The Staircase Murders (2007 TV Movie)
- Summaries (2)
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 is banned from the house, all his research etc. confiscated. After star lawyer David Rudolf accepts his defense, and gets prizewinner Erica's TV crew to include his case in its critical story on the U.S. justice system, the press recalls he probably lost the mayoral election because his claim to have been awarded two Purple Hearts was refuted by the military. Michael must admit he is a bisexual who picked up men at the gym. Caitlin moves in with Kathleen's sister Candace, who claims she would never have allowed that, while the rest of the family sides with dad who claims Kathleen knew and understood; when he passes on bills for funerary arrangements Caitlin made behind his back, she bitches Kathleen never actually signed her $1,4 million life insurance. Michael's lawyer also investigates the death of his other adoptive daughters' mother Elisabeth Ratliff, wife of an army mate of his in Germany (while he was married to Patty, who still loves him as father of her children), also fallen from a staircase, both she had a blood disease; after an autopsy, Michael is charged with a second murder and put on trial. The defense does a great job concerning forensics, especially the lack of a murder weapon and of any markings on the alleged one (a blow pipe for the fire place), and credibility of hostile witnesses...
After calling 911 to report his wife's accident, successful novelist and aspiring politician, Michael Peterson, becomes the prime suspect in her alleged murder.
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