How to watch The Staircase – what’s it about?

Murder-mystery meets documentary in this popular true crime offering

Michael Peterson in the original The Staircase docu-series

The Staircase is a documentary series telling the story of the suspicious circumstances surrounding Kathleen Peterson’s death, the trial, and the ultimate conviction of her husband, Michael Peterson.


Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s filming crews were given exceptional access, interviewing Michael Peterson’s family and defence attorneys. The resulting original series was ten episodes long, first airing in France in 2004. BBC Four showed the original episodes in 2005 and Netflix have since followed up on the series, producing another three episodes which were released in June 2018.

Where can I watch The Staircase?

The Staircase is available in its entirety on Netflix.

What is The Staircase about?

Created by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the mini-series follows the trial of North Carolina novelist, Michael Peterson, who called police to his house after finding his wife dead at the bottom of the stairs.

Peterson told the authorities that his wife had fallen while drunk but their disbelief led to a murder charge and Peterson’s trial. The documentary sees key moments re-constructed and contains interviews with family members and an array of key players.

Who are the main figures in The Staircase?

Central to the plot are Michael Peterson, his late wife, Kathleen, and their children. Also key is defence lawyer David Rudolf. 

How many episodes of The Staircase are there?

In total there are 13 episodes of The Staircase, including those by the original broadcaster and the Netflix follow-up episodes.

Will there be another season of The Staircase?

No. The show’s creator, De Lestrade, told Digital Spy: “Now, the judge has given the final answer, and nobody can come back to that. So that’s the end of the process for us, to shoot. Sometimes I wish that some other step could be introduced in the court room that we could shoot. But it was not. So yes, it’s finished.”

What else can I read/watch?

Written in Blood: innocent or guilty? by Dianne Fanning promises “an inside look” at the Michael Peterson case and is available on Amazon.

Or, if you’ve whet your appetite for more televised crime documentaries, Making a Murderer has been one of Netflix’s biggest hits and will appeal to fans of The Staircase.


Is there a trailer for The Staircase?

Yes, you can watch it below.