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Sky's New Crime Drama Series Is Based On Chilling Real Life Case

Gregory Robinson

| Last updated 

Sky's New Crime Drama Series Is Based On Chilling Real Life Case

Featured Image Credit: Sky Atlantic/Netflix

A drama series starring Toni Collette and Colin Firth and based on an unsettling real life murder case will debut on Sky Atlantic tonight.

Watch the trailer below:


The Staircase is an eight-part true crime series about Michael Peterson, a crime novelist convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen, whose body was found at the bottom of the staircase of their home.

The series is inspired by the Michael Peterson trial in which the author was charged with bludgeoning his wife to death in 2001.

On 9th December 2001, Peterson contacted emergency services to report he had found his wife unconscious in their home in Forest Hills, North Carolina.

Kathleen Peterson died in 2001. (Credit: Netflix)
Kathleen Peterson died in 2001. (Credit: Netflix)

He said he believed his wife fell down the stairs after consuming alcohol and Valium while he was outside by the pool on their property.

The autopsy report found a multiple injuries, including lacerations to the top and back of her head.

Peterson was found guilty of his wife’s murder and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in October 2003.

In 2017 he submitted an Alford plea to the reduced charge of manslaughter and the judge sentenced him to time already served and he was freed.

Colin Firth and Toni Collette star in The Staircase. (Credit: HBO Max/Sky Atlantic)
Colin Firth and Toni Collette star in The Staircase. (Credit: HBO Max/Sky Atlantic)

Peterson has always maintained his innocence and in 2019 he released his own account in his memoir Behind the Staircase.

The case, Peterson’s trial and his eventual Alford plea were featured in a documentary series titled The Staircase in 2004 for the French channel Canal+.

The filmmakers returned to film Peterson and his family as well as new developments in the case between 2012 and 2013. Three new episodes were produced, and the entire series dropped on Netflix in 2018.

The scripted series started development back in 2008 as a passion project for screenwriter Antonio Campos.

Michael Peterson in 2011. (Credit: Alamy)
Michael Peterson in 2011. (Credit: Alamy)

The project went into pre-production in 2019 and HBO Max landed the series the following year. Sky Atlantic will broadcast the series in the UK.

Harrison Ford was originally set to star in the series before Colin Firth replaced him in the role of Peterson prior to filming.

The cast also includes Rosemarie DeWitt, Juliette Binoche, Parker Posey, Sophie Turner, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Dane DeHaan and Olivia DeJonge.

The series has received positive reviews from critics, with a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

This is not one to miss for true crime fans!

The Staircase starts Thursday 5th May at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

Topics: TV And Film, True Crime, Sky

Gregory Robinson
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