The Watcher ending explained: Who was behind the threatening letters?

Ryan Murphy’s latest Netflix original The Watcher has fascinated the millions of people who have tuned in with its real(-ish) story of a couple terrorised by threatening letters after moving into their dream home.

So, where did all the twists and turns – some based on reality, some entirely fabricated – eventually lead?

Here’s a look at what went down in the seventh and final episode of the gripping cross between American Horror Story and Location, Location, Location – and you can read more about the true story behind The Watcher here.

The Watcher ending explained

Was it the PI all along?

Noma Dumezweni as Theodora in The Watcher. Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

The mystery appears to have been solved once and for all when cancer-stricken Theodora (Noma Dumezweni) confesses from her deathbed she was the perpetrator. The private investigator tells an astounded Dean (Bobby Cannavale) she’d previously owned the house but had been forced to give it up to pay for her oncology treatment. On discovering her “parasite” ex-husband had squirrelled away millions of dollars, she planned to buy it back by scaring Dean and his wife Nora (Naomi Watts) into selling.

This not only involved sending creepy typewritten letters but also inventing elaborate backstories for fictional characters (including serial killer prime suspect John Graff) and hiring performance artists (including the pig-tailed woman captured on video climbing into Dean’s bed) to heighten the paranoia.

Theodora also claims the deeply troubled Andrew Pierce (Seth Gabel), the man who talked of blood-drinking cults, was indeed a former occupier but that she’d planted such ideas into his head. “This was never about you Dean, it was about the house,” she concludes. However, when Dean visits neighbour Mo (Margo Martindale) in the wake of her husband Mitch’s (Richard Kind) death, he discovers Theodora never lived next door.

Later at her funeral, the PI’s grieving daughter tells Nora and Dean her mum decided to ‘come clean’ as an act of kindness. Theodora didn’t want the Brannocks to be consumed by the whodunnit once she was no longer there to help solve it and so pretended to be The Watcher to put them…

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