This week on Netflix catch-up, I’m playing catch-up on real-life crime series, The Staircase. The show is similar to Making a Murderer, The Keepers and The Jinx and presents an ongoing account of a murder case, including all the twists and turns that go along with it.
The Staircase follows the case and subsequent trial(s) of novelist Michael Peterson, a man accused of murdering his wife, Kathleen. Originally produced as three separate series’, Netflix has all 13 episodes of The Staircase to stream and I’m currently up to episode 12.
While I find programmes such as The Staircase, Making a Murderer, The Jinx et al fascinating to watch, I must admit that I feel uncomfortable describing this as a ‘show’. Doing so somehow seems to make it seem like a scripted drama, which I suppose in some respects it is, but it’s also a real-life account where someone died.
That said, I believe shows like this can offer contrasting viewpoints and are important for opening up a wider discussion on crime, punishment and the overall justice system. For that reason, while I don’t want to cheapen the events depicted in the show, I do have to say this programme is, in my opinion, must-watch television.
Does that make sense?
Anyway, as noted above I’m currently up to episode 12 of The Staircase and I am truly captivated by this series. As with Netflix’s other big crime series, Making a Murderer, I feel like I’ve run the gambit with this case, trying to figure out exactly what happened the night Kathleen Peterson died.
For those who have yet to watch the show, I don’t want to go into the specifics of the case as I feel it is a series that is best viewed with as little knowledge as possible. What I would say is that it makes me question the evidence that is presented, as well as my own preconceptions and my own judgement.
As The Staircase spans the course of many years, I wonder if my opinion changes because new wrinkles are uncovered, or if the passage of time effects the way I see things. For example, Michael Peterson was in his late 50s at the time of his wife’s death and he was in good health, but by the end of the series he’s in his mid 70s and the guy we see looks like he wouldn’t be capable of anything untoward.
Do I change my opinion because I see a person who, time wise, is now removed from the events of that night? Or do I change my opinion because new information has come to light? At this stage, I don’t know.
Ultimately, The Staircase is a series which needs to be watched, digested and discussed. I aim to finish it off tonight, but I have a feeling that even when I finish this series, the story is far from over.
The Staircase is currently available to stream on Netflix.