It’s time to get hooked on another true crime story because The Watcher premieres this week. The miniseries, created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, tells the true story of a family who buys their dream home in Westfield, New Jersey, only to want to sell it months later because of a stalker who harasses them through anonymous letters. The show is based on the 2018 article by The Cut titled “The Haunting of a Dream House” written by Reeves Wiedeman.
The true story of Derek and Maria Broaddus will be brought to life by Netflix, with Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts portraying the couple with new names Dean and Nora Brannock. Other cast members include Mia Farrow, Richard Kind, Terry Kinney, Jennifer Coolidge, Noma Dumezweni, Joe Mantello, and more.
Through these letters, signed “The Watcher,” the family realized this person either once lived in the house or simply observed it from afar for years because they knew many details about it. Derek and Maria grew increasingly worried for their safety and didn’t want to go near the house they bought for a whopping $1.35 million. After just a few short months, they decided they wanted to sell it. But it wasn’t that easy.
Once the family started being harassed and watched, it didn’t take long for them to identify a few suspects in the neighborhood.
Was Michael Langford The Watcher?
One of the biggest suspects in the case, at least to the family, was a man named Michael Langford. This was their next-door neighbor who they learned about during a barbeque soon after they bought the house, as reported by The Cut. According to another neighbor, a 90-something-year-old woman named Peggy lived with her children, all in their 60s, and the family was described as “a bit odd” but “harmless.” Derek was told that one of her sons, Michael Langford, was “kind of a Boo Radley character,” which alerted him. Was Michael the person who was sending the creepy letters?
But when Derek brought this suspicion to one of the town detectives, he was told that Michael was already questioned and denied knowing about the letters. He was later brought in for questioning again, but there wasn’t enough evidence to say he was The Watcher.
Did they ever catch The Watcher of Westfield, New Jersey?
Unfortunately, what makes this case so frightening is the fact that The Watcher was never caught. It still remains an unsolved mystery to this day. Though several people were looked at as suspects, there ultimately was not enough evidence to find the true perpetrator.
The Watcher on Netflix will likely explore Michael Langford as a suspect, though we’re sure his name will be changed just like Maria and Derek’s. We’ll be curious to see how much of the true story is altered for dramatic purposes.
Be sure to check out The Watcher when it premieres this Thursday, Oct. 13 only on Netflix.