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"The gripping new Netflix true crime series I devoured all in one day."

If you’re looking for a juicy new Netflix show to sink your teeth into, there’s really only one option.

The Staircase, which recently dropped onto Australian Netflix, follows the compelling story of Michael Peterson, a crime novelist who was accused of killing his wife Kathleen after she was mysteriously found dead at the foot of a staircase in their home.

The documentary follows all of the twists and turns that take place in the 16 year judicial battle that followed her death.

What’s incredibly interesting about The Staircase is that while it may appear like it’s just riding on the coattails of hit documentary shows such as Making A Murderer, in truth it actually helped to launch the television true crime genre and help it rise in popularity to what it is today.

The new Netflix series is made up of 13 episodes, which were all filmed and released at different times.

The first eight episodes of the series were released in 2004 and then another two entries debuted in 2013, all airing on the BBC. The added bonus to this dark tale is that we have now been gifted three new installments of the saga, which were all shot last year, and have now been added to the original series.

The facts within the documentary unfold like this.

In December of 2001 Peterson, who had once worked for the Department of Defense, claimed to have found his wife Kathleen laying on the floor in their home, dead in a pool of her own blood. He claimed that her head was heavily lacerated and bruised due to a nasty fall down the stairs of their palatial mansion located in Durham, North Carolina.

Murder suspect Michael Peterson. Image: Netflix.

However, it is the details around Kathleen's death and the events that led up to it, that just don't appear to add up.

As the documentary episodes unfold on screen, we learn that there is evidence to suggest that her death may not have been a tragic accident. It in fact appears that her husband Michael may have betrayed her in some way, after being have been caught out having an affair, and then attacked his wife with a fire poker that at the time was found to be missing.

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This is where the series begins to delve deep into Michael’s past behavior, an investigation that only serves to heighten the intense suspicion that begins to surround him.

You'll begin to ask yourself if he may have done something like this before and as more facts begin to role in you'll also start to ponder how an animal could have played a part in Kathleen's puzzling and brutal death.

In keeping with past true crime documentary hits such as The Keepers and OJ: Made in America, The Staircase provides a calm and intricate deep-dive into the all the facts surrounding the murder.

Nothing is sensationalized or heightened for dramatic effect and the result is a highly atmospheric look into a case where the details and evidence presented are compelling enough to stand on their own without interference.

Staircase
Image: Netflix.

The court case surrounding Kathleen's death only wrapped up last year, which means that the team behind the making of the documentary had unprecedented access and time to deep-dive into every aspect, clue, twist and turn that has evolved from this case within the past decade.

The Staircase, which was produced and directed by Academy-award winner Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, looks at the unexplained facts around Kathleen's death, gives a comprehensive explanation into  Michael's past and why it may relate to what happened that night, and shines a light onto the raft of problems that exist within the criminal justice system.

Although there are still some parts of this mystery that are yet to be explained, you'll be hooked from the very beginning by The Staircase.

It's a true crime documentary that demands to be devoured in just one day.

All 13 episodes of The Staircase are available to watch now on Netflix. 

For more stories like this, you can follow writer and Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook. 

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