The Staircase – A Gripping Murder Documentary That’s Worth Binging!

3 min read
The Staircase – A Gripping Murder Documentary That’s Worth Binging!

Colin Firth and Toni Collette star in The Staircase, a true-crime documentary about the death of Kathleen Peterson and Michael Petters’ trial – chronicled throughout eight hours.

The Staircase is a true-crime and murder miniseries documentary. The miniseries stars award-winner Colin Firth as Michael Peterson, a North Carolina crime novelist suspected of killing his wife Kathleen, played by Australian and award-winning actress Toni Collette.

The TV series is created by Antonio Campos (The Devil All the Time, 2020), known for his psychological thriller expertise in cinemas. The Staircase took inspiration from the original French documentary of the same name.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show has eight episodes. It stars Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche as French documentary editor Sophie Brunet, Sophie Turner and Odessa Young as adopted daughters Margaret and Martha Ratliff, Patrick Schwarzenegger as son Todd Peterson, Parker Posey as Durham County prosecutor Freda Black and Michael Stuhlbarg as defence attorney David Rudolf.

New episodes to premiere every Thursday!

The Staircase Murder - Michael Peterson with his wife, Kathleen, and five children.
Michael Peterson with his wife, Kathleen, and five children. Photo from ImdB.

Is the series The Staircase a true story?

Michael Peterson, a famous crime novelist and husband of Kathleen Peterson, is accused of bludgeoning his wife to death after she’s found dead at their home. The investigation continues as family members entwined themselves into wild legal combat that will test their faith in humanity and generosity towards those who had done them wrong. This includes Michael himself before his arrest for this terrible act against society.

Peterson claimed he found his wife Kathleen unconscious at the bottom of their stairs and thought she must have fallen after drinking alcohol and Valium.

The emergency phone call he made on December 9 2001, was responding to her unconscious body discovered by him in their Forest Hills home around 2:40 am.

The defence argued that Michael accepted his bisexuality. The marriage was very happy, with friends telling how they observed no indication of conflict between him and Kathleen. 

However, on October 10 2003, a Durham County jury found Peterson guilty of murder after hearing from all sides in this complicated case. He was charged with murder (reduced to voluntary manslaughter) and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Nonetheless, this was reduced to 86 months imprisonment. In actuality, Michael served about 98.5 months. Peterson was put in jail near Rocky Mount until he was released on December 16, 2011, on $300,000 bail. He had to stay at home with a tracking anklet.

In 2017, Peterson walked finally out as a free man.

the staircase movie poster
Colin Firth and Toni Collette star in The Staircase, a true-crime documentary. Movie poster from IMdB.

Where can I watch The Staircase documentary?

You can watch Binge exclusively to see this show. If you are new to Binge, you can take advantage of the 14-day free trial. This will let you start streaming the show immediately.

The Staircase is also available on HBO Max. The ad-supported plan costs $10 per month or $100 annually. The ad-free plan costs $15 monthly or $150 per year.

You can watch The Staircase for free when you sign up for a new subscription to Hulu. After that, the monthly cost is $7 for the plan with ads or $13 for the plan without ads, plus an extra $15 each month if you want HBO Max.

Check out the trailer below!

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