HBO Max released the trailer for its upcoming miniseries The Staircase, based on the 2004 French true-crime docuseries of the same name, which followed the high-profile trial of novelist Michael Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his second wife Kathleen Peterson in 2003.
Kathleen was found dead after Michael claimed that she had fallen down the stairs of the couple’s Forest Hills, North Carolina mansion in 2001, and he quickly became a suspect due to the fact that his wife’s injuries were inconsistent with the type of fall she had experienced.
Exacerbating the already suspicious circumstances surrounding Kathleen’s death, family friend Elizabeth Ratliff, whom Michael and his first wife Patricia had befriended while living in Germany years before, had died following a similar fall in 1985.
Similar to Kathleen’s accident, Michael was likewise the last person to see Elizabeth alive. After her death, which was ruled accidental, Michael became the guardian of her two daughters, Margaret and Martha, who later moved back to the states with the couple.
The miniseries, which stars Colin Firth as Michael Petersen and Toni Collette as Katheleen Petersen, will examine not just the trial, but the filming of the docuseries with French director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. Rounding out the cast are Sophie Turner and Odessa Young as Margaret and Martha Ratliff, Rosemarie DeWitt as Candace Hunt Zamperini, Juliette Binoche as Sophie Brunet, and Parker Posey as Freda Black.
The eight-episode limited series premieres on Thursday, May 5 on HBO Max.