Dead To Me season 2 recap: Everything that happened in season 2 of the Netflix black comedy, before season 3 lands

Season 2 seems so long ago...

Dead To Me season 2 recap: Linda Cardellini as Judy Hale, and Christina Applegate as Jen Harding in Dead To Me
(Image credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix/Future)

Season 3 is about to drop, but what happened in season 2 again? We’ve got this covered.

The premiere of Dead To Me season 3 is here, as it arrives on Netflix on November 17 for its final outing. The black comedy follows the friendship of Jen and Judy, after they meet and develop a strong bond at a grief support group. Jen was widowed after her husband Ted, who was killed in a hit-and-run, and trying to come to terms with her loss. Judy claimed she is grieving for her husband who died from a heart attack - in reality, she was the hit-and-run driver who killed Jen’s husband, and her abusive ex-fiancé Steve convinced her to drive away from the scene. The multi-award winning series sees Jen become increasingly unhinged as she tries to uncover the truth behind her husband's death, and the secrets Judy is keeping. There has been a delay in season 3 of Dead To Me arriving, due to pandemic delays, and Jen actress Christina Applegate’s sad diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. With the gap between seasons and a lot to remember before the arrival of the new season, here’s a full recap of everything that went down during season 2.  

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Dead To Me season 2 recap 

Season 2 of Dead To Me picks up the morning after the season 1 finale, where Judy had finally confessed to being the hit-and-run driver who had killed Ted. Jen had then kicked her out, only to immediately call her back because Steve was floating face down in her pool, now very much dead. She claimed to have killed him in self-defence, but she actually bludgeoned him to death on purpose and Judy remains in the dark about this. 

Jen and Judy immediately re-bond over the task of covering up Steve’s murder. Judy doesn’t yet know the truth about her ex-husband’s death, and helps hide the body by dragging it into a deep freezer in Jen’s garage. Several close calls ensue where the body is nearly discovered, and a discovery looks imminent when the freezer starts attracting local rats. Jen wants to dissolve the body in acid, but this is vetoed by a hysterical Judy who doesn’t want to do something quite so drastic. 

Away from wondering how to dispose of bodies, Judy develops a new relationship with a work colleague named Michelle, whose roommate is Detective Perez - the woman investigating Steve’s disappearance. Jen also has to navigate her son’s grief and campaign for a stop sign on the road where Ted died, on top of worrying about Steve’s body. The situation looks set to get really tricky, when Steve’s identical twin brother, Ben arrives in town, looking for answers about his missing brother.

Ben had been alerted to his brother’s disappearance when the FBI came to his house looking for Steve, who had been using Ben’s art gallery for money laundering throughout season 1. Jen and Judy fear being exposed once again, when Charlie takes the car Steve left at Jen’s house for a joy ride with girlfriend Parker. The pair are caught kissing in the back seat by police, only to move somewhere more secluded to continue their shenanigans once the police have finished reprimanding them. Charlie is eventually forced to call Jen when he runs out of petrol, and finding out Charlie has Steve’s car throws her into immediate panic. 

It transpires Charlie has posted photos of himself and Parker in the car, to his social media. He blackmails Jen by saying he’ll only take the pictures down if he’s paid $1,000 - a broke Jen agrees as she has no choice, and immediately sets fire to the car. Now feeling very pressed to get rid of Steve’s body, Jen and Judy settle on burying it in a nearby forest that they hear is a popular spot for criminals performing similar burials. A sad Judy mourns the loss of Steve, despite the abuse she suffered because of him. Having wanted to bury him at a beach, the pair do the next best thing and hold a memorial for him at one instead, which they open to others mourning his disappearance. 

Sadie Stanley as Parker and Sam McCarthy as Charlie Harding in Dead To Me season 2

(Image credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

Steve and Ben’s mother, Eileen, appears at the memorial, making it clear she dislikes Judy. Ben’s girlfriend also makes an appearance, who also happens to be four months pregnant with Steve‘s child. The police prove they remain suspicious of Judy, when they too show up to the memorial and question why she’d even be there after everything Steve had done to her. When the service ends, Ben gets drunk, ending a year of sobriety. A clear chemistry had developed between him and Jen, and he approaches her on the beach for a kiss. Still rattled by the police questioning her about Steve, witnessing the kiss gets too much for Judy who has a bit of a meltdown. The memorial ends with a slideshow of Steve’s life, during which a shocked and now suspicious Charlie recognises the car he took for a joy ride as belonging to Steve. Ben concludes proceedings by announcing a tip line has been set up, offering a reward for any information on Steve’s death.

Jen realises pursuing a relationship with Ben is just not possible under the circumstances, and Michelle has finished with Judy - both women are devastated. Charlie confronts Jen about Steve’s car, and she is forced to make hasty excuses - later she arrives home to “I know what you did” spray-painted on her garage door. Immediately believing the game was up, Jen manages to check her neighbour’s security footage to see what’s on there that must’ve incriminated her. However, it turns out Parker had done the spray painting, in response to Charlie breaking up with her. A relieved Jen still takes the opportunity to delete all of Karen’s security footage, removing anything incriminating for ever. 

Parker continues to cause problems when she phones the tip line to tell them about Steve’s car having been at Jen’s house. Charlie is starting to realise what’s happened, and Jen decides she has no choice but to confess to Steve’s murder. The season finale sees her writing farewell notes to her sons, and the one written for Judy reveals the true story behind the confession. Jen goes with Detective Perez to the forest where Steve is buried, but the two bond over dead mothers and abusive men, and Perez decides to let her go. However, the final scenes see Charlie finding the note left for Judy, setting up season 3 for the fallout from this discovery and as yet undisclosed confession. 

In the closing moments, Jen and Judy are seen driving through Laguna, amazed at how they aren't in prison. They're driving the new car Jen has bought Charlie, when they're suddenly hit hard by another car. Although there's no cliff hanger and both women are injured but alive, the driver of the other vehicle is a very drunk Ben, who will have some serious questions of his own to answer when season 3 arrives. 

Christina Applegate as Jen Harding in Dead To Me

(Image credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

Why did Judy and Michelle break up?

Judy and Michelle broke up due to the constantly disparaging things Detective Perez fed Michelle about Judy, and because Michelle's mother was very unwell.

When Michelle openly asked Perez why she didn't like Judy, her reply was "At best she's an unstable accused stalker who I have personally arrested for the destruction of property. At worst, she's involved in an active investigation where her ex-fiancée is currently missing and possibly dead." A shocked Michelle immediately appears a little put off. Judy then struggles to come up with a counter argument to something that is effectively true.

With Michelle's mother also very unwell after a stroke, Michelle decides she just can't cope with a sick mum and a drama-filled relationship, and leaves. Fans are hoping season 3 could mark the return of Michelle, now Perez sees Judy in a different light. With the knowledge it was Jen who killed Steve and not Judy, Perez could feel guilty about how she's treated Judy, and admit to Michelle she made a mistake in painting her so harshly. The relationship Judy had with Michelle was likely the most healthy she ever had, and is certianly deserved after everything she's been through.

Natalie Morales as DEAD TO ME - NATALIE MORALES as Michelle Gutierrez in Dead To Me

(Image credit: Netflix)

What can we expect from season 3 of Dead To Me?

Season 3 of Dead To Me is expected to pick up where season 2 left off, just as season 2 did after season 1. It's expected to revolve around resolving the death of Steve, and the relationship conflicts this has caused.

As Steve's body was last seen being dug up by a dog and a police officer now knows where it is, it won't be hidden for long. Digital Spy reported that Steve actor James Marsden spoke out about the storyline, saying "This guy I believe does make a conscious effort to look at himself in the mirror when no one else is looking and do the right thing. But sometimes the forces can overwhelm. And I think those are starting to compound and pile up for him and I think that'll be an interesting exploration in season three, if we go there."

Jen also has to deal with Charlie knowing the truth about what she did to Steve, and how he will deal with this alongside grief over his father's death. Linda Cardellini weighed in on what to expect from season 3, saying "I always say whatever I can think of, Liz always comes up with something a million times better, and the writers. You think you know where they're going and they take another turn and you didn't see it coming. I'm excited to find out". 

Dead to Me Season 3 cast

(Image credit: Netflix)

Why was Dead to Me cancelled?

Despite season 3 being the final season of Dead To Me, the show was not cancelled and was always intended for a short run.

Creator and executive producer of the show Liz Feldman, explained the reason for only producing 3 seasons, in an interview with Hollywood Reporter. She said "I always had the sense that I wanted this show to be a relatively short-running one. I understand the landscape at Netflix. It’s very rare for them to have a show that goes five, six or seven seasons. It can happen, but it’s obviously the exception. Halfway through shooting season two, an idea came to me that felt very true to the show — and I realized that it could be a really great way to end it."


(Image credit: Netflix)

When season 3 was announced, Christina Applegate announced on social media how much she'd miss her co-stars, and addressed filming delays. She said " I will miss these ladies. But we felt this was the best way to tie up the story of these women. Thank you to all the fans. We will be getting back to work when it is safe to do so."

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.