The Netflix mini-series “The Watcher” is a fictionalized account of events that occurred in real life. Ryan Murphy created Netflix’s latest exclusive series, The Watcher, which is based on Reeves Wiedeman’s 2018 New York Magazine article “The Haunting of a Dream Home.” The article describes how Maria and Derek Broaddus bought a home they dreamed of in June 2014, not far from Maria’s childhood home. Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale star as Nora and Dean Brannock, the couple.
The show dramatizes the story of that couple who begins receiving haunting letters from someone anonymous called the Watcher soon after they relocate. The first letter was warm and welcoming, welcoming them to the neighborhood. Following letters, however, became increasingly hostile and focused on the family’s three young children. The letter holds details about the family’s children and claims that the house was searching for “young blood.”
The watcher promises to observe the house and its new owners. As more distressing incidents befall the family, the list of suspects grows longer. Feeling threatened, the Broaddus family enlisted the assistance of local law enforcement to determine who was sending the threatening letters. Westfield police have yet to discover the identity of the Watcher. In the show, The Brannocks is determined to find out who the Watcher is in this seven-episode series.
How Does The Show Differ From Reality?
While most of the show’s scenes are real, The Watcher makes up some aspects of it. For instance, the series’ neighborhood and homes were shot in New York. The series’ houses all have the same address. The actual Watcher house can be found at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. But the Broaddus family never moved into 657 Boulevard, whereas the fictional Brannocks do. The figures are also slightly different: in the show, the house is listed for $3.2 million, whereas in real life, it was purchased for $1.35 million.
Joe Mantello portrays John Graff, The Watcher. He’s based on the real-life family killer John List. List murdered his Parent, wife, and three children in his Westfield residence in 1971 before fleeing for 18 years. Unlike in the show, List did not live at 657 Boulevard and was not known to be connected to it.
You might be surprised to learn that Mo, played by Margo Martindale, and Mitch, portrayed by Richard Kind, were inspired by the Broaddus’ real-life nosy neighbors but what Andrew’s son saw whole blood-drinking cult allegations and homicidal son part of their story was made up.
Who Were Mitch And Mo, And What Happened To Them?
The two arugula-obsessed neighbors, Mo and Mitch, are about an unnamed couple who were a crucial part of the real-life story that inspired the creation of The Watcher. An elderly couple, Mo and Mitch, could be seen sunbathing and staring intently at the Brannocks. According to the New York Magazine article, this couple kept a pair of lawn chairs “strangely close” to the Broadduses’ home, and a painter working for the family noticed the man sitting and staring directly at the Broadduses’ house at one point.
They couldn’t stand the fact that a piano had been brought into the house and was later offended when Dean asked Mo to leave his property. Mitch and Mo disliked the Brannock family right away because they were unfriendly to their neighbors.
Dean decides to investigate who the mysterious Watcher is; on his own, he initially suspects Mo and Mitch. Dean also meets the previous owner of his house, who claims Mo and Mitch were members of a blood cult. Dean was skeptical when Andrew told him that his three-year-old son witnessed Mo and Mitch performing rites and killing a newborn in the process.
Andrew’s wife later discovered Mo sucking on their son’s finger wound in the basement. Mo appeared to have entered the basement through a hidden tunnel. Andrew made the decision to leave with his family that night. Dean starts believing that Mo and Mitch are writing the couple the creepy letters.
Dean is horrified when Mo and Mitch are discovered dead in their home a day after he has yet another fight with Mo. Mo and Mitch’s unnamed son accuse Dean of inciting Mitch to murder Mo and himself. He explains that Mo had cancer and that all the couple wanted for Mo’s last years was peace and quiet. However, Mo and Mitch are perfectly fine — their bereaved son staged their deaths.
Even in reality, Mo and Mitch did not die. Cannavale called the original story Murphy’s “jumping point” because it differs from the true story after the Brannock family moves in. The Watcher, for example, recalls another terrifying incident from Westfield’s past.