“The Watcher”: Netflix’s newest, eerie mystery show

Home of the Broadusses, 657 Boulevard, Westfield, NJ
Photo Credit: Google Earth

SAN JOSE, CALIF. ⸺  “The Watcher” on Netflix, created by Ryan Murphy, is the newest thrilling mystery show that follows a family that is plagued by anonymous letters and eerie neighbors.

Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts star in this eerie drama based on a true story from directors Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan. The series follows a family harassed by strange letters by an unnamed person who goes by “The Watcher”.

“The Watcher” was based on the real life unsolved mystery of Derek and Maria Broaddus, whereupon moving into their newly purchased home, 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey they began receiving ominous letters in their mailbox. A portion of the first letter reading “657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming. 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,”. The letters include letting the Broaddus’ know that generations of The Watcher’s family have watched over the home “the better part of two generations”, and that they have been put in charge of “waiting for its second coming”. 

Over time, the Broadduses kept receiving letters that progressively got more unsettling and included significant details about the Broadduses personal lives, such as their children’s full names and their hobbies. The Watcher also questioned why they had yet to move in, and was anxious for them to do so.

The house eventually sold in 2019 for $959,000, a stark difference from the $1.4 million price tag they originally bought it from. The house hasn’t received any letters since.

Being a true crime enjoyer myself, I was enthralled to see a new mystery adaptation about a case I have heard in a documentary prior. The thrilling twists and odd characters made one feel like you’re on the edge of your seat. Throughout the series, new characters and layers to the mystery had me engaged and excited to watch more. That feeling of not being able to keep my eyes away from the screen was riveting. Even though it was not factually accurate to the original case, it is still an amazing watch overall. I would highly recommend this Netflix series to anyone who loves thrillers and true crime, or would like to expand their watchlist.

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