The new drama miniseries The Staircase on HBO Max is a gripping story about a writer named Michael Peterson and how his wife Kathleen died mysteriously.
The first episode came out on May 5, and the seventh one came out this week. If you’re caught up, you might be wondering when episode 8 will come out or what happened at Peterson’s real trial. We’re here to help you.
The high-profile 2001 case has been written about in books, podcasts, and an acclaimed Netflix documentary from 2004 with the same name as the HBO show. It continues to be the subject of debates and theories.
If you haven’t seen episodes 1 through 7 of The Staircase on HBO, be aware of the spoilers below.
When Does Episode 8 Of The Staircase Air?
The eighth and final episode in the miniseries arrives on June 9.
Where To Watch Online?
The only place to watch The Staircase is on HBO Max. The streaming app will cost $14.99 a month in the US, and new users can try it for free for 30 days. Unfortunately, people in the UK can’t use HBO Max. But since most of the content on HBO Max is available through NOWTV, you can watch The Staircase with a £9.99 NOW Entertainment membership.
What To Expect?
Even though this is a true story and most of the audience, like me, will know how it ends, The Staircase does a great job of telling the story so that people can’t wait to find out what happens next. Here are some things that could happen in the last episode of the season:
Michael will get to see Caitlin in at least one scene, but it won’t be a happy reunion.
The Peterson family will be ripped apart in a big way. Some family members may stay by Michael’s side, but others will leave the family and the scandal that is still going on.
There will be a love story between Michael and Sophie.
Based on how episode seven ended, I think we’ll see more of Michael’s cruel side. And that might mean showing him how to plan Katherine’s death to make money.
But I think that, like the series as a whole, the finale will end in a way that leaves open the question of why Katherine died.
How Can I watch The Documentary?
The documentary from 2004, also called The Staircase, is available on Netflix. It was directed by French documentary filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and first aired as an eight-part miniseries. Netflix then added two more episodes from the director and three more from other people. Some people think it’s one of the best documentaries about real crimes.
Antonio Campos, who has been working on the project since 2008, is in charge of the new HBO Max drama. The show is a collaboration between HBO Max and Annapurna Television. Campos and Maggie Cohn wrote and are in charge of the show.
How Are The Show And Documentary Related?
In an interesting twist, HBO Max’s new show is about making the 2004 documentary Staircase, and Vincent Vermignon plays the documentary director de Lestrade. In episode 2, we see the crew start to film Peterson.
The HBO Max show is not just based on what was in the documentary. It uses books and reports about the case as well. But people who watch both the dramatized show and the documentary will notice that they are alike in some ways. For example, what we hear from Kathleen’s sister Candice, Dr. Deborah Radisch, and others in episode 4 is similar to what we see in the documentary.
What Happened In The Real-Life Case?
Kathleen Peterson, a business executive, was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her Durham, North Carolina, home on December 9, 2001. She was 48 years old. Her husband, the author Michael Peterson, called 911 and said that Kathleen had fallen down the stairs by accident. Still, before the end of the month, he was charged with murder.
In an autopsy report from 2002, lead pathologist Deborah Radisch said that Kathleen’s death was caused by “severe concussive brain injury caused by multiple blunt force impacts of the head.” In addition, Radisch said, “The number, severity, locations, and orientation of these injuries are inconsistent with falling stairs. Instead, they are consistent with multiple blows to the head caused by beating.”
In 2003, the trial went on for three months, making it one of the longest trials North Carolina has ever seen. The prosecution said Michael killed Kathleen by beating her, and the defense said she fell down several stairs and died by accident. During the trial, people found out about Michael’s sexual life. Go a little further down to find out more about the case. (But be aware that there are show spoilers).
Who Are The Main Characters In HBO Max’s The Staircase?
In this new version of “The Staircase,” there are many different people. You are not the only one trying to figure out who is who in Michael and Kathleen’s big family.
Start with the children.
Sophie Turner and Odessa Young play Michael Peterson’s real-life adopted daughters, Margaret and Martha Ratliff, who stood by him after Kathleen’s death. Olivia DeJonge plays Caitlin Atwater, the real-life daughter of Kathleen Peterson, and her ex-husband, Fred Atwater. In the end, Caitlin testified on the side of the prosecution.
Todd and Clayton Peterson, Michael’s real-life sons from his first marriage to Patricia Peterson, are played by Patrick Schwarzenegger and Dane DeHaan.
Rosemarie DeWitt and Maria Dizzia play Candace Zamperini, Lori Campbell, Kathleen’s real-life sisters, and Tim Guinee plays Bill, Michael’s brother.
Colin Firth plays Michael on the show, and Toni Collette plays Kathleen.
Who Was Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Ratliff, And How Did She Die?
At the end of the third episode of The Staircase on HBO Max, we learn more about how Elizabeth “Liz” Ratliff died. Here is what we know about what happened in real life.
Elizabeth Ratliff died in 1985, just two years after her husband, George. She was a family friend of Michael Peterson and his first wife, Patricia.
According to the results of an autopsy, a brain hemorrhage caused Elizabeth’s death. After Elizabeth died, Michael and Patricia took in Martha and Margaret, Ratliff’s two daughters. Martha and Margaret went with Michael when he moved in with Kathleen in 1989.
Before Michael’s murder trial started, it came out that, like Kathleen, Elizabeth Ratliff had also been found dead at the bottom of a staircase. Prosecutors had Ratliff’s body dug up and sent to North Carolina, where pathologist Deborah Radisch did an autopsy. Radisch also did Kathleen’s autopsy. She concluded that Ratliff was killed.
Big Spoilers: Where Is Michael Peterson Now?
Michael Peterson was found guilty of murder in 2003 after a three-month trial. He was given a life sentence in prison. But Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson, who was in charge of the first trial, gave Peterson a new trial in 2011 after finding that blood splatter expert Duane Deaver had lied to him and the jury. Peterson was let out of jail after he paid a bond.
In 2017, Peterson was officially freed after entering an Alford plea, which let him say he was guilty while still saying he was innocent. The Raleigh News and Observer says that he still lives in Durham today.