The Staircase Release Date: Who Is the Killer in the Staircase?

With Colin Firth and Toni Collette in the lead roles, the case of Michael Peterson will be brought to television in the limited series The Staircase. Following the 2001 death of Peterson's wife Kathleen, which was documented in a documentary called The Staircase, the tale is now being told in a narrative form in the form of The Staircase.

It joins a long list of true-crime and scammer-inspired stories that have made their television debuts in recent years, including Pam & Tommy, The Thing About Pam, Inventing Anna, and The Staircase, among others.

Despite the fact that it has an Oscar winner, an Emmy winner, a Game of Thrones graduate, and other notables, this may be one of the most star-studded true crime shows we've seen in a long time.


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What Is the Staircase Plot?

The Staircase

Based on a true event, The Staircase follows the life of Michael Peterson, his large North Carolina family, and Kathleen Peterson's mysterious death.

SPOILER ALERT: If you're hoping to learn more about the trial from The Staircase, we're about to go into some of the specifics.

It shows the death of Kathleen Peterson, who was found in a pool of blood at the bottom of the family's Durham, North Carolina house in December 2001. After that, Michael Peterson became the primary suspect in her death. Peterson was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2003 after a three-month trial. But this was not the end of the tale.

The case of Kathleen Peterson's death remained in the spotlight because of a French documentary team and Peterson's continued innocence after several appeals. When a major prosecution witness lied under oath, a fresh trial was even granted.

A plea agreement in 2017 permitted Michael Peterson to maintain his innocence while acknowledging that the prosecution had enough evidence for a conviction, and the official judgment labeled him as guilty (it's known as an Alford plea). After serving 89 months in prison, he was released in 2017.

As viewers try to piece together what happened to Kathleen Peterson, it seems like there will be a lot of twists and turns.


With Colin Firth playing Michael Peterson and Toni Collette portraying Kathleen Peterson, The Staircase boasts an excellent cast.

Even though Firth won an Oscar for his performance in The King Speech, he's most recognized for a wide range of roles in a variety of genres, such as romantic comedies and dramas (such as A Single Man and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as well as action films (such as The King's Man) and musicals (Mamma Mia). Operation Mincemeat is his latest leading role.

Collette is also a skilled performer on the stage and screen. Among her other notable works include Hereditary, Nightmare Alley, and the forthcoming Netflix series Pieces of Her. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in The Sixth Sense.

Supporting actors include Dane DeHaan and Rosemarie DeWitt from Little Fires Everywhere, as well as Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones, Dana DeHaan from Lisa's Story, and Juliette Binoche from The English Patient, Parker Posey from Lost in Space, and more.

The Staircase

Here is The Staircase cast and who they are playing:

  • Colin Firth as Michael Peterson
  • Toni Collette as Kathleen Peterson
  • Michael Stuhlbarg as David Rudlof
  • Dane DeHaan as Clayton Peterson
  • Olivia DeJonge as Caitlin Atwater
  • Rosemarie DeWitt as Candance Zamperini
  • Tim Guinee as Bill Peterson
  • Patrick Schwarzenegger as Todd Peterson
  • Sophie Turner as Margaret Ratliff
  • Vincent Vermignon as Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
  • Odessa Young as Martha Ratliff
  • Parker Posey as Freda Black

Release Date

It premieres Thursday, May 5, on HBO Max in the United States and on HBO GO in countries where the streaming service is accessible. On Sky TV and the NOW streaming service, The Staircase will be available May 5.

The Staircase

Three episodes of The Staircase will be broadcast on HBO Max on May 5, followed by one episode a week until June 9 according to HBO Max.

How to Watch the Staircase

The Staircase will only be available to HBO Max members in countries where the service is available, including the United States. Once HBO Max is activated, you'll be able to watch The Staircase when it premieres on May 5. (HBO Max does not currently offer a free trial).

The Staircase will be accessible to Sky and NOW TV subscribers in the UK when it debuts.

The Staircase Trailer

Now you can watch the official trailer for The Staircase. Here's the new teaser trailer, as well as the one that was previously released:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Staircase Series a True Story?

By following the actual tale of Peterson, who was convicted in 2003 of killing his wife, Kathleen, after she was found dead at the foot of their Durham, North Carolina mansion's staircase.

What Is the Staircase HBO About?

“The Staircase” is a story about a staircase. Officially, “The Staircase” focuses on the lives of North Carolina resident and family man Michael Peterson and his wife's unexplained demise. On December 9, 2001, Kathleen was found at the bottom of the stairs of the Peterson home in Durham, North Carolina.

Who Is the Killer in the Staircase?

An ex-mayoral candidate and author named Mike Peterson has been accused of her murder on September 9, 2001. When asked how his wife died, Mike Peterson stated that she had fallen down the stairs.