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The Drill Down

Are You Addicted to Netflix’s True Crime Documentary, ‘The Staircase’? Well You Should Be

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It’s been almost 20 years after journalist and crime novelist, Michael Peterson, went to trial for the murder of his wife, Kathleen. The case continues to resonate with true-crime fans who lately can’t get enough of the Netflix show, The Staircase, which debuted June 8 and intimately documents the case.

Despite more than ten hours it takes to get through the series, the 13-episode show has received a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and fans have taken to social media, describing it as the latest must-see crime drama.

Fans say those considering the series shouldn’t be intimidated by the long hours it’ll take to get through all the episodes. In fact, part of the appeal of the series is that it shows how slow the wheels of justice turn while examining the odd twists the case took before the controversial outcome 17 years later.

But, most appealingly, is that at no time do the creators of the show try to convince viewers of Peterson’s guilt or innocence. In fact, when looking at the facts of the case, it’s no wonder his own family is divided about it to this day. ***Warning, spoilers ahead ***

Perfect Murder Or Frame Up?

On its face, the Peterson case could look like any typical murder plot story were police point fingers at the husband, whom investigators said bludgeoned Kathleen Peterson to death in 2001 and tried to make it appear as if she fell down the stairs.

Metro

Prosecutors pointed to Peterson being a bisexual and having affairs that they believe triggered an argument between him and his wife the night she died. They pointed to the fact that a family friend had died similarly decades before— with Peterson being the last one to see her alive. They even referred to his violent fiction writing as inspiration for the crime.

But, the case is not open-and-shut. Throughout the documentary, viewers are shown how Peterson had written columns in the local newspaper that were critical of police and the district attorney, leading to claims of bias. Later, a blood spatter analyst in the case was fired for falsely representing evidence along with the discovery that much of the evidence from 2001 had been contaminated and that Kathleen’s clothes had never been DNA-tested.

There’s even an odd (although rarely touched on) theory that an owl attacked Peterson’s wife and caused her death. Animal experts would later say it’s highly likely that was the case.

It’s no wonder the director, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, would become obsessed with Peterson’s case. But, his original plans were not to create a true-crime series.

Making Of A Murder Documentary

De Lestrade debuted the series in 2004 with eight episodes following Peterson, his family, and the defense team as they prepared for court and went through the murder trial. Filming for the series began shortly after Peterson was indicted. What was supposed to be a two-hour documentary turned into an epic 13-episode arc. Netflix bought the original 10 episodes, along with three new ones.

Vulture

Two more episodes aired in 2013 after new information reignited the Peterson case, with the final three episodes being released just this year. Despite spending almost two decades with Peterson, de Lestrade has doubts about the case.

Peterson’s Strange, Complex Character

Like many viewers, de Lestrade himself said he’s not certain about Peterson’s innocence to this day.

Movie Magic

“Michael Peterson himself is a very strange, very complex character,” de Lestrade told TIME, “Of course, the man I spent many days, weeks, months and years with— the man I know, it’s like it’s not possible that he’s capable of killing someone in that way. But, human beings are so strange and you never know.”

Think you can figure out the case? Check out the trailer below and then watch the show for yourself:

The Drill Down

She Went From Trapped In Her Own Body To Dancing With The Stars

Victoria Arlen was born just before her triplet brothers. As such, the young girl was always an ambitious and energetic trailblazer. Always active, she took an interest in sports – particularly swimming and dancing – from a young age. She dreamed of winning gold medals and dancing with stars. Then, at age 11, disaster struck. Out of nowhere, Victoria became a prisoner, trapped inside her own body, in a nightmare that seemed to never end. She could see and hear, but didn’t have control over anything else. Victoria worked tirelessly to escape from her nightmare against all odds, and went on to grab headlines and inspire lives everywhere. Was she able to overcome her dismal condition? Read on to find out.

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These Celebrity Doppelgangers From The Past Have Us Seeing Double

Time travel is a mystifying concept. Much like the idea of extraterrestrial life, it has captured the human imagination for as long as we have existed. Today, it’s at the forefront of famous movie plots, most famously ‘Back to the Future,’ and pops up in late-night conversations about the universe and meaning of life. As of now, scientists have not been able to confirm whether traveling through time is possible, and though there isn’t any kind of hard evidence that proves human beings can time travel, these photos of celebrities alongside what appear to be them in other time periods will sure make you wonder.

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Is It Even Christmas If You Haven’t Seen Die Hard Yet?

The Holiday Season is upon us and you know what that means – time to watch Die Hard! Your televisions and movie theaters are probably already flooded with cheesy Christmas movies, and the radio is just Mariah Carey’s “All I want For Christmas Is You,” but there’s one thing that we can all agree on, Die Hard is a perfect piece of holiday cheer. We know the debate has raged on for nearly 30 years: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? We’ve done the leg work (watched Die Hard so many times we’ve lost count) and we have the definitive answer. Yippee ki-yay it’s Die Hard season!

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