7.8
428 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 Worst Episodes of The Staircase

The Staircase - S1E1

#1 - Chapter 1: Crime or Accident?

7.28

Season 1 - Episode 1

Michael Peterson recalls the night of December 9, 2001, which began with dinner, wine and a rented movie, and ended with his wife Kathleen’s death. After Peterson is charged with murder, his attorney David Rudolf begins working with the investigators and experts who will be critical to Peterson’s defense.

The episode was rated #1 Worst episode of The Staircase from 271 votes.

The Staircase - S1E2

#2 - Chapter 2: Secrets and Lies

7.30

Season 1 - Episode 2

Shocking revelations about Michael Peterson’s private life pose new issues for his defense team, as it becomes clear that the prosecution will use these details to torpedo characterizations of the Peterson marriage as idyllic. Peterson discusses the culture and politics of Durham, subjects he frequently addressed when he was writing a local newspaper column.

The episode was rated #2 Worst episode of The Staircase from 198 votes.

The Staircase - S1E3

#3 - Chapter 3: A Striking Coincidence

7.30

Season 1 - Episode 3

In the spring of 2002, the case takes another surprising turn when prosecutors turn their attention to the 1985 death of Elizabeth Ratliff, a military widow who was found dead at the bottom of the stairs of her home in Germany. The last person to have seen Ratliff alive is believed to have been her close friend and neighbor, Michael Peterson. Peterson subsequently adopted Ratliff’s two daughters, who must now deal with new accusations against the man who raised them.

The episode was rated #3 Worst episode of The Staircase from 188 votes.

The Staircase - S1E4

#4 - Chapter 4: A Prosecution Trickery

7.38

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 #4 Worst episode of The Staircase from 175 votes.

The Staircase - S1E12

#5 - Chapter 12: Between Anger and Despair

7.38

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 #5 Worst episode of The Staircase from 125 votes.

The Staircase - S1E11

#6 - Chapter 11: Looking for Closure

7.44

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 #6 Worst episode of The Staircase from 124 votes.

The Staircase - S1E6

#7 - Chapter 6: The Prosecution's Revenge

7.45

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 #7 Worst episode of The Staircase from 175 votes.

The Staircase - S1E13

#8 - Chapter 13: Flawed Justice

7.52

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 #8 Worst episode of The Staircase from 132 votes.

The Staircase - S1E5

#9 - Chapter 5: A Weak Case

7.57

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 #9 Worst episode of The Staircase from 183 votes.

The Staircase - S1E10

#10 - Chapter 10: The Last Chance

7.58

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 #10 Worst episode of The Staircase from 138 votes.

The Staircase - S1E9
#11 - Chapter 9: Reopening the Case
7.60
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 #1 Worst episode of The Staircase from 134 votes.

#12 - Chapter 7: The Blowpoke Returns
7.65
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 #2 Worst episode of The Staircase from 174 votes.

#13 - Chapter 8: The Verdict
7.83
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 #3 Worst episode of The Staircase from 186 votes.

Last updated: feb 16, 2021

Comments

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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]

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

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great show, well worth watching

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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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