The Staircase 2022 / This dramatization of a true crime documentary is a masterclass in storytelling


The bizarre case of Kathleen Peterson’s death, which has yet to be fully resolved to this day, has been the subject of many a media article. The press covered it relentlessly when it all started in 2001, then a critically-acclaimed documentary was released in 2004. This was followed up with a sequel in 2018, and now more than 20 years after the deed, a dramatization has come out in the form of a miniseries. You’d be forgiven for thinking the latter couldn’t possibly have anything new to offer, but you would also be wrong. In fact, the series is a masterclass in storytelling. Led by an a-list cast (of which Colin Firth is the absolute standout) and told with such layered depth, The Staircase is a must-watch not just for true crime but for film and TV fans everywhere. 

Utilizing time jumps and crafty transitions, The Staircase isn’t set at one particular time, which is fitting considering the trial lasted for 16 years. It also isn’t centered on just the mystery or the family, but instead is just as interested in the making of the 2004 documentary that introduced (and humanized) the case to an even wider sect of people. If you’re looking for a neat ending or some form of satisfying retribution, you won’t find it here. But you will be getting an engrossing meditation on truth and its elusiveness

Login to add your review.