Type: Documentary Series (Sundance Doc Club)
Release Date: 2004
Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
Duration: 8 episodes (approx 48 minute each)
My Rating: 9/10
Overview: Sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction when a North Carolina novelist is put on trial for the murder of his beloved wife. Michael Peterson is accused of bludgeoning his wife, Kathleen, to death, while Mike says his late wife had a horrible accident and fell down the stairs.
Take one part of The Jinx, two servings of Making a Murderer and a teaspoon of Serial and you'll get, The Staircase.
What I loved: I'm going to go ahead and say it, I liked The Staircase more than Making a Murderer. I believe Michael Peterson is more intelligent and relatable than Steven Avery, so I was more drawn into the story. I binged the whole series in one weekend, it was that addicting.
I loved all the visual elements intertwined with the documentary. There was actual crime scene footage, press conferences, trial footage, a deep insight into the trial preparation, reenactments, and so much more.
The documentary follows Mike and his family during the pre-trial preparation and during the actual trial. You get to meet almost his entire family and see the inside of his house and the infamous staircase.
There are shocking twists and turns around every corner and you'll certainly want to yell at your TV in "Making a Murderer" like fashion.
Michael Peterson, as a person, is a story in of itself. He is a an author of fictional war pieces and also wrote for the Durham, North Carolina paper. He has a loving family and is incredibly smart. When Mike gets emotional during the series, I couldn't help but cry too. Either he's a damn good actor, or he's an innocent man. He also sees the world how it actually is and is aware of the corruption within police departments and our Justice System.
The best part of the documentary was Mike describing this corruption and explained how trials are basically a pissing match between the prosecution and defense. And during this process, the facts of the matter are often overlooked.
"Truth is lost in all this now. Truth is of no meaning whatsoever."
What I didn't: There were only a few missing pieces in this doc, in my opinion. I would have liked to learn more about Kathleen. Where did she grow up, how did she become a successful business woman, etc. Also, I was curious to know what the Peterson's net worth is between the two.
In addition to more info about Kathleen, I would have also liked to see more interviews with non-biased people regarding the case. The Peterson family was interviewed and Kathleen's family was shown, but not many un-biased people were included.
There are also some graphic scenes, adult language and material in the documentary.
HOW TO WATCH: You can watch the first episode for free on Sundance's Doc Club website. After watching the first episode, you'll have to sign up for a free month trial. Don't be discouraged though, it's worth it. I might even keep my subscription after the free trial is over!