The Staircase, a new true-crime drama about a novelist believed to have murdered his wife, is coming to Sky and NOW TV on Thursday 5 May.
The series stars Colin Firth as novelist Michael Peterson, and Toni Collette as his wife Kathleen.
Here’s everything you need to know about The Staircase.
What is it about?
The Staircase is a true-crime drama about a novelist believed to have killed his wife, and the subsequent trial that took place as a result.
Is it based on a true story?
Yes, it is. Petersen was accused of murdering his wife in December 2001; while Petersen maintained that his wife had fallen down the staircase, authorities argued that her injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma caused by bludgeoning.
The Staircase is actually specifically a dramatisation of an acclaimed French documentary of the same name (though it’s sometimes also called Death on a Staircase). The first instalment of the documentary was released in 2004, covering the crime itself and the initial reaction, while a follow-up was released in 2018, reflecting on the murder and its consequences with fourteen years’ hindsight.
You can watch the documentary version of The Staircase on Netflix.
Who is in the cast?
Colin Firth plays the novelist Michael Peterson, who was accused of murdering his wife in 2001. Firth is known for a number of different films, including Pride and Prejudice, Love, Actually, and the Mamma Mia duology. He’s also recently appeared in Operation Mincemeat and Supernova (which is fantastic).
Toni Collette plays his wife Kathleen, who is murdered on a staircase (hence the title). Collette is a prolific actor, who you might recognise from murder-mystery Knives Out, Bowie-esque almost-biopic Velvet Goldmine, and the horror movie Hereditary. She also recently appeared in the TV series Wanderlust, which is well worth checking out.
Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name), Dane DeHaan (ZeroZeroZero), Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), and Odessa Young (Shirley) also star.
Is there a trailer?
Yes, there is! You can see it right here.
Who writes and directs The Staircase?
The adaptation was spearheaded by director Antonio Campos, who’s been working on the series since 2008. Campos – who directs 6 of a total of 8 episodes of The Staircase – is best-known for films like Simon Killer and The Devil All The Time, and has directed episodes of The Punisher and The Sinner on television.
Leigh Janiak – best known for directing Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy – directs the remaining two episodes of the series.
Campos has written The Staircase alongside co-showrunner Maggie Cohn, who wrote episodes of American Crime Story: Versace.
When and how can I watch it?
The Staircase begins on Sky Atlantic on Thursday 5 May with a double bill of episodes. After that, new episodes will be air weekly (they’ll also be available to watch on NOW TV).
In the US, The Staircase will be available on HBO Max, where three episodes will be made available on 5 May.
How many episodes are there?
The Staircase is eight episodes in total.
Why should I watch it?
The series has received a number of positive reviews, described as one of the rare dramatisations that adds to the documentary rather than taking away from it. Plus, Firth and Collette are both great actors.