Don't miss it: Thrilling doc 'The Staircase' returns
Posted January 7, 2013
Whenever someone asks about my all-time favorite documentaries, I make sure to mention The Staircase. The eight-part feature, which aired on the Sundance Channel in 2005, is absolutely gripping and illustrates just how powerful documentary filmmaking can be.
The Staircase follows a complicated murder case in Durham, N.C., where a man is put on trial for killing his wife. Throughout the investigation, Michael Peterson maintains that his wife, Kathleen, accidentally fell down a staircase and died. However, evidence points to foul play, and the jury (and viewers) are left to determine what really happened.
Years after the movie's release, Peterson's lawyers are still trying to prove his innocence. (Among the twists: One of the prosecution's experts has admitted to tampering with evidence in other cases.) Sundance will air two new episodes of The Staircase in March, but until then, the network wants to make sure everyone catches up with the original.
If you've never seen The Staircase or if it's been years since you watched it, set the DVR for Monday nights at 10 ET (starting tonight), when Sundance airs the series from the beginning. To get you started, you also can watch the first episode online.
I've seen the new installments, and they're pretty stunning. (It's also crazy to see how much everyone involved has aged in eight years.) If you become obsessed with the doc as I did, note the series also is available on DVD with several bonus features and commentary from director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade.
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