‘I Am The Watcher’

How much of the new Netflix show is true?


Photo by Peter Forster with permission by Unsplash

Kaitlyn Brittenham, Staff Writer

       On October 13, 2022, Netflix released the highly anticipated show The Watcher. The show quickly climbed the Netflix charts and made headlines. The Watcher is a true story based on bone chilling events that occurred in New Jersey back in 2014.

       In 2014, a couple, Derek and Maria Broaddus, moved to a New Jersey town called Westfield. The two bought the extravagant $1.4 million house at 657 Boulevard. Soon after, they began receiving creepy letters from a person that called themselves the Watcher. The letters went into detail about the Broaddus house and teased the family about all of the ways the Watcher might be watching them. In one of the letters, the Watcher wrote “There are hundreds and hundreds of cars that drive by 657 Boulevard each day. Maybe I am in one. Look at all the windows you can see from 657 Boulevard. Maybe I am in one.” Believe it or not, this was not the scariest part of the letters; what was even scarier was how the Watcher would mention the couple’s children and would call them “young blood.” Not only was the family receiving these creepy letters, but they were also surrounded by a number of suspicious neighbors who were the perfect suspects for the Watcher. 

      According to critics, The Watcher is a very well done show and is recommended for anyone who enjoys true crime and horror. The tale of The Watcher is sure to make your skin crawl. This show deserves 4/5 stars. The acting, editing, cinematography, and storytelling flowed really well together. However, since the show is based off of a true story, this begs the question of how true the show is?

       Although a majority of the show is true, there are some parts that are fiction. Let’s break this down. What’s true? The Watcher was a real person that tormented the Broaddus family by sending them terrifying letters. What’s also true is that the family was surrounded by creepy neighbors. Neighbors Pearl (Mia Farrow) and Jasper (Terry Kinney) are said to be based off of the Langford family. Also, neighbors Mitch (Richard King) and Mo (Margo Martindale) were influenced by a real couple who were often seen sitting in lawn chairs and staring into the Broaddus house from across the street. In addition, the John Graff murders that were depicted in the show were inspired by John List’s murders back in 1971 which also occurred in Westfield, New Jersey.

       With all of that being said, here’s what was completely fiction. Though Pearl and Jasper were based on real people, there were actually no reports of Jasper’s character riding in the family’s dumbwaiter as indicated in the show. Furthermore, in the show, Mitch and Mo are said to be in a blood cult. However, there was no real evidence that this real-life couple was in any way associated with a blood cult. Lastly and sadly, detective Theodora Birch (Numa Dumezweni) and real estate agent Karen Calhoun (Jennifer Coolidge) are completely fictional characters and were not a part of the Broaddus family’s watcher story. 

       So, who is the Watcher? People have been asking themselves this question for years. To this day, the Watcher remains a cold case. This means that the Watcher was never caught and is still out there somewhere in the world. Now that you know the story, who do you think the Watcher is?