“The Watcher”: Season 1 (2022) / Z-View

The Watcher: Season 1 (2022)

Directors:  Ryan Murphy (episodes 1, 3); Paris Barclay (episodes 2, 4); Jennifer Lynch (episodes 5, 7); Max Winkler (episode 6)

Teleplay: Ryan Murphy & Ian Brennan (episodes 1 – 5); Ian Brennan & Reilly Smith (episode 6); Ian Brennan & Reilly Smith & Todd Kubrak & Ryan Murphy (episode 7)

Stars: Naomi Watts, Bobby Cannavale, Mia Farrow, Terry Kinney, Henry Hunter Hall, Isabel Gravitt, Luke David Blumm, Jennifer Coolidge, Christopher McDonald, Noma Dumezweni, Margo Martindale, Richard Kind, Seth Gabel, Michael Nouri and Susan Merson

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

Soon after Dean, Nora and their two kids move into their beautiful dream house, anonymous threatening letters begin to arrive.  As the letters become more menacing, it becomes clear that whoever is sending them has access to their house.  The letters contain information about their kids, private conversations and are always signed The Watcher.

The police are unable to help.  Dean and Nora install a new security system. It doesn’t stop the strange events.  The letters keep coming.  As Dean and Nora become more paranoid, every neighbor becomes a suspect.  They cannot sell the house because they mortgaged everything to afford the place.

Who is The Watcher?  What does he/she want?

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Watcher is based on real events.  A family purchased their dream home and began receiving threatening letters from a stalker who signed off as The Watcher.  The family ultimately sold the house at almost a $400,000 loss and moved out of town!  The Watcher was originally conceived as a limited one season series.  Thanks to good ratings, a second season was ordered.

I enjoyed The Watcher.  For me the journey was better than the destination.  In all fairness, I thought this was a limited series of one and done.  Therefore I was looking for a definite conclusion.  I’m not sure if the ending was the one planned or if it changed due to a second season order.

The Watcher is extremely well cast. Mia Farrow is perfect as an irritating, crazy neighbor. Jennifer Coolidge is a scene stealer as the unlikeable “friend”.  Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale are excellent as the leads.  Familiar faces show up in supporting roles: Terry (Oz) Kinney, Christopher (Family Law) McDonald, Margo (Justified) Martindale; Richard (Spin City) Kind and Michael (Flashdance) Nouri.  I’d never seen Noma Dumezweni and Henry Hunter Hall before, but will be watching for them in the future.

The story has twists and turns in every episode.  As the tension increases, so do mistakes made by Nick and Nora as far as blaming the wrong (?) people.  As unbelievable as the twists become, because the story is based on a real incident and because the acting is so good, I went with it.  The Watcher was a fun ride.  I just wish the final episode was more satisfying… but then again, that might have negated the need for a season two.

The Watcher earns 4 of 5 stars.