Sundance Channel

The Staircase And An American Murder Mystery

On the eve of an update to the godfather of prestige true-crime TV, Stephanie Early Green and Sarah D. Bunting look at two takes on the trials of Michael Peterson.

Almost 15 years ago, de Lestrade's The Staircase paved the way for the Making A Murderers and Jinxes after it with a lingering, textured look at the case against Michael Peterson. Did his wife Kathleen fall down the stairs? Did he push her or beat her with the notorious blowpoke? Was a wild creature responsible all along? And whose side are the filmmakers on as they slowly pile up the porn, infidelities, and other similar deaths in Peterson's past? Stephanie Early Green is back to talk about the case, the series, what we think really happened now versus when we first watched over a decade ago, and a defense attorney's spin-stinct.

Then we assess ID's condensed overview of the case on An American Murder Mystery. The franchise's look at Kathleen's death is economical, but also somehow filler-y and melodramatic, and we wonder if its judgments about Michael's sexuality aren't a worse look than the 2004 take on his alleged motive. Still, there's some new information here -- along with a whole bunch of nonsensical conclusions about flawed forensics -- but will we keep watching?

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