HBO Max is revisiting the story of the death of Kathleen Peterson and the confusing murder trial of her husband, Michael Peterson. The story was first told in Netflix’s “The Staircase,” Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s Peabody-winning series that he started filming in 2004, adding to it over time. HBO Max’s version of the story is also called “The Staircase,” but it’s a fictional look at just what went down and how the family dealt with the emotional saga.
Ultimately, the story is a tragic family drama above all else. The saga isn’t all about Michael and Kathleen — there’s also the emotional toll that the exhausting trial takes on his children, who stand by his innocence, and his estranged stepdaughter, Caitlin, who believes her mother’s death was a homicide. In the show, Colin Firth and Toni Colette star as Michael and Kathleen. The cast also includes Sophie Turner, Dane DeHaan, Michael Stuhlbarg, Juliette Binoche, Patrick Schwarzenegger, and Parker Posey.
Thanks to Netflix’s “The Staircase,” we know how most of the family really feels about Kathleen’s death and Michael’s trial. The family tree is complicated, so we’ve boiled it down to the main members, their stances on the case, and where they are now.