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"The Staircase" (2004) More at IMDbPro »"Soupçons" (original title), TV mini-series 2004-


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Release Date:
June 2004 (USA) See more »
Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, presents a gripping courtroom thriller... See more »
Plot Keywords:
2 wins See more »
(2 articles)
The Daily Beast: "At the Bottom of The Staircase"
 (From Televisionary. 4 March 2013, 9:23 AM, PST)

TV highlights 04/02/2013
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 3 February 2013, 4:05 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Morality on trial in compelling documentary See more (19 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 2 of 21)
Ron Guerette ... Himself (8 episodes, 2004)
David Saacks ... Himself (2 episodes, 2004)

Series Directed by
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (unknown episodes)
Series Writing credits
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (unknown episodes)

Series Produced by
Allyson Luchak .... producer (unknown episodes)
Denis Poncet .... executive producer (unknown episodes)
Series Original Music by
Joel Goodman (unknown episodes)
Jocelyn Pook (unknown episodes)
Series Cinematography by
Pierre Milon (unknown episodes)
Isabelle Razavet (unknown episodes)
Series Film Editing by
Jean-Pierre Bloc (unknown episodes)
Sophie Brunet (unknown episodes)
Adam Lichtenstein (unknown episodes)
Scott Stevenson (unknown episodes)
Series Art Department
Sonda L. Rowland .... painter (unknown episodes, 2007)
Series Sound Department
Benoit Degornet .... dialogue recordist (8 episodes, 2004)

Christophe Moreno .... sound mixer (unknown episodes, 2004)
Anne-Laure François .... sound mixer (unknown episodes)
Tristan Jaoul .... sound editor (unknown episodes)
Sébastien Wera .... sound editor (unknown episodes)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade .... cinematographer: additional scenes (unknown episodes)
Series Editorial Department
Eric Heinrich .... color timer (8 episodes, 2004)

Christian Riffard .... post-production coordinator (unknown episodes, 2004)
Series Other crew
Mathias Farrugia .... subtitler: French (4 episodes, 2004)
Series Thanks
Christian Riffard .... thanks (unknown episodes)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Soupçons" - France (original title)
See more »
France:360 min (8 parts)
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Mike Nifong, the DA involved in the Duke Lacrosse case, appears as an assistant DA in this documentary.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Girls: Daddy Issues (#4.9)" (2015)See more »


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20 out of 39 people found the following review useful.
Morality on trial in compelling documentary, 15 January 2005
Author: Libretio


Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Sound format: Stereo

(8 episodes)

Documentary following the trial of author Michael Peterson, accused of murdering his wife in their North Carolina home in December 2001.

Acclaimed for his Oscar-winning documentary "Murder on a Sunday Morning" (2001), filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade consolidated the success of that earlier feature with DEATH ON THE STAIRCASE, a multi-episode TV miniseries which traces a major crime from initial discovery to trial verdict. Told almost exclusively from the defence team's point of view, de Lestrade's film highlights an accumulation of evidence which - on the face of it - appears to 'prove' the victim died by accident rather than design, despite horrific crime scene photographs. Alternately, the prosecution team - which didn't extend the same level of co-operation to de Lestrade and his crew - is depicted as a high-powered cabal, prepared to use any underhand method (including the exploitation of Peterson's bisexuality in a prejudicial manner) to convict their man, regardless of his guilt or innocence.

As old secrets come tumbling out of the defendant's closet, drawing his immediate family closer together, de Lestrade makes brief - but telling - detours into the lives of the victim's ultra-conservative sisters, both of whom appear to have become convinced of Peterson's guilt as soon as his bisexuality came to light; their disgust is palpable, their hatred even moreso, and their attitude speaks volumes about the issues which dominate this tragic saga. The film is much too long, but compelling nonetheless, and it provides a valuable insight into the workings of America's criminal justice system. Previewed at various film/TV festivals under the English title THE STAIRCASE.

(English soundtrack)

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