For true crime documentary fans needing a fix after finishing up the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” Sundance has made its Peabody Award-winning series “The Staircase” available online and on its Sundance TV app starting Friday, Jan. 15.
Although, if you lived in the Triangle around the time of Kathleen Peterson’s 2001 death, for which her husband Michael Peterson was charged and convicted of murder, you kinda already lived it.
The 2003 trial consumed nearly everyone in Durham, where it took place, and of course, in Raleigh and surrounding burgs. And when Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (“Murder on a Sunday Morning”) released his 8-part series “The Staircase” on the Sundance Channel in late 2004, Peterson’s story went worldwide.
“The Staircase” is considered by many TV critics to be one of the best true crime documentaries of all time, in part due to Lestrade’s unusual access to the defense team and Peterson, and it received the prestigious Peabody Award in 2005. After problems with North Carolina’s SBI lab were revealed several years later, which resulted in Peterson being granted a new trial, de Lestrade followed up with two more installments, called “The Staircase: The Last Chance.” All ten episodes are now online.
And Peterson is still waiting for that new trial, by the way.
Much like “Making a Murderer,” though, “The Staircase” is decidedly pro-defendant.
The first two episodes of the documentary are available with no log-in required. After that, viewers will need to enter their cable or satellite username and password. It will be available through Feb. 29.