After Jen Harding’s (Christina Applegate) husband, Ted, is killed in a hit and run accident she is overcome by grief. At a grief counselling group she meets Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini) who she immediately finds weird and over familiar. However Judy seems to be the only person who understands how she feels and its not long before the two become firm friends. But Judy is hiding a terrible secret and it seems Ted might have had a few of his own too. As Judy helps Jen with her obsessive desire to find out who killed Ted more and more is revealed with devastating… and hilarious consequences.
The thing that makes Dead to Me so special is the character development. Jen is abrasive, stand offish and prone to flying into expansive rages but she is also a loving mother and a good friend and as you learn more and more about her, her iron fortress of self protection makes sense. Applegate is perfect for the role and really succeeds in making Jen sympathetic despite some of her bonkers behaviour.
Judy someone who is full of contradictions and strange juxtapositions and her relationship with her super rich ex, Steve (James Marsden) forms a huge part of the show. Cardellini brings such warmth to Judy and her depiction of her character’s inner moral turmoil is spot on.
The chemistry between these two leads is glorious and watching their relationship develop is really compelling. It is both a study in what grief does to people and one in the power of friendship, particularly female friendship.
It is humour of the absolute blackest kind, which is how I like it so I found myself in stitches on many occasions. I also found myself heartbroken several times and completely bought into Judy’s anxiety as her secret became closer and closer to being revealed.
I cannot wait for the next season after a big cliffhanger ending.