STUDIO: New Video Group
MSRP: $39.95
RUNNING TIME: 360 minutes
- Step by Step: The Making of The Staircase
- Filmmaker insights
- Filmmaker biographies
- Limited edition illustrated booklet
- Michael Peterson follow-up interview
- Never-before-seen family interviews

The Pitch

”It’s Law & Order… but for real!”

The Humans

Some guy who may or may not have killed his wife. His family, his defense team and the prosecution.

The Nutshell

Kathleen Peterson is found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her home. The police arrest her husband, novelist Michael Peterson, and charge him with her murder. In the months to come astonishing revelations are brought to light that plumb the darkest sides of the husband’s life and bring the case all the way to Germany. It’s the kind of stuff that you wouldn’t believe if you saw it in a movie, but it’s all true. And endlessly fascinating.

The Package

In the thrilling finale, Hooch gets the killer!

The DVD set of The Staircase, which ran originally ran on the Sundance Channel in 8 parts, comes in a nice little box, and it contains some extra interview footage. What’s missing, though, is more information about the behind the scenes aspect of this documentary. The amount of access that director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade had is just astonishing, but there’s very little here telling us what it was like to be so embedded in the defense. I would like to have found out why there is less of the prosecution team. And I would love to hear the people behind the documentary talking more about their own beliefs on this murky, twisty case.

The Lowdown

The Staircase is simply one of the most engrossing things I have ever watched. The film is perfectly constructed, pulling you into the story and then keeping you constantly off balance, throwing bizarre revelation after bizarre revelation at you – and it’s all true! That’s probably the most amazing thing.

It was the sketches of Persis Khambatta that broke the case.

It seems like seven hours and change would be far too long for a story like this, but it’s actually not long enough. And when you’re done watching this documentary, I guarantee you’re going to want to share it with friends, just so you have someone with whom to argue about that verdict.

8.6 out of 10