The Staircase Poster

The Staircase (2004)

Documentary | Drama 
Rayting:   7.9/10 23K votes
Country: France
Language: English

The high profile murder trial of American novelist Michael Peterson following the death of his wife in 2001.

Episode Guide

Best The Staircase Episodes

Top 20 (Ranked)

May 12, 2022star8.9 86 votesS1E4 Common Sense
October 28, 2004star8.1 401 votesS1E8 The Verdict
May 5, 2022star8.1 208 votesS1E2 Chiroptera
May 5, 2022star8.1 208 votesS1E2 Chiroptera
January 30, 2013star7.8 340 votesS1E10 The Last Chance
June 8, 2018star7.7 317 votesS1E13 Flawed Justice
May 5, 2022star7.7 267 votesS1E1 911
May 5, 2022star7.7 267 votesS1E1 911
May 5, 2022star7.7 158 votesS1E3 The Great Dissembler
October 21, 2004star7.6 395 votesS1E5 A Weak Case
October 28, 2004star7.6 386 votesS1E7 The Blow Poke Returns
October 14, 2004star7.5 402 votesS1E4 A Prosecution Trickery
October 21, 2004star7.5 388 votesS1E6 The Prosecution's Revenge
January 30, 2013star7.5 335 votesS1E9 Reopening the Case
October 7, 2004star7.4 493 votesS1E1 Crime or Accident?
October 7, 2004star7.4 446 votesS1E2 Secrets and Lies
October 14, 2004star7.4 431 votesS1E3 A Striking Coincidence
June 8, 2018star7.3 321 votesS1E11 Looking for Closure
June 8, 2018star7.3 302 votesS1E12 Between Anger and Despair
May 19, 2022star0.0 0 votesS1E5 The Beating Heart

The Staircase Trailer

User Reviews

Calicodreamin 26 November 2019

The staircase is a documentary on the story of Michael Peterson as he is put on trial for the alleged murder of his wife. The documentary takes you basically from day 1 through the entire trial, appeal, and final plea bargain. The subject matter is interesting, especially the main trial. But it's just way too long, it focuses on trivial conversations and interviews. The whole thing could have been streamlined into fewer episodes. I also felt it was one sided, mostly because all the film comes from the family.

anthonycohen-60451 27 November 2018

A good story kinda ruined by Netflix. Drags on for what seems like an eternity & i lost interest. I just ended up asking a friend how it ended.

smcgilli-2 11 June 2018

I wont go over the whole story here as many other have already done so. Yes, this is a tragic story and has some interesting twists. Yes, I feel that justice was not well served for this whole investigation and trial. However, this 13 episode series could have easily been edited down to 6 or 7 episodes. There is SO much fluff. There are SO many scenes that drag on or rehash the same info. The characters are just not that interesting to hear them go on and on. They even have drawn out scenes of cars parking or driving away or people walking...nothing going on. No drama. No storytelling. No point. It makes a slow story feel a LOT slower.

ksf-2 19 March 2022

It's quite well done. When the wife of a novelist dies from a fall, the police are not so sure it was accidental. The story of kathleen and michael peterson. Family members and friends being interviewed by the police, to see if there was a history of violence by the husband. As the investigation continues, we learn that michael had lovers on the side, which could be the motive for murder. Just how understanding was kathleen, the current wife? A few more tidbits about the case come out with each new episode. And so much sad violin music. Yeegods, make it stop. The first ep is a drag, but then things pick up. See details of the case at wikipedia dot org... has its own page. The miniseries from 2004, was re-released in 2018 with new episodes, since there were new developments. I see in imdb that there's a brand new version being released by hbo ... toni collette, colin firth.

andy-lowe-email 11 June 2018

If you want a more balanced and thorough examination of this murder and it's investigation listen to the BBC's 17-part podcast on the same subject: "Beyond Reasonable Doubt". During their research on the case they talk about their encounters with (and opinions of) these film-makers. And you'll be left in no doubt about Peterson's guilt or innocence.

castlekc4 16 June 2018

Why wasn't it ever put into question, the paternity of the adopted girls ? The one looks exactly like Peterson ! And all the talk about Kathleen " falling " in the stairway ... she certainly could have " fallen" after being beaten ..... it was a good presentation ... he's guilty as hell.

valis1949 18 April 2009

THE STAIRCASE is protracted and meticulous, yet a fascinating study of how a 'Dream Team' legal defense is organized and executed. In December of 2001 acclaimed author, Michael Peterson, was accused in the death of his wife, Kathleen. It was his contention that Kathleen slipped and fell on a staircase in their home after an evening of wine and relaxation, while the prosecution maintained that Mr. Peterson had bludgeoned his wife, and positioned the body to appear as an accident. Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the writer/director, has culled this account from more than six-hundred hours of taped documentation. Every aspect of the case is dissected and examined in great detail, and the viewer watches as each piece is crafted into the best possible case for the defense. The film demonstrates how expert witnesses are selected and coached so that the presentation to the jury becomes a calculated performance. The facts of a case are seen as nothing more than elements in a construction to portray the defendant in the most positive light. Truth is of secondary importance, and it is clear that in the American justice system, only the wealthy can receive anything approaching fairness. If you are a fan of The Courtroom Procedural, THE STAIRCASE is well worth your attention. Superb soundtrack by Jocelyn Pook.

johanna_pb 3 February 2021

Paterson tries to ride the wave of sympathy for unjustly convicted persons. Sorry, dude - even with this extremely biased, one-sided perspective your crocodile tears and tales of victimization are not convincing. I mean - you independently enlisted the film company! That's insane bias! I wasn't going to finish watching the series because *insert eye roll*, but I felt I needed all of the information if I was going to voice an opinion. The amount of egocentricity is astounding, so I suppose the "documentary" has that going for it. It's like a car wreck you can't turn away from... well, maybe a fender bender? I love true crime - the evidence-based ones finding the criminals, the exonerating of innocent convicts, and anything in between. I also have a high standard for integrity (no matter which side), and Peterson's manipulative tactics fall severely short of that bar.

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