Viewers are invariably left wondering how much of a movie or television show based on actual events is accurate and what happened to the actors when the cameras were switched off. HBO The Staircase, Max’s true crime drama, is not an exception to this rule. The eight-episode drama, which Antonio Campos created, features Colin Firth and Toni Collette as novelist Michael Peterson and Kathleen Peterson, a Nortel executive, as his second wife. On the stairwell of the Peterson residence in Durham, North Carolina, Kathleen passed away in 2001. Michael Peterson was accused of her murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2003 despite claiming his wife had fallen down the stairs. The trial was one of the longest in North Carolina history.
After discovering that a major prosecution witness had lied under oath and received a life sentence for the murder of Kathleen Peterson, Michael was granted a fresh trial in 2011. It was discovered that Duane Deaver (Myke Holmes), a blood-spatter expert, had inflated his background in forensic investigation. The author was released in 2011 on a $300,000 bail and put under house arrest because Deaver’s testimony was ultimately what caused the jury to find Michael guilty.
Michael Peterson has largely avoided the limelight. He claimed to feel misled by documentarian Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and was not happy with the HBO Max miniseries. He accused Lestrade of using him and his family as pimps in a series of emails to Variety. Nevertheless, he acknowledges that Lestrade’s efforts were crucial in helping him escape from prison.
With every step the case took, Todd (Patrick Schwarzenegger) was by his father’s side. He developed a significant social media following, much like his character in The Staircase. But his Instagram account has been deactivated since the HBO miniseries premiered. However, he had a change of heart concerning his dad’s role in Kathleen’s demise before he vanished.
Clayton Peterson (Dane DeHaan), who tried a bombing at Duke University years before Kathleen Peterson’s demise, served four years in jail, as depicted in the miniseries. In the programme, he plays a disturbed young guy who resolves to change his life. And it appears that the actual Clayton is doing better than ever now. He is an engineer who resides and works in Baltimore, Maryland. He has two children with Becky (Hannah Pniewski), whom he is still married to. He has never discussed The Staircase in public, unlike Todd and Michael.
Elizabeth died under circumstances that were so similar to Katherine’s that Michael’s body was excavated during the trial to look for evidence of wrongdoing. The Petersons adopted Margaret and her younger sister Martha (Odessa Young) after Elizabeth passed away. They moved in with Michael and Kathleen, who they called mum, in the US following Michael and Patty’s divorce. Margaret currently resides in California and holds jobs including acting, assistant directing, and production manager in the entertainment sector.