For fans of Making A Murderer and Wild Wild Country, Netflix has a new documentary on the way for you to devour.
The Staircase will focus on the real-life case of Michael Peterson, a wealthy crime novelist accused of killing his wife Kathleen back in 2001, after she was found dead at the bottom the stairs in their North Carolina mansion.
Of course, the story gets much more complicated than that. While Michael claimed his wife of four years fell down while drunk, questions about Michael’s fidelity, along with a similar death he was connected to in the 80’s – in which a friend of his was also found dead at the foot of a staircase – put him under suspicion. Kathleen also had a $1.5 million life insurance policy.
Medical examiners concluded Kathleen died from repeated blows to the head with a fire poker – but the weapon was never found. Michael was charged with murder but maintained he was innocent entering a plea of not guilty when the trial began. The court case got huge media attention in the US as salacious details about Michael’s private life were uncovered in the witness stand.
The Staircase is produced and directed by Oscar-winning French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, who trailed Michael (now 74 years old), his family and his defence team from the start of the case, capturing over 600 hours of footage. It includes interviews with the jurors on the trial, too, detailing how they came to their verdict.
Tipped to be the next talking-point TV sensation, the 13-part series will dissect every detail of the case and subsequent 16 year legal battle, including an outlandish theory about a dangerous owl, claims of evidence-tampering, and a bizarre legal loophole called the Alford Plea. Expect plenty of surprise twists and turns.
All 13 episodes of The Staircase will stream on Netflix from June 8.