HBO Max’s new drama miniseries The Staircase tells a gripping story concerning the lifetime of novelist Michael Peterson and the suspicious demise of his spouse Kathleen.
The series premiered May 5, and episode 7 arrived this week. If you are caught up, you might need questions on once we’ll get to don our true crime detective hats once more for episode 8, or what occurred in Peterson’s real-life trial. We’re right here with solutions.
Covered in books, podcasts and an acclaimed Netflix 2004 documentary with the identical identify because the HBO present, the high-profile 2001 case continues to spark debates and theories.
If you have not watched episodes 1 to 7 of HBO’s The Staircase, take be aware: There are some spoilers under.
When does episode 8 of The Staircase air?
The eighth and closing episode within the miniseries arrives on June 9.
How can I watch the documentary?
The 2004 documentary, additionally known as The Staircase, is streaming on Netflix. Directed by French documentarian Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, it originally aired as an eight-episode miniseries, however Netflix added two sequels from the director, in addition to three further follow-ups. Some consider it to be among the finest on the market.
The new HBO Max drama is directed by Antonio Campos, who started work on the challenge in 2008. The present is a co-production between HBO Max and Annapurna Television, and it is written and govt produced by Campos and Maggie Cohn.
How are the present and documentary associated?
Interestingly, the taking pictures of the 2004 Staircase documentary is part of the narrative in HBO Max’s new present, with actor Vincent Vermignon enjoying documentary director de Lestrade. We see the crew begin to movie Peterson in episode 2.
The HBO Max collection is not based mostly simply on materials from the documentary. It additionally attracts from books and stories on the case. However, viewers of the dramatized present and doc will spot similarities between the 2. For occasion, the testimony we hear in episode 4 from Kathleen’s sister Candice, Dr. Deborah Radisch, and others echoes what’s proven within the doc.
What occurred within the real-life case?
On Dec. 9, 2001, emergency workers found 48-year-old enterprise govt Kathleen Peterson lifeless on the backside of a staircase in her Durham, North Carolina, dwelling. Her husband, novelist Michael Peterson, informed 911 operators Kathleen had accidentally fallen down the steps. Still, he was charged with homicide before the month was up.
In an post-mortem report released in 2002, lead pathologist Deborah Radisch concluded Kathleen’s explanation for demise was because of “extreme concussive damage of the mind brought on by a number of blunt pressure impacts of the top. … The quantity, severity, places and orientation of those accidents are inconsistent with a fall down stairs; as a substitute they’re indicative of a number of impacts acquired on account of beating.”
The precise trial spanned three months in 2003, making it one of many longest trials ever in North Carolina. Prosecutors maintained Michael beat Kathleen to demise, and the protection maintained she unintentionally fell to her demise down a number of stairs. Michael’s intercourse life grew to become public during the trial. For extra info concerning the case, enterprise a bit farther down. (But bear in mind there are spoilers for the present).
Who are the primary characters in HBO Max’s The Staircase?
There are numerous characters on this new model of The Staircase. If you have been attempting to kind out who’s who in Michael and Kathleen’s large household, you are not alone.
Let’s begin with the children.
Sophie Turner and Odessa Young star as Margaret and Martha Ratliff, Michael Peterson’s real-life adopted daughters, who took his facet after Kathleen’s demise. Olivia DeJonge performs Caitlin Atwater, the real-life daughter of Kathleen Peterson and her former husband, Fred Atwater. Caitlin ultimately gave proof on the side of the prosecution.
Patrick Schwarzenegger and Dane DeHaan play Todd and Clayton Peterson, Michael’s real-life sons from his first marriage to Patricia Peterson.
Rosemarie DeWitt and Maria Dizzia play Kathleen’s real-life sisters, Candace Zamperini and Lori Campbell, and Tim Guinee performs Michael’s brother, Bill.
And in fact, Colin Firth is Michael, and Toni Collette is Kathleen on the present.
Who was Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Ratliff and how did she die?
At the tip of episode 3 of HBO Max’s The Staircase, we study a bit extra about Elizabeth “Liz” Ratliff’s demise. Here’s what we all know concerning the real-life occasions.
Elizabeth Ratliff, a household buddy of Michael Peterson and his first spouse, Patricia, died in 1985, simply two years after her husband, George.
An post-mortem concluded Elizabeth died from a cerebral hemorrhage. After Elizabeth’s demise, Michael and Patricia took in Ratliff’s two daughters, Martha and Margaret. When Michael moved in with Kathleen in 1989, Martha and Margaret went with him.
Before the beginning of Michael’s homicide trial, it was revealed that Elizabeth Ratliff, like Kathleen, had been discovered lifeless on the backside of a staircase. Prosecutors had Ratliff’s physique exhumed, and pathologist Deborah Radisch carried out an post-mortem in North Carolina (Radisch additionally performed Kathleen’s post-mortem). She concluded Ratliff’s explanation for demise was murder.
Big spoilers: Where is Michael Peterson now?
In 2003, a jury discovered Michael Peterson responsible of homicide after a three-month trial, and he acquired a sentence of life in jail. However, Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson (who oversaw the unique trial) granted Peterson a brand new trial in 2011 after he discovered blood splatter analyst Duane Deaver misled him and the jury. Peterson was launched from jail on bond.
Peterson’s official release got here in 2017 after he entered an Alford plea, which allowed him to plead guilty whereas sustaining his innocence. Today, he continues to dwell in Durham, in keeping with the Raleigh News and Observer.