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Warning—spoilers for Dead to Me season 2 ahead.
Season 2 of Netflix’s Dead to Me, released on May 8, was “finished by the skin of our teeth” in the days before the coronavirus pandemic, showrunner Liz Feldman said in a recent interview. On behalf of Dead to Me fans everywhere, thank you for crossing the finish line. After another twist-filled, wine-soaked season following the misadventures of unlikely friends Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini), there’s only one question left to ask: When can we expect season 3?
Ahead, everything we know about a new installment of the Emmy-nominated series and a breakdown of that shocking season 2 finale.
Dead to Me season 3 has been confirmed.
Although that final twist suggested there was more Dead to Me on the way, season 3 wasn’t confirmed until two months after the second season dropped. Deadline reported the show will return for a third and final season; the renewal was announced as part of creator Feldman’s new production deal with Netflix. “From start to finish, Dead To Me is exactly the show I wanted to make. And it’s been an incredible gift,” Feldman said in a statement, per the outlet. “Telling a story sprung from grief and loss has stretched me as an artist and healed me as a human. I’ll be forever indebted to my partners in crime, my friends for life, Christina and Linda, and our brilliantly talented writers, cast and crew. I am beyond grateful to Netflix for supporting Dead To Me from day one, and I’m thrilled to continue our collaboration.”
However, season 3 will be the show’s last. Applegate tweeted after the news broke, “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. Much love.”
Previously, Feldman said she was “cautiously optimistic” for a third season during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter podcast TV’s Top 5. “I want this show to hopefully be as good as it possibly can be for however long it’s on,” Feldman coyly said. “And obviously you want to have some control over your destiny. You want to know, ‘Ok, well, this is my last season. So I’m going to end this story and I’m going to close out these characters in a satisfying way.'” Feldman explained, “I don’t see this show as a six or seven season-show,” adding, “I don’t wanna just have to pull a murder out of my pocket every two seconds just to justify the existence of the show.”
The first season of Dead to Me was an undeniable success, earning Applegate Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Award nominations for her role. Season 2 garnered four Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series and nods for both Applegate and Cardellini.
Season 3 premieres on Nov. 17.
At long last! Dead to Me will return for its third and final season on Thursday, Nov. 17—over two years since season 2. Watch the first teaser, released during Tudum, below.
The first two seasons had 10 episodes, meaning that number will likely repeat in the new installment. Season 1 was released in May 2019 and season 2 in May 2020.
Until the new episodes arrive, we’ll be unpacking the events of season 2 and uncorking another bottle of red.
The show’s creator “can’t believe” the stories she gets to tell in season 3.
Feldman delivered a massive tease about the upcoming season on Twitter in September. “Just pitched all of @deadtome Season 3 to my partners at @Netflix and they’re excited and I’m excited and I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY’RE GONNA LET ME TELL THIS STORY.”
Previously, she told Deadline that the series was always meant to end around the third season. “There was a certain point when we were in production on season 2 when the end of the show came to me, pretty profoundly, so I realized, ‘I know the story that I have to tell,’ and season 3 feels like the right time to do that,” she explained. “It’s just something that came to me organically, and I tend to try to follow the gut feelings I have.”
The entire cast is likely to return.
For a show that often dabbles in murder, none of the main characters are killed in season 2, so cast members Applegate and Cardellini will return.
Over the course of season 2, both Jen and Judy get into romantic relationships that look directly into the eye of their crime. Judy falls for Michelle (Natalie Morales), whose live-in ex happens to be Detective Perez. Jen gets romantically entangled with Ben (James Marsden, again), the twin brother of the man she killed, need I remind you. Season 2 also welcomes Frances Conroy as Steve and Ben’s grieving mother and Katey Sagal as Judy’s imprisoned, absentee mom. It seems likely that all four of those characters will return, although nothing has been announced. Members of the ensemble even recently reunited for a virtual Dead to Me table read.
Season 2 begins with a bang.
The season begins and ends with Judy and Jen promising that neither will get “confess-y” when it came to the death of Steve (Marsden), Judy’s ex-fiancee. After the blood is scrubbed away and security footage erased, the fractured friendship between Jen and Judy seems to be in flux. But by the end of the first episode, the two friends have found their way back into each other’s lives, courtesy of red wine and a marathon of The Facts of Life. “Guess you guys can’t stay away from each other,” Jen’s older son Charlie (Sam McCarthy) observes.
As the pair covers up the remnants of their poolside crime, the details of what they’re concealing become murky. Over the course of the episode, flashbacks reveal that Jen didn’t kill Steve in self-defense, but in reaction to his scathing words about her own husband Ted’s death. The first episode of the season shockingly ends with Marsden on the footsteps of the ladies’ home, this time as Steve’s “semi-identical” twin brother, Ben. Cue the credits.
The finale ends just as shockingly.
The season ends with Jen on the doorstep of Perez (Diana Maria Riva), the lead detective investigating Steve’s disappearance. She’s ready to confess to put herself and Judy at peace. We’re catapulted into this moment by a scream from Judy that’s on par with Reese Witherspoon in Little Fires Everywhere and Meryl Streep in Big Little Lies. But Perez ultimately lets Jen go, more concerned with implicating Laguna Beach Police Chief in money laundering with the victim. Jen and Judy both decide to forge ahead in their lives as better people—they even contemplate a tropical getaway.
In the final moments, the friends head home, driving a new car for Charlie. They’re unaware that the tees found a note written by Jen for Judy that implicates them both in the respective deaths of Steve and Ted. And miles away, a woman walking her dog is moments from discovering Steve’s buried body in a forest. The friends pause at a stop sign at a busy intersection, one that Jen herself commissioned after the hit-and-run death of her husband. Just as Judy notes that the sign could save someone’s life, a car crashes into the side of their car. It’s revealed to be Ben behind the wheel, a whiskey bottle lying in his passenger seat. Ben drives off, with Jen looking in worse shape than Judy at the scene of the accident.
Savannah Walsh is an Editorial Fellow at ELLE.com.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.