Dead to Me is about a friendship that blossoms between Jen and Judy. Jen is a recently widowed real estate agent based in Laguna Beach, California, trying to come to terms with her loss through therapy, exercise, and other methods. She uses anger and resentment as an outlet for her grief. She meets Judy in a therapy group for bereft spouses. Jen mourns her husband, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver, while Judy claims she is grieving for her fiancé who died of a heart attack. In actuality, Judy is the hit-and-run driver and her fiancé broke up with her. The two characters face their struggles differently, as Jen finds herself in a dark place and Judy maintains a positive disposition. This difference quickly leads to a deep bond between the two. Jen becomes more unhinged as she unravels the mystery of her husband's death and Judy's secrets.
Cast and characters
Christina Applegate as Jen Harding, a realtor whose husband Ted was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Linda Cardellini as Judy Hale, a woman that Jen met at a grief support group who befriends her. Initially unbeknownst to Jen, Judy is the person who killed her husband.
On April 5, 2018, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. The series was created by Liz Feldman who was also expected to write for the series and executive produce alongside Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Jessica Elbaum. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of Gloria Sanchez Productions and CBS Television Studios. On November 2, 2018, it was reported that Amy York Rubin would direct the first and second episodes of the series. On April 1, 2019, it was announced that the series was set to be released on May 3, 2019. On June 3, 2019, the series was renewed for a second season, set to be released in 2020. On April 10, 2020, Netflix announced that the second season would be released on May 8, 2020. On July 6, 2020, Netflix renewed the series for a third and final season.
On July 11, 2018, it was announced that Christina Applegate had been cast in one of the series' two lead roles. On August 3, 2018, it was reported that Linda Cardellini had been cast in the series' other lead role. A week later, it was announced that Max Jenkins and Luke Roessler had been cast in series regular roles. On September 12, 2018, it was reported that James Marsden and Ed Asner had been cast in starring roles. In October 2018, it was announced that Sam McCarthy had joined the cast in a series regular capacity and that Diana-Maria Riva had been cast in a recurring role. In October 2019, Natalie Morales was cast in the recurring role of Michelle on the second season.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has an approval rating of 86% based on 50 reviews, with an average rating of 6.48/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Dead to Me doesn't always deliver on the gallows humor that it promises, but the sterling duo of Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini elevates the series above its pulpier aspects—offering a deeply moving relationship shaped by mutual grief." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has an approval rating of 97% based on 29 reviews, with an average rating of 8.13/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Dead to Me doubles down on the twists and turns out an exciting second season that makes excellent use of its well-matched leads." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
On July 17, 2019, Netflix announced that the series was on track to be streamed by over 30 million viewers within its first month of release on the streaming platform.