WATCH: The Staircase Tackles Murder, Biphobia, and a Complex Justice System

Did Michael Peterson kill his wife? Or was he on trial merely because he had sex with other men?

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

January 14 2013 6:35 PM ET

Michael Peterson

When novelist Michael Peterson made a 911 call in 2001, about his wife Kathleen — who was then laying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs — he had no idea that it would launch one of the most fascinating, shocking, and biphobic trials of our time. Peterson was allegedly filled with grief over the accident, and family and friends testified his marriage was ideal, but investigators immediately believed Kathleen's death was no accident and arrested Peterson for her murder. 

During the North Carolina trial there were a series of revelations that stunned the jury, none more damaging than the fact that Peterson was bisexual and had sex with other men. The case became front page news across the country with everyone weighing in on Peterson's guilt or innocence.

The Sundance doc-series, The Staircase, which begins tonight at 10 p.m., follows the entire case from the day of Kathleen's death to the final verdict in court.  Academy Award-winning director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (who did Murder on a Sunday Morning) has unprecedented access to Peterson, his legal team, forensic experts, and others. This 8-episode series includes the original 6 episodes that aired on Sundance in 2004, and two gripping new follow up episodes that update the case and the complexity around the guilt or innocence of Michael Peterson. 

The series might just be Lestrade's pièce de résistance and it's a must-see for LGBT viewers interested in crime, social justice, and sexual liberty. 

Watch the trailer below:


Or watch the entire first episode here:

 

Tags: television

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