‘The Watcher’ Ending, Explained: What Is the Mystery Surrounding 657 Boulevard?

Based on a true life story, this horror mystery mini tv series ‘The Watcher‘ is another work of Ryan Murphy (of the American Horror Series). Ryan Murphy has cemented his name in the horror genre. Barely days after Netflix announced ‘Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story’ to be the fourth most watched show in Netflix history and growing, a new Ryan Murphy project ‘The Watcher’ drops on Netflix.

The Watcher puts into perspective the brilliance that is Ryan Murphy. This mind-boggling show is every crime-triller lover’s dream. This show plays with the viewers’ emotions in such a way that keeps the audience hooked! From the first episode to the final moments of the last episode, our curiosity is agitated, and we are invested and glued to our seats.

The mini tv series is filled with a familiar cast of exceptional actors, with Naomi Watts playing Nora Brannock, Jennifer Coolidge playing Karen Calhoun, Bobby Cannavale playing Dean Brannock, Mia Farrow and Terry Kinney playing Pearl and Jasper Winslow, and Margo Martindale Playing Mo and Christopher McDonald playing detective.

Ever since the release of ‘Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story,’ there has been an uproar amongst the general public questioning the romanticization and dramatization of terrifying events, especially with the ‘victims’ and ‘survivors’ still living. Where do we draw the line on what ‘crime’ is acceptable to be put into distribution? Do we disrespect the ‘victims’ or ‘survivors’ by watching these movies and shows?

A quick plot recap

Just as we see a surge in the dramatization of true crime stories, ‘The Watcher’ walks in a similar path. The story follows the Brannocks and their kids as they move into a suburban town. Dean Brannock and Nora Brannock think that they have gotten the house of their dreams but unknown to them, they have walked straight into a living nightmare.

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Everything seems great till they get a disturbing letter from an anonymous source calling themselves ‘The watcher.’ The letter refers to their kids, Ellie and Carter, as “young blood” and insinuates blood sacrifice. As events unfold, they get into multiple altercations with their creepy neighbors their suspicions are heightened.

Dean quickly seeks help from law enforcement and points fingers at their odd neighbors, but nothing is done to help them. With everything happening, The Brannocks hire a private investigator. They will have to trust no one. Everyone is a suspect. While looking for answers, Dean traces former residents to find answers and realizes he isn’t the first resident to get letters.

With the paranoia growing, the family has torn apart, there are a lot of twists, and this tone stays this way till the very end.

What is ‘The Watcher’ based on?

According to an article written by Reeves Wiedeman, the story is based on a horrifying true crime event that took place at 667 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. The family affected was the Broaddus, and in 2014, three days after purchasing the home, Derek Broaddus would find a handwritten letter addressed to the ‘New Owner’ in the mail.

Some bizarre parts of the letter read, “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.”

Although they never told anyone about the strange letters, more letters would be sent to the 100-year home, getting more creepy and intense each time, leaving him, his wife, and three kids scared.

What did Ryan Murphy see in this story?

The infamous real-life mystery had never been solved, leading to a Reddit cult obsessing over the case, with users claiming to see an unknown man “holding a camera in the driver’s seat” in a car parked outside the residence. The nature of the mystery has led Ryan Murphy to get creative and tell a story that could have possibly happened, thereby filling a void and acknowledging unanswered questions.

What is the mystery surrounding 657 Boulevard?

The mystery behind 657 Boulevard is mind-boggling, with so many twists and turns. From the speculation of blood rituals to ghost activities. What is true, and what isn’t? In normal Ryan Murphy fashion, the audience is left pointing fingers at everyone. Are the neighbors in on it? Is it the realtor? Who is it? Why is the family losing their mind? These questions run through our minds while we anxiously await the next jumpscare.

The ending explained

After Dean and Nora conclude that the neighbors aren’t involved, they are convinced that the realtor, Karen, is in cahoots with the detective to scare them into selling their house. Logically, they are the only ones that gain from it. Nora gets a big break, and they can move back to New York with no financial issues, but Dean feels like a failure for giving up on their home.

On her deathbed, detective Theodora confesses to the crimes. She confesses to making it up, sending the anonymous letters, breaking into their home, and it all makes sense. She confessed to losing her home, which was once 657 Boulevard, and everything she did was force Dean and Nora to sell at a lower price. Theodora was feeding them all the information from the beginning, so it would make sense for her to be ‘The Watcher,’ right? It isn’t that simple.

After Theodora dies, they find out that Theodora lied about everything. She was never The Watcher, nor did she ever own 657 Boulevard. She figured out that taking the blame and confessing to the crime would bring Dean peace of mind and enable him to focus on his family.

In the end, we witness a pivotal moment where Dean seems to become the very thing he feared. What is the truth? Would we ever know who ‘The Watcher’ truly is? Was it Dean all along? Was it the retired school teacher, Roger Kaplan? All these questions would never be answered. It makes us wonder if this is what happened in reality. Is this what befell 657 Boulevard, or was it all psychological?

Just like the characters in the series, this movie keeps you on edge. It makes you feel what the characters are going through. You get to experiment with the horrors of being watched live through your tv screens. This show would have you double-checking locked doors and windows, keeping curtains closed, and will have you developing anxiety and fear of ghostly presences. Even If you’re a fan of Ryan Murphy or not, you’d have a swell time.

  • I'm an avid reader with an overactive imagination. I love expressing my thoughts in as many mediums as I can, through storytelling, music and writing short pieces. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best thing to ever hit the big screen.