With the June 8 release of Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's "The Staircase" documentary series on Netflix — 10 previously released episodes and three brand new installments — appetites are strong for more true-crime TV shows, movies and podcasts about the Michael and Kathleen Peterson saga in Durham.
In addition to "The Staircase," the Peterson case has been the subject of numerous true-crime TV shows, books and podcasts. Here are just a few examples:
▪ True-crime writer Diane Fanning's 2005 book on the case, "Written In Blood," is subtitled "The True Story of Murder and a 16-Year-Old Secret That Tore a Family Apart."
▪ 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.
▪ Aphrodite Jones' book on the case, "A Perfect Husband," was released in 2013.
▪ The premiere episode (“Animal Instincts”) of the acclaimed Criminal podcast in 2014 was devoted to The Owl Theory and included an interview with Peterson’s neighbor Larry Pollard.
▪ 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, cellphone 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.
▪ 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 three-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, with the former male escort Brent Wolgamott (aka Brad from Raleigh) who was called to testify at the trial and with Kathleen Peterson's sister Candace Hunt Zamperini, who initially defended Michael Peterson but later testified against him.