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The Staircase 

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TV-MA | | Documentary, Crime, Drama | TV Series (2004– )
2:24 | Trailer

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The high-profile murder trial of American novelist Michael Peterson following the death of his wife in 2001.
1,786 ( 44)




2018   2013   2004  
2 wins. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
Michael Peterson ...  Himself 8 episodes, 2004
David Rudolf ...  Himself 8 episodes, 2004
Ron Guerette ...  Himself 8 episodes, 2004
Tom Maher ...  Himself - Defense Attorney 8 episodes, 2004
Bill Peterson ...  Himself 8 episodes, 2004
Freda Black ...  Herself 7 episodes, 2004
Jim Hardin ...  Himself 7 episodes, 2004
Arthur Holland ...  Himself 7 episodes, 2004
Todd Peterson ...  Himself 7 episodes, 2004
Margaret Ratliff ...  Herself 7 episodes, 2004
Martha Ratliff ...  Herself 7 episodes, 2004
Clayton Peterson ...  Himself 6 episodes, 2004
Patricia Peterson ...  Herself 6 episodes, 2004
Caitlin Atwater ...  Herself 6 episodes, 2004
Bettye Blackwell Bettye Blackwell ...  Herself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Lori Campbell ...  Herself - Kathleen Peterson's Sister 5 episodes, 2004
Kellie Colgan ...  Herself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Margie Fargo ...  Herself - Jury Expert 5 episodes, 2004
Shirley Ferrell Shirley Ferrell ...  Herself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Charlene Gill Charlene Gill ...  Herself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Keith Hall ...  Himself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Paul Harrison Paul Harrison ...  Himself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Orlando Hudson ...  Himself 5 episodes, 2004
Kristen Lyon Jones Kristen Lyon Jones ...  Herself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Ann Pennington Ann Pennington ...  Herself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Tonia Rogers Tonia Rogers ...  Herself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
David Saacks ...  Himself / ... 5 episodes, 2004
Richard Sarratt Richard Sarratt ...  Himself - Juror 5 episodes, 2004
Julia Sims ...  Herself / ... 5 episodes, 2004
Kerry Sutton ...  Herself 5 episodes, 2004
Henry Lee ...  Himself 4 episodes, 2004
Candace Zamperini ...  Herself 4 episodes, 2004


Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, presents a gripping courtroom thriller, offering a rare and revealing inside look at a high-profile murder trial. In 2001, author Michael Peterson was arraigned for the murder of his wife Kathleen, whose body was discovered lying in a pool of blood on the stairway of their home. Granted unusual access to Peterson's lawyers, home and immediate family, de Lestrade's cameras capture the defense team as it considers its strategic options. "The staircase" is an engrossing look at contemporary American justice that features more twists than a legal bestseller. Written by Julie Pouillon

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Did He Do It?


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Release Date:

June 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Staircase See more »

Filming Locations:

Durham, North Carolina, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(entire series)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mike Nifong, the DA involved in the Duke Lacrosse case, appears as an assistant DA in this documentary. See more »

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User Reviews

Worth watching
17 June 2018 | by bikash-20802See all my reviews

Reading all these reviews after I finished watching the show what I realized is that most people don't realize what the criminal justice system should be all about. It's not about deciding if Peterson is innocent or not. It is also not about what your common sense tells you about what happened. Any person who is charged with something is "not guilty" unless proven "guilty" beyond reasonable doubts. And in this particular case it was prosecutors burden to prove that. The only thing which is begging us to give attention in this series is the broken criminal justice system and the fact that the DA will go any length to put someone behind the bars. This guy had some money so he could fight against it whether he killed his wife or not. But think about this possibility: you're poor and your wife died by an accident and they think you murdered her. So they will do whatever is there to do to put you away for good. And you cannot do anything about it because you are poor. The justice system is biased and rigged against the poor. Whether we think OJ or Peterson killed their wives doesn't mean anything. The prosecutors have to prove beyond reasonable doubts that they are guilty without masterminding the evidence and/or bringing prejudicial matters as evidence. The judge was not wise enough to stop that in Petersons case which he should have stopped. It's not like we can execute some innocent people for the sake of executing a lot of guilty people. If you are not proven guilty then you are not guilty and that's the bottom line. Just because something goes along smoothly according to our common sense doesn't make them right. You have to produce evidence what matters. I agree what David said in one episode, "the absence of evidence is not same as evidence of absence". No one knows if he killed his wife except himself until you can prove otherwise by the evidence of presence. If the prosecutors went for the DNA in her clothing straight forward maybe they would have better case against him rather than fabricating with the evidence. True they could have brought some more perspectives from the prosecutors side. It would have been really interesting to see their reaction after the Deaver things came out. But overall it's an average crime documentary with not very high quality. I'll put a 8 star and encourage you to watch it if you have some time to spare.

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