The 2001 death of Kathleen Peterson shocked the city of Durham, North Carolina—even more so when her husband, local writer Michael Peterson, was arrested for the crime. In 2004, audiences around the world saw the events surrounding Kathleen's death, and Michael's subsequent trial, play out in the award-winning docuseries The Staircase. Now, HBO Max is adapating the story into a limited series starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette.
During the platform’s TCA presentation, showrunners Antonio Campos and Maggie Cohn, along with series star Firth, previewed the upcoming series.
What is The Staircase on HBO Max about?
The HBO Max series will include eight episodes and follow Kathleen and Michael Peterson before and after Kathleen’s suspicious death. To many, including investigators, it was never believable that Kathleen simply fell down the stairs. And as soon as a deep investigation began, new details and evidence surfaced.
During the panel, Campos even shared that the very controversial “Owl Theory” will be explored in the series, saying, “We will address the owl theory. We took it as seriously as any other theory.”
The Staircase will expand the perspectives of the case
The story has been told before—first on the Sundance Channel, then on Netflix, as well as in other documentaries and novels. Cohn shared that this limited series was an opportunity to “show multiple perspectives of the same incident, and to make people comfortable with the gray, with saying that ‘I might not know what happened, but now I have a better idea of how something like this could happen.’ It’s expanding the perspectives.”
Campos chimed in that The Staircase is also a family drama, as family conflicts and secrets will be explored as well.
The Staircase will stream on HBO Max later this year.