Is upcoming Netflix series The Watcher based on a true story?

The Watcher. (L to R) Mia Farrow as Pearl Winslow, Terry Kinney as Jasper Winslow in episode 103 of The Watcher. Cr. Eric Liebowitz/Netflix © 2022
The Watcher. (L to R) Mia Farrow as Pearl Winslow, Terry Kinney as Jasper Winslow in episode 103 of The Watcher. Cr. Eric Liebowitz/Netflix © 2022 /

If you love a good, creepy mystery, The Watcher, coming to Netflix this month, sounds like it will be right up your alley. The 7-episode series was created by Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Dahmer), and features a pretty impressive cast.

The Watcher is the story of Dean and Nora Brannock (Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts), who purchase a beautiful home in the suburb of Westfield, New Jersey. The Brannocks have depleted their savings on their new dream home, and they think at first that they have moved into the perfect neighborhood.

They soon find out that some of their neighbors are not so perfect however. For instance, there is a loopy woman named Pearl (played by Mia Farrow), whose brother Jasper (Terry Kinney) gets in the Brannock’s house and sneaks into their dumbwaiter.

Nosy Mitch and Mo (Richard Kind and Margo Martindale) keep invading the Brannock’s property lines, and then there is realtor Karen (Jennifer Coolidge), who happens to be one of Nora’s old acquaintances. She seems bent on making them feel like outsiders.

The Watcher
The Watcher. Bobby Cannavale as Dean Brannock in episode 101 of The Watcher. Cr. Eric Liebowitz/Netflix © 2022 /

Things only get worse when they start receiving frightening letters from a writer who refers to themself as “The Watcher.” As the letters keep coming, the mystery deepens and the Brannocks have to decide whether to stay in the house, or move out and face financial devastation.

Netflix series The Watcher is based on a true story.

Here’s the outline of the real story: Derek and Maria Brauddus purchased a six-bedroom house at 657 Boulevard in Westfield in June of 2014. A few days later, Derek took a break from painting the house to go out and check the mail. In it was a plain white envelope addressed to “The New Owner.”

Though the letter started out on a welcoming note, further into it, it became more sinister. “Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I will find out.”

The writer, who referred to themselves as The Watcher, went on to mention the renovations that were going on, and admonished the Broadduses for changing the house from its intended state. They even mentioned Derek and Maria’s three children, saying, “Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them to me.”

Over time, more letters were delivered, and they became more threatening, which was terrifying to the couple. Reeves Wideman wrote a detailed piece about the plight of the Broadduses for New York Magazine in 2018, and it’s a fascinating and very creepy read.

It’s unclear how close the series will stick to the true story, but I am looking forward to finding out. The Watcher premieres on Netflix on Thursday, October 13.

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Do you like “based on a true story” films overall? How do you think The Watcher will stack up to the real story? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.