Learn English Podcast #44: Netflix’s The Watcher

Dear New neighbor at 657 Boulevard.

Allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood.

Do you know the history of the house?

I’ve been put in charge of watching you.

This message will not be the last.

I am the watcher.

Hi everyone and welcome to the English LingQ Podcast with me your host Elle.

If you’re interested in learning English from things like movies,

TV shows, song lyrics, and more, you are in the right place.

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Today we’re learning English from the popular Netflix show The Watcher.

Have you seen it yet?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to give away the ending.

The show stars Naomi Watts and Bobby Canavale as Nora and Dean Branock.

They buy their dream home, move in, everything looks like it’s going

to be wonderful until they receive a menacing letter from someone

calling themself The Watcher.

I just finished this series and it was pretty good.

I enjoyed it.

The most interesting thing for me about the series though, wasn’t the

house or the performances, the jump scares, it’s the fact that it is based

on a true story, and that is what I’m going to talk about this episode.

But before I start, let me show you how I created English lessons with the TV

show the Watcher, and how you can do the same, and how you can make lessons

from any show or movie from Netflix.

The first thing you need to make lessons out of Netflix shows or

movies is the Link browser extension.

It’s available on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

So once you have that, go on over to Netflix.

And as you can see here, I’ve chosen The Watcher.

Make sure that subtitles are switched on for English, of course.

Click the LingQ logo there and import.

And then there you have it, all of the dialogue and stage directions, call them,

you know, sounds that are made and action.

You can use a sentence view.

Remember you can go in, I have, uh, English as my dictionary language

now so it just gives a definition of the word or phrase, but you can

add any dictionary language, your mother tongue or any other language

you wanna translate the English into.

There are so many languages to choose from, so you can read along the dialogue

in English as you watch the show.

Here’s what the lesson looks like on mobile.

This is the iOS app.

So if I just go through and translate, then you can review all vocabulary

that you’ve learned in lessons.

So what’s the deal with The Watcher

being based on a true story?

In 2014, Derek and Maria Broaddus bought a home in Westfield, New Jersey.

It was their dream home.

Maria had grown up in Westfield and this house was a couple of blocks away from

her childhood home, so it was perfect.

So they thought…

the idea was to move in with their three kids after they’d renovated the

home, but two weeks after they bought it, they received a letter in the mail

addressed to the new owner and it read: “my grandfather watched the house in the

1920s and my father watched in the 1960s.

It is now my time.

Do you know the history of the house?

Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard?

Why are you here?

I will find out.

Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested?

Better for me.

Was your old house too small for your growing family or was it

greed to bring me your children?

Once I know their names, I will call to them and draw them to me.

The Watcher.”

Of course, Derek and Maria were pretty freaked out by this letter.

They did what I would do, and I’m sure you would too, they called the police.

Derek also got in touch with the family who they’d bought the

house from, the Woods family.

He asked them if they’d received a letter like it, and they had it.Turns out.

You’d think they should have said that before they sold the house.

A few days later, they received a second letter.

This letter was even more menacing in that it mentioned their children by

name so they decided they wouldn’t be bringing the kids to the house anymore.

As you can imagine, the Broaddus’s really wanted to figure out who this The

Watcher character was and make them stop.

They first suspected a local Michael Langford.

So Michael lived in a home across the way from the Broaddus’s new home.

He lived with his elderly mother.

He was described as a bit of a Boo Radley character.

So if you’ve read the Harper Lee book To Kill a Mockingbird,

you might remember Boo Radley.

He was a bit of a recluse, a little bit creepy.

Derek believed Michael Langford was responsible because of this, he was a

bit of a recluse and slightly creepy, also though there was a porch on

the Broaddus’s home, which wasn’t visible from the street, but it was

visible from the Langford home and this porch had been mentioned in

one of the letters from The Watcher.

Derek told the police about his suspicion, but of course he didn’t

have any hard evidence, it was just a theory, so nothing happened.

At this point, derek and Maria were getting really frustrated.

The police weren’t finding any leads, so they decided to hire

a PI, a private investigator.

They also set up cameras all around the home, which is the same thing that

you see Dean Branock doing in the show.

And as well, they got an ex FBI agent involved.

This ex FBI agent’s name was Robert Lenahan.

He had a theory off the bat: he thought the watcher was an older person

because the style of the writing in the letters was kind of old fashioned.

Now, Westfield is a community like all others out there, I’m

sure, and the locals gossip.

They had their theories about who was sending these letters.

Some of the locals even thought the Broaddus’s were

writing the letters themselves.

Why would they do this?

Two theories: one, it was some kind of insurance scam, insurance fraud.

Two, some locals believed the Broaddus’s were trying to build

kind of a hype around the house so that they could secure a movie deal.

Derek Broaddus responded to this in the press saying that

these people were ridiculous.

They were just making things up because they couldn’t face the fact that something

like this could happen in their town.

Derek and Maria finally decided the home was not safe for their

children and that they would sell.

Now, of course, everyone knows about this controversy, about

the letters from The Watcher.

Nobody wants to buy the home, so eventually the Broaddus’s decide to

rent it out, and they do find a renter but this renter is smart in that he says

to the Broaddus’s, I’ll move in, but if I receive a letter from The Watcher, I

am allowed to break my lease and leave.

Two weeks after the renters moved in, another letter: “violent winds in

bitter cold to the vial and spiteful Derek in his wench of a wife, Maria.”



The renter was also mentioned by name, but decided to stay under the condition

that Derek would install even more cameras around the house, which he did.

The plot thickens, in 2017 some people who, the locals I’d mentioned previously

who came out and said that the Broaddus’s were writing the letters themselves, they

wanted to create some hype and get some kind of movie deal, those families started

receiving threatening letters themselves.

These letters were signed by Friends of the Broaddus Family.

Now, Derek actually admitted to writing these letters.

Derek, you are not helping yourself here!

He did say though, that he wasn’t responsible for any of the letters

that the Broaddus family had gotten, just these ones to the haters.

And he wrote them because he was just sick and tired of the

way his family had been treated.

So who was The Watcher?

Well, police today think it was an elderly woman who lived in the area.

The Broaddus family did not stay in the home.

They didn’t keep it for renters.

They decided to sell and they were able to sell in 2019.

The new homeowners have not received a letter from The Watcher…


So there you have it.

Perhaps you’d seen the show, didn’t know the backstory, or didn’t know the show

existed and now you wanna check it out.

Either way, I hope you found that helpful and interesting,

and I will see you next time.

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