The Watcher (2022 TV series)

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The Watcher
Promotional poster
Created by
Based on"The Haunting of a Dream House"
by Reeves Wiedeman
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes7
Executive producers
  • Todd Nenninger
  • Lou Eyrich
  • Todd Kubrak
  • Danielle Wang
  • Jason McCormick
  • Maceo Bishop
  • Stanley Fernandez
  • Lisa Trulli
  • Franzis Müller
  • Danielle Wang
  • Travis Weaver
  • Regis Kimble
Running time44–52 minutes
Production companyRyan Murphy Productions
Original release
ReleaseOctober 13, 2022 (2022-10-13) –

The Watcher is an American mystery thriller television series created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan for Netflix.[3] It premiered on October 13, 2022.[4] It is loosely based on a 2018 article by Reeves Wiedeman for New York magazine's website The Cut.[4][5] Despite being originally conceived as a miniseries, The Watcher was renewed for a second season in November 2022.[6]


The series follows a married couple who, after moving into their dream home in a fictionalized version of Westfield, New Jersey, are harassed by creepy letters signed by a stalker who goes by the pseudonym "The Watcher".[5][7]

Cast and characters[edit]




Series overview
SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
17October 13, 2022 (2022-10-13)

Season 1 (2022)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Welcome, Friends"Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy & Ian BrennanOctober 13, 2022 (2022-10-13)
The Brannock family, parents Nora and Dean, and kids Ellie and Carter arrive at 657 Boulevard to attend an open house. Nora meets an old friend, Karen, who is the realtor. After having a few odd experiences, the family decides to buy the house. However, Dean has to take out almost all of the family's savings to afford the home. Six weeks later, the family moves in. Ellie hears music from an empty room, and the family receives an ominous letter from "The Watcher," who threatens to kidnap Ellie and Carter. Dean and Nora go to the police, but Detective Chamberland believes the whole thing is a prank. However, he agrees to send in the letter for DNA testing and says he knows the family "had to dig deep" to afford the house. The next morning, Carter finds Jasper, their neighbor, in the home's dumbwaiter. Pearl, Jasper's sister, explains that the old owners were okay with Jasper using the dumbwaiter. Dean and Nora decide to install alarms and cameras and hire Dakota, a 19-year-old entrepreneur. Later that night, Carter finds his pet ferret dead. A few mornings later, Dean finds another Watcher letter in the mail.
22"Blood Sacrifice"Paris BarclayRyan Murphy & Ian BrennanOctober 13, 2022 (2022-10-13)
Dean and Nora bring the second letter to Chamberland, who suggests hiring a private detective, and Dean employs Theodora Birch. Nora finds a motel for her and the kids to sleep in, and Dean stays at the house. The first night, the doorbell rings, but when Dean opens the door, there is no one, and Dean hears music from an upstairs room. At the motel, Nora gets a phone call and hears heavy breathing. After calling the number back, it is shown that the call came from inside the house. Later, Theodora gives Dean the contact information of Andrew Pierce, a previous owner. Dean meets with Andrew, who tells him his son Caleb went to their neighbors Mitch and Mo's house and saw men in cloaks drinking a baby's blood while living there. Andrew also received Watcher letters shortly afterward, and believes Mitch and Mo are the perpetrators. Dean and Nora hire Dakota as a night watch outside their house. That night, Dakota and Ellie kiss. The subsequent morning, Dean has a confrontation with Mo about the contractors. Later, Dean wakes up to gunshots. The following morning, police find Mitch and Mo dead in their home.
33"Götterdämmerung"Ryan MurphyRyan Murphy & Ian BrennanOctober 13, 2022 (2022-10-13)
Dean continues to discuss the case with Theodora. It is still not clear who The Watcher could be. Nora discusses her troubled marriage with her friend, Karen, who suggests that the couple should have more sex. Later, Dean meets a man named John in his house, who claims to be the building inspector. Their conversation takes a weird turn. Afterward, Dean learns there is no building inspector in their area with that name. Nora tries to listen to Karen's advice, but Dean is too distracted because of what is going on in and around their new house. Dean is called by Theodora. She asked Chamberland if she could look at old files about the house. Doing so, she finds out about a family massacre committed by John Graff, a former owner who also received Watcher letters. Listening to her story, Dean thinks the man named John he met earlier might be John Graff. As Jasper Winslow discovered the bodies two weeks after the murders happened, Dean wants to confront him about the case, but Pearl will not allow it. Nora finds another letter from The Watcher.
44"Someone to Watch Over Me"Paris BarclayRyan Murphy & Ian BrennanOctober 13, 2022 (2022-10-13)
One week earlier, Dean and Nora confront the director of the real estate agency about the murders, but there is nothing he can do. Dean tells Nora and Theodora about the man called John he met earlier. However, Theodora doesn't see the connection and believes Dakota, who is dating Ellie, might be The Watcher. Dean finds out about it and confronts Ellie and Dakota, and Ellie calls the cops. Dakota agrees to send a sample of his DNA for testing to see if it matches the DNA on the Watcher envelopes. Ellie tells her dating story to her online followers, implying her father is racist as Dakota is a man of color. Dean finds out about a camera in their bedroom which films him asleep with a girl walking around the bed then lying next to him. She looks like Pat Graff, the daughter of John Graff. Dakota reveals he sent the footage to Nora and Dean's boss, and placed the camera in Dean's bedroom because he thought Dean was The Watcher. Nora saw the footage, and kicks Dean out of the house. Dean continues to keep watching out for them. He notices a car arriving, dropping off Mo and Mitch.
55"Occam's Razor"Jennifer LynchRyan Murphy & Ian BrennanOctober 13, 2022 (2022-10-13)
While going through the phone records, Nora discovers the unknown motel call came from their home. Nora meets with Theodora, who hired a handwriting specialist to examine the letters and believes Dean is The Watcher. Theodora discovers Dean didn't make partner and got loans to pay for the house. Mo tells Nora her son planned to fake Mitch and Mo's death for insurance money. Pearl believes Jasper wrote the letters because she received a letter called "Ode to a House." Dakota searches the footage from all the cameras at the Brannock house and discovers the girl in Dean's bedroom never entered the home. Dean tells Nora he wrote the third letter. Karen tells Nora that an LLC wants to buy Nora's house, but Nora rejects the offer. The DNA results came back, which showed a woman's DNA was on the envelope. Nora sees Chamberland and Karen together at the country club, and she confronts them because she thinks the two were trying to get the house for cheap. Ellie discovers "Ode to a House" is a school assignment created by Roger Kaplan where students wrote a love letter to their favorite house. Nora recognizes Kaplan from the open house, and construction workers find a tunnel in the basement.
66"The Gloaming"Max WinklerIan Brennan & Reilly SmithOctober 13, 2022 (2022-10-13)
Dean and Nora chase a mysterious figure through the tunnel and reach a bedroom where someone had been living. The figure disappears behind a locked door, and is revealed to be John Graff. The two go to Chamberland, who refuses to help them after being confronted at the country club. Theodora goes to Trish, Roger's ex-wife, who tells her that Roger loved 657 Boulevard. He also loved another house and sent love letters to the owners. After a while, the letters became more threatening. Later, Dean and Nora confront Roger and his new wife, Miko, at the supermarket. The two accuse Roger of writing the Watcher letters, but Roger and Miko walk away. Angry, Roger stands outside the Brannock home, taunting them. Dean and Nora agree they need to sell the house. The Brannocks get a large offer, but the buyer backs out after an article about the home is published. Karen tells Nora she got the article published, and the Brannocks move back to their old house in the city.
77"Haunting"Jennifer LynchIan Brennan & Reilly Smith & Todd Kubrak & Ryan MurphyOctober 13, 2022 (2022-10-13)
Nora's art pieces sell very well, and Dean is still obsessed with finding the perpetrator. Nora tells Theodora, who is in the hospital due to her terminal cancer, about Dean's obsession. Theodora later calls Dean to the hospital and tells him that she is The Watcher, and the Brannocks bought 657 Boulevard from her. After her divorce, she lost almost all her savings and was forced to sell the home. When Dean and Nora go to Theodora's funeral, her daughter tells them Theodora lied about being The Watcher so Dean could be at peace. The couple receive an LLC offer and sell the house. Karen is behind the LLC, and Nora visits Karen when she moves in, telling her that she "will be watching." Late at night, Karen finds a Watcher letter in the dumbwaiter, and goes downstairs to find her dog dead and a mysterious figure watching her. A few weeks later, Dean is in therapy, and tells his therapist that Karen sold the house. He goes back to the home and meets the new owner, introducing himself as John. He lies to Nora about where he is and drives home, not knowing that Nora is watching him.


The series is based on a 2018 article for New York's "The Cut" by Reeves Wiedeman, which chronicled the experience of Derek and Maria Broaddus after they received threatening letters upon moving into their home at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey in 2014,[5] which continued until they sold the home in 2019.[9] The character John Graff was based on John List, a mass murderer and longtime fugitive who murdered his family in his Westfield home in 1971. Similarities between John Graff's character and the List murders include his career as an accountant, attending Lutheran church, and murdering his family members and live-in mother, along with leaving music playing in the house and planning an alibi that would cause the bodies to remain undiscovered for several weeks.[10]

On-location scenes for the home at 657 Boulevard were filmed at a private residence in Rye, New York that was built in 2016.[11] The scenes where the Brannock family stays at a motel were filmed at an operating motel located in the hamlet of Locust Valley on Long Island, New York.[12]

While no scenes were filmed at the real-life 657 Boulevard residence in Westfield, the neighborhood received increased attention from visitors and fans following the release of the series; the home was guarded by police and barricade tape to prevent trespassers in October 2022.[13]


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 56% approval rating with an average rating of 5.5/10, based on 34 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "This suburban nightmare sometimes achieves the campy fright of creator Ryan Murphy's best horror fare, but it sprawls in too many ludicrous directions to satisfy."[14] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 54 out of 100 based on 8 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15]

Daniel D'Addario of Variety summarized the show as "ultimately unremarkable fiction."[16]


  1. ^ Carlin, Shannon (October 13, 2022). "The Horrifying True Story Behind Netflix's The Watcher". Time. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  2. ^ Gulla, Emily (October 13, 2022). "The Watcher viewers are all saying the same thing about new Netflix thriller". Cosmopolitan. UK. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  3. ^ Nolfi, Joey (September 14, 2021). "Naomi Watts teases her return to horror in 'freaky' Ryan Murphy 'Watcher' series". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Rice, Lynette (September 24, 2022). "'The Watcher': Netflix Unveils Trailer & Debut Date For Ryan Murphy's Latest Scarefest". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Wiedeman, Reeves (October 11, 2022) [November 12, 2018]. "The Haunting of a Dream House". The Cut. Archived from the original on October 13, 2022. Retrieved October 14, 2022.
  6. ^ Ausiello, Michael (November 7, 2022). "Netflix Renews Ryan Murphy's Watcher for Season 2, Monster for Seasons 2, 3". TVLine. Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (December 5, 2018). "Netflix Wins Heated Auction For Film Rights To Dream House Nightmare Tale 'The Watcher'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Wiedeman, Reeves (October 11, 2022). "Taking Another Look at The Watcher What we know about the case four years later". The Cut. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  10. ^ Nolfi, John (October 14, 2022). "The Watcher's Grisly John Graff Murder Sequence Is Based on True Story of a Family Massacre". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  11. ^ Allen, Kelly (October 17, 2022). ""The Watcher" Was Filmed at This Grand New York Home". House Beautiful. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  12. ^ Sweet, Jacqueline (October 20, 2022). "'The Watcher' Motel Scenes Filmed At Long Island's Tides Motor Inn". Oyster Bay, NY Patch. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  13. ^ Fernandes, Nicolas (October 20, 2022). "Westfield, N.J., residents are sick of Netflix fans driving to 'The Watcher' house at 657 Boulevard". Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  14. ^ "The Watcher: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  15. ^ "The Watcher: Season 1". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved October 18, 2022.
  16. ^ D'Addario, Daniel (October 13, 2022). "'The Watcher' Sucks the Suspense From a True-Life Horror Story: TV Review". Variety.

External links[edit]