What is The Watcher based on as Netflix teases upcoming thriller series

Netflix's new series, The Watcher, is based on the real story about the haunting at 657 Boulevard that took place in New Jersey in 2014

What is The Watcher based on
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Netflix's new series, The Watcher is set to land on Netflix in just a few weeks and fans are waiting with bated breath for this sinister limited series that is based on a true story.

On September 24, 2022, Netflix released the shocking trailer for the new limited series, The Watcher. The synopsis of this spooky TV show 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."

It was also revealed that this series is inspired by the true story of the infamous “Watcher” house in New Jersey, but what really happened during the haunting at 657 Boulevard in 2014, and what is the true story behind this show?

The Watcher

(Image credit: Netflix)

What is The Watcher based on?

The Watcher is based on the true story of the infamous “Watcher” house in New Jersey on 657 Boulevard in Westfield.

In real life, the Broaddus family bought the property in 2014 but were quickly hounded by letters that were assessed to 'The New Owner' from 'The Watcher'. This took place before the family had even had a chance to fully move in and they had only begun transferring some of their furniture. 

The person calling themselves the watcher told the family that they were under constant surveillance and even revealed some personal information about the family in the letters.

The Cut reported that in one letter 'The Watcher' claimed in one letter, "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."

In another letter, the mysterious figure said, "You have children. I have seen them. So far I think there are three that I have counted." They then asked if, "more on the way as they asked, "Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them too [sic] me."

In real life, the Broaddus family decided not to move their family into the family home and instead made the decision to put their house back on the market just six months after the letters began arriving. The family was extremely traumatized after this event and suffered huge financial losses.

The Watcher was never found and now the story is considered something of an urban legend in the New Jersey area. Some believe the Broaddus family concocted the scheme amongst themselves, and others thought the whole thing could have a supernatural explanation. Ultimately the case was never sold and it is still unclear who The Watcher really was.

The Watcher

(Image credit: Netflix)

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This isn't the first time that this true story has been adapted for the screen and there is a 2016 film of the same name. This is not to be confused with yet another movie with the same title 'The Watcher' which was released in 2000 and stars James Spader as an FBI agent who is stalked by a serial killer.

The Watcher

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Netflix series stars Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts as husband and wife Dean Brannock and as Nora Brannock. Mia Farrow stars as Pearl, and Jennifer Coolidge who made waves earlier this year in The White Lotus, will star as Karen Calhoun.

Netflix is set to release all seven episodes of the limited series on Thursday, October 13, 2022.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.