The Watcher on Netflix: the true story behind the new series from the creator of Dahmer…

Believe it or not, Ryan Murphy’s disturbing series “The Watcher” is based on a true story. Explanations.

Title The Watcherthe series of ryan murphy and ian brennan tells the nightmare of a family without history harassed by anonymous letters and oppressive neighbors. The origin of these threats? The house, located at 657 Boulevard, Westfield, New Jersey.

The 7 episodes revisit this drama straight out of a horror movie. Although adventures are invented for the needs of the series, the original story is very real and took place in 2014. Four years later, this news item is gaining popularity thanks to an article published in the columns of New York Magazine.

It all started in June 2014. Derek and Maria Broaddus are a happy couple, parents of three children. The wife is from New Jersey and wants to settle near her childhood home. Her husband is a perfect example of the class defector. Coming from a working-class background, he became vice-president of an insurance company in Manhattan.

For his 40th birthday, Derek Broaddus decides to buy the house of his dreams. The one that will become, a few days later, the scene of his worst nightmares. His price ? $1.3 million. A six-bedroom colonial mansion built in the heart of an idyllic neighborhood.

Only three days after their purchase, the father, who is repainting the house, receives the first anonymous letter signed “The Watcher” – the one who observes in French. It is addressed tonew owners”.

The Watcher on Netflix the true story behind the new

Image from “The Watcher” series.

The beginning of the letter is cordial, then the tone hardens and worries Derek Broaddus. The author claims that the house has been guarded and guarded from generation to generation. “Do you know the history of this house? Do you know what is hidden within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here ? I will find out.

After these few lines, the stalker pursues and threatens the couple’s children: “Do you need to fill the house with the fresh blood I have requested? Better for me. Was your old home too small for your growing family? Or is it greed that drives you to bring your children here? Once I know their names, I’ll call them and bring them to me.”


Two more letters are sent on June 18 and July 18, 2014. The content is even more terrifying each time: “Who sleeps in the room facing the street? I’ll know as soon as you move in. I could find out who is in which room so my plan could be even better.

At that time, the family was not yet living on the premises. Nevertheless, Derek Broaddus takes the letters very seriously and turns himself in to the police. Authorities share their theories that envious neighbors or buyers disappointed that they didn’t get the house could be the mysterious crow.

For the couple, there is no doubt: the author of the letters lives near the house. One of the texts even mentions the nicknames of the three children, which means that the stalker was close enough to hear everything.

1665819855 478 The Watcher on Netflix the true story behind the new

Image from “The Watcher” series.

The police first suspect a neighbor, but no concrete evidence can confirm their suspicions. Traces of DNA are then taken from one of the letters. The DNA is said to belong to a woman, but no identity is revealed.

Derek and Maria Broaddus attack the previous owners of the house. They accuse them of having hidden the threats of the “Watcher”. Yet John and Andrea Woods say they have never received such letters in over twenty years.


Six months after the first letter, the couple abandons the house and decides to move elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, they are struggling to find new buyers. In the neighborhood, rumors quickly spread. Months and years pass, but the nightmare continues.

In February 2017, a tenant arrives in the house – still owned by the Broaddus couple – and a fourth letter is sent. Its content is even more violent than the previous three.

It was not until 2019 that Derek and Maria Broaddus managed to sell their house. Sale price: $959,000, or $400,000 less than the purchase price. The new occupants remain discreet and claim to have never received any letters. The “Watcher” has never been identity.

The Watcher, available on Netflix.

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