When negotiating with Netflix, the Broaddus didn’t have many demands. Having already been burned by Lifetime once by exploiting their story, they just wanted to maintain some control over their own narrative. This prompted the Broaddus to ask for two simple things when Netflix adapted The Watcher into an original series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
First, they asked that their names not be used on the show. Whoever the family was being terrorized by the unknown stalker, they didn’t want it to be linked in any way to their actual family. Because of this, creator Ryan Murphy chose to use the name Brannock instead. On the show, Dean (Bobby Cannavale) and Nora Brannock (Naomi Watts) have two children. They move into the house with the intention of living in a quiet, safe area outside of the city, and they put every single penny they have into the house to make it happen. As many families are horrified to do, their life savings go to their new home to keep them captive there. Since they cannot afford any other accommodation, they have no option to leave.
The Broadduss’ second request followed the same security and privacy measures. They wanted the actors portraying the family to resemble them as little as possible. Given that the true crime was never solved and the culprit behind the ominous letters was never identified, these requests seemed reasonable enough.
Murphy commented on the ongoing investigation and how it influenced his research and writing. “When we were shooting it, things came out on Reddit like, ‘Here’s a new suspect, here’s a different idea. Here’s another thing.’ It was like working on something alive, we were constantly adding characters.” (via the Hollywood Reporter).