Family is all we have in this world, as real-life convicted murderer Michael Peterson (Colin Firth) warns in a new limited series.
The first trailer for HBO Max’s “The Staircase,” which premieres Thursday, May 5, revealed the lengths to which Michael went to avoid investigation for the murder of his wife, Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette).
Based on Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s true crime docuseries of the same name that spanned from 2004 to 2018, limited series “The Staircase” is created by Antonio Campos and follows the events of December 9, 2001 in the Petersons’ Durham, North Carolina home. Kathleen was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in their mansion. Her husband, Marine Corps veteran Michael, was a novelist, newspaper columnist, and mayoral candidate when he was convicted of Kathleen’s murder in 2003.
Prosecutors argued Michael bludgeoned his wife to death; he claimed she fell after consuming alcohol and Valium. However, an autopsy concluded Kathleen died from multiple injuries, including blows to the back of her head with a blunt object. Michael spent years in prison before his conviction was overturned. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to the killing with a manslaughter charge and walked free with time served.
The eight episode Max Original limited series debuts on May 5 with the first three episodes, followed by one new episode each week through June 9.
Rosemarie DeWitt stars as Kathleen’s sister, Candace Zamperini; this will be the second time DeWitt and Collette play siblings, following “The United States of Tara.” Sophie Turner, Dane DeHaan, and Patrick Schwarzenegger portray the Petersons’ children, and Michael Stuhlbarg and Parker Posey star as attorneys.
Juliette Binoche, Olivia DeJonge, Tim Guinee, Vincent Vermignon, and Odessa Young also star.
The original documentary won a Peabody Award in 2005, with later episodic installments updated throughout revelations in the Peterson case. The full docuseries is available to stream on Netflix.
“The Staircase” is co-produced by Annapurna Television. Written and executive produced by Antonio Campos and Maggie Cohn, who also serve as showrunners. Campos directed six episodes and Leigh Janiak directed two episodes.
Check out the chilling first teaser trailer for the series below.
“The Staircase” premieres Thursday, May 5 on HBO Max.