June 10, 2018

"The Staircase" Returns on Netflix @netflix @The_Staircase

The remarkable 8 part 2005 documentary The Staircase, which first aired in 2005, has gotten an update and has returned to Netflix as a 13 parter. Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's examination of TV executive Kathleen Peterson's death, and the subsequent trial of her husband, novelist Michael Peterson, for that death, continues to fascinate.

Mr. Lestrade's work has influenced newer looks at true crime, such as Making a Murderer. The Staircase is a chance to see the beginnings of the serial documentary movement.  More here from the New York Times.

More about the background of the case and the film here from The Cut,  Esquire. More about Mr. Peterson's life after the trial and conviction (he took an Alford plea in 2017) here.

If you want to compare tragedy and comedy, try out Trial and Error, the comedy legal series starring John Lithgow and Nicholas D'Agosto. Lithgow is poetry professor Larry Henderson, accused of killing his wife; D'Agosto is the hapless lawyer hired to defend him. The plot reflects the Peterson case, but it adds in a number of familiar legal show tropes (attraction between the defense attorney and the prosector, an eccentric but capable private investigator). More here from the New Yorker.

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