Netflix has released the trailer for the upcoming new episodes of "The Staircase," a continuation of the French documentary series that tells the story of the death of Kathleen Peterson in Durham and the subsequent trial and conviction of her husband, Michael.
The 8-episode Jean-Xavier de Lestrade-directed series was released in 2004 and won a Peabody award in 2005. Two new episodes were added in 2013 when Peterson was released from prison and granted a new trial.
Peterson entered an Alford plea while awaiting a new trial last year, allowing him to plead guilty to manslaughter while maintaining his innocence.
De Lestrade's new episodes premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 28 and will release on Netflix on June 8.
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Watch the trailer below.
The Peterson case in popular culture
The Peterson case has been the subject of numerous true crime TV shows, books and podcasts. Here are just a few examples:
▪ A 2006 episode of the Headline News series "Forensic Files" focused on the Peterson case. The episode was called "A Novel Idea."
▪ In 2007, a Lifetime movie called "The Staircase Murders" starred Treat Williams as Michael Peterson and Kevin Pollak as Peterson's attorney, David Rudolf.
▪ The French documentary "The Staircase" was the inspiration for the first season of the NBC sitcom "Trial & Error," which aired in March 2017. In that show, a poetry professor (John Lithgow) goes on trial for the murder of his wife, who was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in front of a shattered window. In the final episode of the season, after the husband is convicted and sent to prison, cell phone video is discovered of the wife being attacked and killed by an owl. (An owl attack was one of the more unusual theories floated as a possibility for Kathleen Peterson's death.)
▪ In April 2017, NBC's "Dateline" tackled the Peterson case with an episode called "Down the Back Staircase." Peterson was interviewed by Dennis Murphy about his decision to plead out the case.
▪ Late last year, a BBC podcast called "Beyond Reasonable Doubt?" examined the case and scored a long interview with Michael Peterson. Reporter Chris Warburton also interviewed the Petersons' former neighbor, Larry Pollard, who came up with the infamous "Owl Theory."
▪ In December 2017, the popular podcast "My Favorite Murder" released a special 100th episode about the case. "The Staircase" documentary was one of the things hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstock bonded over the first time they met.
▪ The Investigation Discovery (ID) channel ran a 3-part series on the Peterson case on April 8, 2018, called "American Murder Mystery: The Staircase." The series included interviews with Durham District Attorney Jim Hardin, the former male escort Brent Wolgamott (aka Brad from Raleigh) who was called to testify at the trial, with Kathleen Peterson's sister Candace Hunt Zamperini, who initially defended Michael Peterson but later testified against him.