Did They Ever Catch The Watcher?

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Bobby Cannavale as Derek Broaddus, Naomi Watts as Maria Broaddus in The Watcher
Credit: Netflix

At the Netflix Tudum 2022 event, viewers were in for a treat as Netflix unveiled its upcoming shows. One of the shows they took the wraps off during the event is the Ryan Murphy true crime series called The Watcher.

The limited series tells the real story of the haunting at 657 Boulevard that has now become an urban legend in New Jersey. The events in the series seem to be a little too insane to be true but it is. And we'll soon get to our fill of what truly happened at that home.

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If you're curious about The Watcher yet can't contain your excitement to watch it, here's what you need to know about the show:

Table of Contents

The Watcher Story: What Is It About?

Naomi Watts as Maria Broaddus picking up mail in The Watcher
Credit: Netflix

The official synopsis of the series reads:

"After the Brannock family moves into what was supposed to be their suburban dream home, it quickly becomes a living hell. Ominous letters from someone calling themself "The Watcher" are just the beginning as the neighborhood's sinister secrets come spilling out. Inspired by the true story of the infamous "Watcher" house in New Jersey."

Is The Watcher a True Story?

Bobby Cannavale as Derek Broaddus picking up mail in The Watcher
Credit: Netflix
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Yes, The Watcher is based on a true story about a family who put all their savings into what they called their dream home: a six-bedroom home in New Jersey. But just three days after purchasing the property in 2014, they were plagued by an anonymous stalker who kept sending "The New Owner" creepy letters. The stalker called himself "The Watcher" and detailed some horrific information that could have only come from close acquaintances of the family.

In the first letter, The Watcher identified himself as someone "in charge of watching" the house to wait for its "second coming" as the property neared its 110th birthday. He wrote:

"My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. 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."

Bobby Cannavale as Derek Broaddus, Naomi Watts as Maria Broaddus in The Watcher
Credit: Netflix

If that wasn't disturbing enough, The Watcher said that something was hidden in the walls of the property that craved "young blood," which was a reference to the couple's three young children. The Watcher also reprimanded the couple for the renovations being done on the property by saying: "You don't want to make 657 Boulevard unhappy."

All in all, the Broaddus family received four letters. The family that previously lived in the home, the Woods, also received a letter but threw it away. Another neighbor received a letter but also threw his letter away.

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The Broaddus family brought their letters to the police, who were of little help.

Has The Watcher of 657 Boulevard Been Identified?

The Watcher
Credit: Netflix

Eerily enough, no. Despite everything that has happened, there haven't been any arrests made over the creepy letters. Plus, police have not publicly identified the suspects.

However, The Watcher was successful in letting the Broaddus family move into the property. At one point, the family proposed tearing down the home and separating the property into two.

Unfortunately, the neighborhood planning board denied the proposal. This caused some arguments, which led the Broaddus family to discover that some neighbors thought they faked the whole thing and written the letters themselves.

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The Watcher neighbor
Credit: Netflix

The family decided to rent out the property after some time. And shortly after that, they received the fourth and final letter suggesting the idea of revenge. The letter read: "Maybe a car accident. Maybe a fire. Maybe something as simple as a mild illness that never seems to go away but makes you fell [sic] sick day after day after day after day after day. Maybe the mysterious death of a pet. Loved ones suddenly die. Planes and cars and bicycles crash. Bones break."

The family filed a lawsuit against the previous owner of the home, the Woods, for failing to disclose their experience of receiving a letter too. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was dropped.

Eventually, the Broadduses finally put the experience behind them after selling the property at a loss in 2019. They originally bought the home for $1,355,657 and spent around $100,000 on renovations. Unfortunately, they sold it for $959,000.

Where is The Watcher House Located?

657 Boulevard, Westfield, New Jersey The Watcher house
Credit: Netflix
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The original source of the story, The Cut, does not conceal the address of the Broaddus family. It is located at 657 Boulevard, Westfield, New Jersey.

Since the identity of The Watcher remains unsolved today, the home has become the subject of urban legends.

Who Lives in 657 Boulevard Westfield New Jersey Now?

Creepy neighbors in The Watcher
Credit: Netflix

In 2015, the Broadduses attempted to sell the property several times. They were finally able to sell off the home at a $400,000 loss in 2019. According to the Union County Clerk's Office, the house now belongs to Andrew and Allison Carr, who have not received a mysterious letter ever since.

According to Jersey Digs, a conspiracy theorist believes that Derek Broaddus was behind the letters the whole time. This is because Broaddus grew up in the same hometown as Stephen King, who could have been inspired by the author's work.

The only thing that does not add up is that the previous owners received letters in 1990 before the Broaddus family took notice of the home. So this "theory has no merit" as the theorist believes.

When Will The Watcher Be on Netflix?

Jennifer Coolidge as Karen Calhoun in The Watcher
Credit: Netflix

News about the 657 Boulevard property first went mainstream in 2018 after a story in the New York Magazine subsidiary was published. But prior to this, Lifetime released a horror movie in 2016 of the same title that fictionalized the experience of the Broaddus family. The family sent a cease-and-desist letter for the movie but did not gain their attention.

Shortly after The Cut article came out, Netflix won the rights to adapt the story for television after a six-way bidding war. The streaming giant chose Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan to create the story for the limited series. And after months of preparation, the first full trailer of the show dropped at the Tudum event.

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The trailer also revealed that The Watcher will make its premiere on Netflix on October 13, 2022.

The Watcher Cast

Naomi Watts as Maria Broaddus in The Watcher
Credit: Netflix

The Watcher cast includes the following:

  • Bobby Cannavale (as Derek Broaddus)
  • Naomi Watts (as Maria Broaddus)
  • Jennifer Coolidge (as Karen Calhoun)
  • Noma Dumezweni (as Theodora)
  • Margo Martindale (as Mo)
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  • Richard Kind (as Mitch)
  • Terry Kinney (as Jasper)
  • Mia Farrow


Where to Watch The Watcher Trailer

The Watcher letters
Credit: Netflix

At its Tudum event, Netflix released the first full trailer of The Watcher that has a creepy vibe to it. Although the series is pretty much based on a true story, there are some parts of the trailer where the creators have gotten creative. We see glimpses of mysterious men lurking in the shadows and an adult man hiding in the dumb waiter, none of which were ever mentioned in the original source material.

You can watch the full trailer of the show here complete with Olivia Newton-John's Hopelessly Devoted To You song playing in the background.

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Netflix also released a property listing video of the 657 Boulevard home with Jennifer Coolidge doing her job as realtor Karen Calhoun. She goes to every room on the property and gives some awkward pauses. And in one scene, she talks about the dumb waiter where "you can fit a person in there."

You can watch the fake property listing video here:

And that's not all! As part of the show's promo, the property is listed on Zillow for a whopping $3.2 million, which is a lot more than the price that the Broadduses sold the house for in 2019.

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