The Watcher ending explained: Did the Netflix series reveal the identity of The Watcher?

It's one of the most talked about endings of all time

Bobby Cannavale as Dean Brannock in episode 101 of The Watcher
(Image credit: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix/Future)

Viewers won’t be able to sleep at night unless there’s closure on exactly who The Watcher is - was the real stalker revealed in the terrifying series?

A lot of viewers have now binged The Watcher on Netflix, and it has sparked more intrigue than most recent true-crime dramatisations. Social media is alight with fans needing answers to unanswered questions raised in the series, and internet forums have endless threads dedicated to The Watcher related discussion. When a family bought their dream home in an affluent area of New Jersey,  they never imagined a series of disturbing letters sent to their address would prevent them ever moving in, and spawn a TV series and conspiracy theories galore. Now that all episodes have been devoured, attention has turned to the ending - exactly what went down and was The Watcher’s identity revealed? Read on to find out.   

For those yet to start episodes of the Watcher and want to know what to expect, we have all the information needed, along with what the critics and fans are saying about it. For more intel on The Watcher true story, read with somebody else in the room and the lights on - its a chilling tale. There's also questions about whether the series was shot using the real house from the story - The Watcher filmed across a small number of locations, and we reveal exactly where.   

The Watcher ending explained

The finale begins with Nora and Dean Brannock attempting to begin a new life in New York City, trying to leave the terrifying events of 657 Boulevard behind them. Nora is forging ahead with her pottery career, but Dean is struggling to move on from the stalking at their dream home, and continues to obsess over who could’ve been behind it - Nora becomes upset when she finds him laying out yet another theory one night and it is clear they are at different stages of acceptance. 

The couple later get a call from their private investigator’s daughter, to let them know Theodora’s health is rapidly deteriorating. Theodora was investigating the mysterious letters for the Brannocks but is now dying in hospital from cancer. They visit her in the hospital, and she notices that Nora seems upset and guesses all is not well between the pair. She later asks Dean to visit her alone, where she confesses to being The Watcher. 

Theodora tells him she desperately wanted to buy the house, and had an offer accepted on it before they did. However, she’d then been diagnosed with cancer and needed to keep her money to pay medical bills. Unable to believe her dream home would no longer be hers, she told Dean she’d paid actors to tell him about Mo's blood cult, and sneak into his bedroom in the night. 

However, when Theodora dies, her daughter tells the Brannocks her mother made the story up and was never The Watcher. The reason for this was allegedly because she was upset about not being able to solve the case, and desperately wanted to give the family closure - the mystery is again unsolved.

With Theodora dead, 657 Boulevard is back on the market, and original realtor Karen buys it. However, it’s not long before The Watcher returns and Karen promptly moves back out when a shadowy figure comes at her from behind, and kills her dog. The finale ends with Dean in therapy, talking about the house that he simply can’t let go of. In the final scene, he remains obsessed with finding the truth and is sat outside his former home watching the new occupant collect their mail. 

While lurking outside the house, Dean gets a call from Nora, inquiring about a job interview he should have been attending. Dean lies, telling her he’s finished the interview and is now stuck in traffic on his way home. In the car and pulling away from his spot outside 657 Boulevard, Dean fails to notice Nora take up the space where he was parked and take up watching the property herself. She not only knows Dean is lying, but she too appears not to be able to get over what happened to them at the property, with both obsessed about discovering the truth. 

Jennifer Coolidge as Karen Calhoun in episode 107 of The Watcher

(Image credit: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

Who was The Watcher in The Watcher series?

As with the real life case, the identity of The Watcher in The Watcher series, is never revealed.

Theodora said she was The Watcher, and this was only discredited by her daughter, with no proof she was never responsible. If she wasn’t then who was it who told Dean about the blood cult, and who was the girl with pigtails in his bedroom? Those questions remain unanswered with Theodora’s statement they were actors she paid, out of the picture. There’s also Westfield Preservation Society members Roger and John. At a meeting. Roger indicates he knows John from somewhere, but it’s not revealed how they know each other. 

Earlier in the series, John had been at 657 Boulevard and told Dean he was a house inspector. However, it transpires there was never a house inspector of that name. Dean finds out that in the past, a man named John lived at the property, murdering his wife and children before disappearing. Roger -who lived on the street at the time of the murder - could have recognised John as being the murderer, but been unable to place him as such. John could also have been The Watcher, as he was lurking in the house when he wasn’t supposed to be there.

There’s also the very odd Pearl and Jasper Winslow. They knew about the underground tunnels beneath the Braddock’s house, and it was known The Watcher was using them for access. This knowledge, combined with their strange demeanour, means they too could have easily been The Watcher. However, intrigue and mystery was built around most characters and their backstories, meaning that no particular character ever stood out as being the culprit, more than any other.  

Terry Kinney as Jasper Winslow, Mia Farrow as Pearl Winslow in episode 101 of The Watcher.

(Image credit: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

Is Dean The Watcher?

Dean is not revealed to be The Watcher in the series, but there are hints that he could be. In the real story, Derek Broaddus was at one point accused of staging the entire series of events. 

At the end of the series when Dean is feverishly watching his old house and the new occupant retrieve their mail, it could be because he’s left threatening letters and wants to see their reaction. When Nora arrives and takes his place, they might’ve had a telephone conversation pretending to live their usual lives to cover their tracks, when Dean really knew she was about to take up watching the house for sinister reasons. 

Although the previous occupants of the house admitted to receiving one Watcher letter, this could have been sent by Dean and Nora - they were the first people to receive a multitude of threats, even when The Watcher stated they’d been watching the house for decades. This has led to speculation they were The Watchers all along.

In real life, Derek Broaddus admitted to sending anonymous letters to those who had publicly criticised the family. He sent the letters on Christmas Eve 2017, and signed them “Friends of the Broaddus Family”. When he admitted what he’d done, Derek was full of remorse. He admitted that he couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened, and that it had ruined his life. His actions only spurred the theory he was behind the letters all along, for which he demanded a public apology.   

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What was fabricated in The Watcher?

There were no real murders across the road from The Watcher house as depicted in the series. The ages of the children and daughter Ellie’s boyfriend are not real. Every event that occurred once the family moved into the house, and realtor Karen moving into the house when they left, were all fabricated

Two bodies being taken from Mitch and Mo’s house suggest the couple have been murdered. When they later return, it transpires their son murdered two people to claim insurance money, saying it was his parents who’d been murdered. However, the couple on which Mitch and Mo are loosely based, did sit on deckchairs directly facing 657 Boulevard, that really did happen. 

Ellie’s name and age are also made up. The real Broaddus children were all under 10 at the time of the ordeal. In the show, Ellie is 16 and finds romance with 19-year-old Dakota, who was installing security cameras at the house. Similarly, everything that happens once the Brannocks move into the house is entirely made up. The family never made it into the house as they were living elsewhere while renovations were completed. When the threatening letters began, they were put off actually moving in, deciding to eventually sell the house without ever living there. 

Karen the realtor is also a fabricated character. The story of her buying the property for a small price at the end of the series, isn’t true. There was also no incident involving The Watcher coming into the house when the new owners moved in, or murdering their dog. The new residents have never reported any contact from The Watcher.

A mysterious figure watches the Brannock house in The Watcher

(Image credit: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

Was the tunnel real in The Watcher?

No, there was never a tunnel beneath the real 657 Boulevard, this was made up for the series. 

When the Brannocks have the house renovated, builders find the tunnels and say they were common in houses of that age, and often used during prohibition. When told about the tunnels, Dean and Nora take a look, finding a room that appears to be inhabited. Scanning the area with a torch, they briefly see a dark figure, who quickly flees. Jasper and Pearl admit they know about the tunnels, and Jasper is later found hiding in the house - the Brannock’s assume it was him they saw racing from the tunnel when they searched it.

In real life there was no such tunnel found beneath the property, and no neighbours were ever found to have entered the house without the family’s permission. 

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.