Real Life Watcher Couple Responds To Ryan Murphy’s Netflix Show


The real-life family at the center of The Watcher responds to the new Netflix series. Co-created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, who have collaborated on several past projects, The Watcher stars Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale in their respective roles as Nora and Dean Brannock. The seven-episode series follows the Brannocks, and their two children, as they move into what they believe will be their suburban dream home. That quickly changes when they start to receive ominous letters from an anonymous sender known only as “the watcher.” Despite its seemingly heightened horror premise, the show draws a lot of inspiration from a viral article in The Cut by writer Reeves Wiedeman which detailed very similar circumstances.


Since its debut on October 13, The Watcher has been a success for Netflix. Subscribers have appreciated the drama’s relatively quick pace of unfolding the central mystery, with episodes rarely stretching beyond the 50-minute mark. But while the series has enjoyed praise, there are also questions about its ethics and appropriateness in the wake of Ryan Murphy’s Dahmer series. That true-crime drama, which also recently debuted on Netflix, has garnered harsh rebukes from the families of Dahmer’s victims.

Related: The Watcher Cast & Character Guide

The Broaddus family, the real family who were the focus of the article on which The Watcher is based, has now spoken out. As reported by EW, ABC News correspondent Eva Pilgrim said in Tuesday’s afternoon news broadcast of ABC7 New York the family declined to comment. Check out the quote below:

We reached out to the Broaddus family. They declined to comment, but they do still live here in the Westfield area. And we’ve been told they have no plans to watch the show; the trailer was traumatizing enough.

The Watcher Is Part Of An Ongoing Debate About True-Crime Shows

The way these true-crime series work around getting the consent of the people actually involved in the story is often that the producers will obtain the rights to an article or a book, and do an adaptation based on that. This is essentially how Pam & Tommy came to happen without the approval of Pamela Anderson, who has said she has no interest in watching the Hulu series. Pam & Tommy drew heavy criticism. Though it attempted to apologize for how Anderson was treated in the 1990s, it ultimately ended up presenting her as a two-dimensional figure with little agency of her own.

Dahmer, for its part, has led to a lot of pain for those already harmed by him. Tatiana Banks, the daughter of Jeffrey Dahmer victim Errol Lindsey, has shared that she’s experienced nightmares since the Netflix show was released. She’s not alone, as other loved ones and relatives of victims have had to describe the strangeness of reliving their trauma and being forced to look on as certain Dahmer viewers romanticize how the titular monster was portrayed and even express an abundance of sympathy for Dahmer.

Perhaps one remedy would be to take the approach of Peacock’s A Friend of the Family, which made a point to include the real victims as executive producers. But even then, as the true-crime trend shows no signs of stopping after The Watcher, it’s important for future adaptations to openly accept a basic truth: to use someone’s pain as the starting point for entertainment, and then to leverage that pain as bait for ratings and awards nominations, is on some level unavoidably strange and dehumanizing ― no matter what other positive intentions may be involved.

Next: What Happened To Pamela Anderson After The Tape: How It Affected Her Career

Source: EW


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