“The Watcher” is a Netflix real-crime series that tells an account of Dean (Bobby Cannavale) and Nora Brannock (Naomi Watts), who purchase their dream home situated in Westfield, New Jersey. But when they move into 657 Boulevard along with their children start receiving disturbing letters from someone calling them “the Watcher.” In the correspondence, they claim that the watcher states they have watched their families watch over the house for generations, and refers to their Brannock kids “young blood.”
As the story progresses, the mystery grows more complex as Dean and Nora try to discover who from their huge suspect group is responsible. They contact the police, put up security alarms, install surveillance devices and even engage private investigators; however, none of them achieves their intended results. If you’re wondering if much of what’s shown in the film ‘The Watcher is authentic, we’ve got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
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Are Nora and Dean Brannock Based on a Real Couple?
It’s true. Nora and Dean Brannock are based on real couple. Nora, as well as Dean Brannock, are Derek and Maria Broaddus in real life. The show’s creators, Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, created the show based on writer Reeves Wideman’s 2018 report that was released in New York magazine’s The Cut in November of 2018. The report details the steps taken by Derek and Maria bought the six-bedroom home located at 657 Boulevard from the previous owners, the Woods family in 2014 for a sum of $1.35 million. The report also explains the subsequent events. The family received their first notice on the night of June 14, 2014.
The house hadn’t even been put up for sale. However, the Watcher wrote the letter two days following the close. Through the letters, the Watcher showed that he was knowledgeable regarding the property, including the fact that the house was approaching its 110-year anniversary. The first letter did not mention the Broadduses’ name. However, the second letter that came two weeks later referred to it as “Braddus,” a phonetic misspelling of the surname of the family. The Watcher also named Derek Maria and Derek’s three children in the proper order.
The Broadduses received three letters in total. They were all delivered in a similar manner. They were written in handwriting on the envelopes, whereas they were written including “The Watcher” signature in various cursive fonts. The Broaduses was living with Maria’s parents as they were renovating the home at the period. They didn’t actually move into the home. The letters caused a lot of conflict, and even marital problems between Derek as well as Maria.
Six months after they purchased 657 Boulevard, they put it up for sale and again, first listing it at a higher price than they had spent to pay for the work they had done to the property. It was sold in 2019 for $959,999, resulting in an additional loss of $400,000. Derek, as well as Maria. The new owners have still waiting to receive any letter from the Watcher.
Where Are Derek and Maria Broaddus Today?
Derek, as well as Maria Broaddus, reached out to law enforcement after the letters began to arrive however the Watcher has remained elusive to the authorities, even to this day. However, the Broaddus family is still in Westfield in a smaller, just the same beautiful house as 657 Boulevard. In a conversation with Weideman, Derek Broaddus once said, “I had just turned 40 when we purchased the house. I’m now 93 older,” reflecting upon the cost of the house and the obsession with it took on him.
The family was vehemently against the idea of making their story an entertainment source for the rest of us, restraining numerous offers from a TV network and documentary filmmakers. In 2016 Lifetime released a film titled “The Watcher,” an adaptation loosely based on the story, without their permission. The Broadduses weren’t able to intervene since the film was significant artistic freedom. The project not only makes the main couple biracial but however also changes the name of the sender of the letters to the Raven.
Thus, when Netflix arrived, the family realized that the entertainment industry didn’t require permission to tell their story. Instead, they decided to submit a few requests this time. In the end, the show doesn’t feature their names, and the Brannock family isn’t exactly like the Bradduses. The show also suggested that the show should show 657 Boulevard as being destroyed. Weideman states that Derek does not have any interest in the show. He had seen the trailer, but it turned out to be a traumatizing experience by itself.