461 votes
The Staircase

The Staircase

Canal+ 2005

Originally an 8-part, now a 13 part documentary series about the celebrated trial of Michael Peterson, a writer who is accused of murdering his wife, executive Kathleen Peterson, who was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their home.

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The 10 Best Episodes of The Staircase

The Staircase - S1E8

#1 - Chapter 8: The Verdict


Season 1 - Episode 8

The long trial reaches its conclusion and Michael Peterson learns his fate—at least, for the immediate future.

The episode was rated from 186 votes.

The Staircase - S1E7

#2 - Chapter 7: The Blowpoke Returns


Season 1 - Episode 7

The defense begins presenting its case, which relies heavily upon such experts as a biomechanical engineer and a prominent forensic scientist. But the outcome may finally come down to a stunning find by Michael Peterson’s oldest son.

The episode was rated from 174 votes.

The Staircase - S1E9

#3 - Chapter 9: Reopening the Case


Season 1 - Episode 9

Eight years later, the possibility that a key witness for the prosecution may have misled the jury could prompt the need for a new trial.

The episode was rated from 134 votes.

The Staircase - S1E10

#4 - Chapter 10: The Last Chance


Season 1 - Episode 10

After more experts testify about the questionable conclusions and claims of Duane Deaver, the judge rules on whether a new trial is necessary.

The episode was rated from 138 votes.

The Staircase - S1E5

#5 - Chapter 5: A Weak Case


Season 1 - Episode 5

District Attorney Jim Hardin lays out the prosecution’s case and calls witnesses to testify about three points of evidence: the amount of blood at the scene; Kathleen’s head lacerations; and the potential murder weapon, a fireplace tool called a blowpoke. Rudolf puts on a tough cross-examination.

The episode was rated from 183 votes.

The Staircase - S1E13
#6 - Chapter 13: Flawed Justice
Season 1 - Episode 13

Michael speaks to a reporter about the reasons behind his plea. Later, Kathleen's sister delivers a statement of defiance in court.

The episode was rated from 132 votes.
The Staircase - S1E6
#7 - Chapter 6: The Prosecution's Revenge
Season 1 - Episode 6

The court rules on key evidentiary issues, and the prosecution calls several witnesses who give emotionally charged testimony. Meanwhile, the trial is receiving extensive and often sensational coverage in the media.

The episode was rated from 175 votes.
The Staircase - S1E11
#8 - Chapter 11: Looking for Closure
Season 1 - Episode 11

Following two and a half years of house arrest, Michael must decide whether to push for a plea or risk his freedom with a new trial.

The episode was rated from 124 votes.
The Staircase - S1E12
#9 - Chapter 12: Between Anger and Despair
Season 1 - Episode 12

Their faith in the justice system forever shaken, Michael and his family discuss what they can hope to achieve by continuing the fight.

The episode was rated from 125 votes.
The Staircase - S1E4
#10 - Chapter 4: A Prosecution Trickery
Season 1 - Episode 4

The defense team is forced to contend with the prosecution’s latest bombshell concerning the death of Elizabeth Ratliff. In April 2003, there is a pre-trail hearing regarding evidence, a proceeding that ends with yet another twist. On July 1, 2003, the trial begins with opening statements.

The episode was rated from 175 votes.

Last updated: jun 16, 2021



A well-made documentary that follows Mike Peterson and his defense team. It is obviously biased toward them. However from what I could see it did show both the defense and the prosecutions facts and claims throughout the trial, therefore the viewer can still make up their own mind by looking at the facts. [spoiler]It is pretty clear, to me, that he did not kill his wife. I did even go into this thinking that he was guilty(without much knowledge of the case though) but there were no evidence that, for me, spoke to his guilt in any way or form. And then the absolute incompetence and ill will from the prosecution, police involved and forensic lab workers...?! Baffling.[/spoiler]


Absolutely gripping. A story of life, love, death, family, and justice. Made me cry and laugh.


great show, well worth watching


Norwegian Television NRK has this documentary available online for Norwegian viewers here... http://tv.nrk.no/program/koid20001213/mordet-i-trappen

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