HBO has a new true crime series arriving this year, and it’s one that’s got us very intrigued with its premise. The Staircase is based off a 2004 French documentary of the same name, and stars Colin Firth and Toni Collette. It tells the story of a woman who was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in her house, apparently murdered by her husband- despite his claims to the contrary. The original documentary series was already acclaimed, and given the talent attached, we have a feeling this adaptation will be a great new show to binge upon release.

2004’s The Staircase, also known as Death on the Staircase, was released in France and later other countries to acclaim and keen interest. It explores how in 2001 Kathleen Peterson was found dead by her husband, author Michael Peterson, having fallen down a set of stairs at their home in Forest Hills North Carolina. Police and authorities however doubted Michael’s version of events, that she had fallen after consuming alcohol and Valium, and concluded that he had murdered his wife by blunt force.

Peterson was then charged with murder...

Peterson was then charged with murder, and the original documentary followed his trial. The series was later expanded by creator Jean-Xavier de Lestrade in another film, and this 2018 update was released by Netflix as three more parts to the original. This new series takes things one step further, by adapting and dramatising the events of this often strange and disturbing murder case.

While we won’t go into all the details here for spoiler reasons, part of what makes the story so fascinating (and will hopefully translate to the new adaptation) is what is uncovered in the hearings relating to the couple’s background and history, as well as some of the bizarre theories that came out of the murder trial- such as one claiming Kathleen was in fact pushed down the stairs by a rogue owl that flew through the window.

While you probably won’t see the owl theory recreated  on screen, the new HBO series is likely to be a gripping watch, not only due to the nature and events of the murder and trial, but also due to the talent on camera. Most notable is Colin Firth, who stars as Michael Peterson, and Toni Colette as Kathleen. Also starring are Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner and Chronicle‘s Dane Dehaan, as well as Trini Avaraldo as Peterson’s ex wife.

The show’s trailer was released recently, showing the difference in style and approach from the docuseries, along with its synopsis: “Based on a true story, The Staircase explores the life of Michael Peterson his sprawling North Carolina family, and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson.” Everything points to a great adaptation of an already great documentary, so expectations are high.

The Staircase will arrive in the UK on Sky and Now’s streaming services, as with most other HBO Max Shows, on 5th May. In the meantime, you can watch the original Staircase docuseries, plus its additional parts, on Netflix if you want to get the full picture of the story.


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