Netflix’s Dirty John: Does That Really Happen?!

Pete TorleyTrue investigation stories

Dirty John

It’s not often, but when I do have some downtime, I like to watch a film or a TV series. Recently I discovered a series on Netflix called ‘Dirty John’. The name didn’t particularly capture my attention, but the preview video certainly did. One episode later, I was hooked and ended up for the first time, ‘binge-watching’ a series.

Dirty John is a dramatisation of a true story, and the whole storyline is extremely familiar to me and my team here at PDL.

Mum meets an ostensibly charming new man. Some of her family take to him, though others see that something is not quite right, finding him a bit too good to be true. With many complications – money and assets involved, children being pushed out as Mum is blinded by love, a family member instructs a private investigator to research the new man’s past. Something that turns out to be very revealing.

From experience, I can say that many elements of the story are true to life. As I sat and watched, going “Oh no” and “No, don’t” I got to thinking about all the cases we’ve worked on at PDL over the last 25 years. Pondering similar cases I’ve encountered, I thought about how, simply put, ‘you don’t really know someone until you know them’. Love can cloud our judgement.

Background checks can help to understand a person’s past, and confirm their back story. I’m often asked how these things turn out, in the end. My answer is that generally, provided the person’s motive is correct when instructing the investigator, we will usually find something wrong there. Often our instincts are fairly reliable. Sometimes of course, it turns out to be entirely innocent, which is just a good result for both investigator and client.

We have to move with the times, of course. The world has moved on and the internet has made things move so fast over the past 15-20 years. Everything operates on a global level now, and we have to do so too, investing in people and intelligence sources and technology more than ever, to continue to achieve answers and success for our clients.

Dirty John’ covers just one story of course, whereas we’ve seen many different situations over the years and continue to do so. But if asked “Does this really happen?” I’d have to say yes, the events in ‘Dirty John’ do really happen – and any viewer who has experienced something similar will understand that – and yes we do help people to resolve these situations. 

To discuss background checking in more detail, and how we can help you simplify these situations, get in touch with PDL now