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cover: Staircase, The (2004) - d2/2

Staircase, The (2004) - d2/2

Director(s): Jean-Xavier de Lestrade

Theatrical Release: 2004-2005

Cast: Michael Peterson

Genre(s): TV, Documentary, crime, Thriller, Dean's List

Countries: USA

Location in store: Television

(1 / 1)
Ant Rating
Running Time: 192m.

Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (MURDER ON A SUNDAY MORNING) helms this Sundance Channel production. Based on the 2003 trial of an author named Michael Peterson, who was accused of killing his wife, de Lestrade lets some fascinating material unravel on the screen. Taking the viewpoint that Peterson was innocent, the director paints a picture of an unfortunately framed man whose wife died an accidental death. The eight-part series is presented here in its entirety, offering plenty of food for thought on the case itself, and on the American justice system. (


Chapter 5: A Weak Case. District Attorney Jim Hardin lays out the prosecutionís case and calls witnesses to testify about three points of evidence: the amount of blood at the scene; Kathleenís head lacerations; and the potential murder weapon, a fireplace tool called a blowpoke. Rudolf puts on a tough cross-examination.

Chapter 6: The Prosecutionís Revenge. The court rules on key evidentiary issues, and the prosecution calls several witnesses who give emotionally charged testimony. Meanwhile, the trial is receiving extensive and often sensational coverage in the media.

Chapter 7: The Blowpoke Returns. The defense begins presenting its case, which relies heavily upon such experts as a biomechanical engineer and a prominent forensic scientist. But the outcome may finally come down to a stunning find by Michael Petersonís oldest son.

Chapter 8: The Verdict. The long trial reaches its conclusion and Michael Peterson learns his fate Ė at least, for the immediate future.