the area where Ted was killed, and takes down the make and model of any car with a human-sized dent in the front bumper. Her friend Judy is often present for these stops and seems initially supportive of Jen's way of coping, but eventually tries to reason with her into dropping the car obsession.
At the end of the first episode, we visit Judy's storage unit and can't help but note a 1966 Mustang that's totally damaged from the front and looks suspiciously a lot like it might have ... fatally hit a man and driven away. Since this is exactly what happened to Ted, viewers are made to think that Judy is responsible for the killing.
And she is, but it gets more complicated than even that. Because you'll remember that Judy's boyfriend isn't actually dead, as she initially told the grief group. Instead, Steve is merrily and obliviously living his own life, having dumped Judy after a series of miscarriages took their toll on the relationship.
Judy's "dead" boyfriend Steve isn't dead after all.
Jen has the unfortunate luck of learning that Steve isn't dead when she goes to surprise Judy at their house for a late-night cookies-and-wine gossip sesh. It turns out that Judy doesn't live in the mansion, but rather in a room at the old people's home where she works.
For his part, Steve paints his ex as totally crazy and someone to be avoided. "Wherever Judy goes, chaos tends to follow," he tells Jen early on. However, it turns out that he's just as much to blame for Ted's death than Judy is — if not more so. Because it turns out that if it wasn't for Steve, Ted would have been likely to survive.
As the series progresses, we learn that they were both in the car on that fateful evening. And that when they hit Ted, Steve urged Judy to keep driving, claiming they'd just hit a deer. Judy really wanted to turn around, but Steve manipulates her into driving away.
Later, when the police become suspicious of Judy, Steve — who'd been so convincing about the fact that the couple were in all of this together — suddenly turns. "If anybody goes down for this, it is you," he threatens. "You were driving. You are the criminal. I'm only the eye witness."
Ted was cheating on Jen, and told his lover of several years that his wife was dead.
The guys in this series are so sus! In addition to Steve proving himself as the sketchy one when he'd painted Judy as crazy, it turns out that dead Ted was no saint either.
When Jen goes onto her late husband's computer in a moment of grief, she's surprised when a NSFW instant message pops up that reveals her husband had been cheating on her for years. Jen and Judy even drive out to confront the lover and there, they learn that Ted had told her that he was a grieving single dad and that his wife, Jen, was dead. We told you this show was crazy, didn't we?!
Judy comes clean to Jen and Jen kills Steve.
For the spoilerest of spoilers, let me leave you with the bit that basically guarantees Dead to Me is coming back for a second season. To circle back to the Judy and Steve bit, once Steve makes it clear that Judy's in this alone, she decides to take absolutely no prisoners.
Judy turns Steve in to the police for money laundering, cleans out their joint bank accounts and confesses to Jen. Jen is understandably irate that she was manipulated into a friendship with her husband's killer, but proves to be even more upset at Steve, who shows up to Jen's house unannounced in the final scenes of the series.
When the two get to talking, Jen understands that Steve is the reason Judy never turned back to see about Ted, who would probably still be alive if they had. So she pulls the trigger on Steve, who goes face down into the pool in a vibe reminiscent of The Great Gatsby, and calls Judy up for help — and so the two can presumably get through this murderous next chapter of their lives together.
Stream Dead to Me on Netflix today.