The Staircase is the addictive true-crime docu-series about Michael Peterson, a crime novelist accused of killing his wife after she’s found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their home in 2001.
Peterson claimed the missus slipped and fell, but her injuries — multiple head lacerations — weren’t consistent with those from a fall down the stairs. Peterson was arrested and what ensued was an exhausting judicial battle that lasted nearly 15 years.
The first eight eps were shown in the US in 2005, followed by two more eps in 2011. And when Netflix acquired the series, it added three more eps that deal with the judicial hearings which happened in 2016.
I won’t reveal the outcome of the trial except that it’s one helluva real-life courtroom thriller filled with twists (holy cow, he’s bisexual!), turns (OMG, he has a close female friend who died the same way many moons ago!) and shocking revelations (egad, dubious crime-scene investigation procedures!).
Even if I do reveal it, there are still lots of hair-pulling questions left unanswered. (What and who exactly caused the fatal injuries? ) Like Making a Murderer, The Staircase offers an intriguing look at how the American legal system works, except the wrongfully accused here is rich and can afford the best defense money can buy, which includes paying for a mock jury and getting renowned forensic scientist Henry Lee to consult on the case.
But when his wealth is depleted, he realises the futility of the cause. “When the [District Attorney] and police made up their minds [to convict you], they are not going to back up,” says a beaten Peterson towards the end of the series. If you were the juror, how would you find Peterson?
Watch it on: Netflix