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The Staircase Murders (2007)

After calling 911 to report his wife's accident, successful novelist and aspiring politician, Michael Peterson, becomes the prime suspect in her alleged murder.



, (based on the book "A Perfect Husband")


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Rudolf
Caitlin Atwater
Todd Peterson (as Brandon Olive)
Margaret Peterson
D. A. Jim Hardin
Detective Castell
Kate Donadio ...
Kathleen Peterson
Martha (as Stephanie Honore)
Bill Peterson
Clayton Peterson
Candace Zamperini
Melinda Walsh ...
Patty Peterson
Lisha Brock ...
Freda Black


When Michael Iver Peterson, a successful novelist and aspiring politician in Durham, North Carolina, finds his wife Kathleen's body on the staircase, bloody but still breathing, he calls 911 in panic. His son Todd confirms his parents were in true love, would never harm each-other. However the police, notably Detective Joe Castel, and D. A. Jim Hardin, holding a grudge for a column the author once wrote against the incompetent force, disbelieve their postulation she fell from the stairs, notably because her blood was found very high. Adoring step-daughter Caitlin, who privately shows suspicious pleasure in the jewelry inheritance and is named executor of Kathleen's estate, was all night at her Cornell sorority. The female coroner excludes her trainee's preliminary theory of a fall, bluntly stating multiple blows and at least two hours painful death-struggle. Wine - and blood traces suggest Michael may have staged her having drunk too much wine and tried to wipe her blood. The family ... Written by KGF Vissers

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15 April 2007 (USA)  »

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The Staircase  »

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User Reviews

30 August 2009 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

I have never heard of this case, read the novel, watched the Sundance film that I understand, and believe to be, far superior to this, nor did I know of the existence of any of the aforementioned until earlier today, when I spotted this in the listings. Phew. Did you catch all that? I figured I'd give this a chance, and when the first few minutes of it revealed Treat Williams in the lead, I certainly felt confident that it would be worth the time. This deals with the case of a man who may or may not have pushed his wife down the stairs. The plot isn't bad, and it definitely develops plenty throughout. Pacing is reasonable. The mystery is genuinely interesting, and the many twists and turns kept me guessing from first to last frame. Acting varies, but I didn't find any performances to be downright poor. Cinematography and editing were surprisingly great, for a made-for-TV flick. I kind of agree with those that express the opinion that this sensationalizes something that really happened, and that that's not in good taste. There is blood, violence, disturbing content and, in the dialog, sexual material, in this. I recommend this to those that find themselves attracted to it. 6/10

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