The Stair Case (Sundance Channel)

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by hawkamer, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. Apr 5, 2005 #1 of 43
    hawkamer

    hawkamer Narm...

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    Jun 4, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I haven't seen this mini-series yet, but the write-up on Slate makes it sound very interesting:


    http://www.slate.com/id/2116156/


    It's currently running on the Sundance channel. The first 2 episodes ran Monday night, but Sundance is replaying them often. If you're looking for this in the guide date, it's "The Stair Case" not "Staircase."
     
  2. Eight47

    Eight47 Member

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    Feb 22, 2003
    Very interesting documentary.

    I am wondering how the defense can explain the
    amount of blood at the scene of the accident.[/spolier].

    `Staircase' catches the ups and downs of real murder case

    By Maureen Ryan
    Tribune staff reporter
    Published April 4, 2005

    The most compelling murder mystery of the year is not on one of the three "CSIs," the four versions of "Law & Order" or any of their innumerable clones.

    The one flaw of the gripping true-crime tale "The Staircase" (8 p.m. Monday) is that it's only available on the upstart Sundance Channel; one wishes that it was as widely available as "CSI." It's that good.

    And it proves that truth is often stranger -- and even more compelling -- than fiction.

    The eight-installment documentary, which airs over four Mondays, unfolds at first like a suspenseful beach read: A wealthy novelist's wife, who happens to be a successful telecom executive, is found nearly dead at the bottom of the stairs in the family's showcase home in a leafy enclave of Durham, N.C.

    Having sustained several nasty gashes to the head, she expires before help arrives.

    The husband, Michael Peterson, says his wife, Kathleen, took a tumble on the kitchen stairs as he sipped a glass of wine near the family pool; the police take a different view of things and charge him with murder soon after Kathleen's December 2001 death.

    In the supple hands of director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, this John Grisham-esque tale soon recalls the award-winning documentary "Capturing the Friedmans." De Lestrade arrived in North Carolina soon after Michael Peterson was charged, and his cameras were on the scene for every legal strategy session and every revelation. He interviewed all the parties in the case and he also captured the small and large ways in which the lives of the blended family Kathleen Peterson left behind began to unravel and fray.

    And speaking of revelations, there are plenty. It almost goes without saying that Michael Peterson wasn't entirely what he seemed; after his wife's death, the things that came to light about him made his chances at trial look grim indeed. But in this carefully paced film, the director, who won an Oscar for the documentary "Murder on a Sunday Morning," seems to be asking, "Are any of us entirely what we seem? And who can truly see into the heart -- or the motives -- of another?"

    The circumstances of Kathleen's death do seem rather odd, but then again, the lip of an assistant district attorney actually curls when she discusses the details of Michael's personal life (to say more about that topic would ruin one of the film's most intriguing revelations). As Michael's defense is carefully (and expensively) assembled, one wonders if Durham officials had a grudge against the outspoken, emotional author, given his unusual private life and his journalistic crusades against incompetence in local government.

    "The Staircase" doesn't need flashy editing or forced melodrama to keep the audience's interest (though it should be noted that there are some brief shots of grisly crime-scene photos; this documentary is definitely for mature viewers). And the strained looks on the faces of the Peterson family keep reminding the viewer that all of this really happened. But the documentary keeps adding layers of complexity to the tale until one is entirely hooked by its ambiguities and twists and turns -- and soon, as with a great novel, one can't wait to see what happens next.
     
  3. Ntombi

    Ntombi New Member

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    Mar 17, 2004
    Bostonian...
    I caught the first episode of this yesterday and was hooked. I immediately set up a SP. I saw an edited version of this on another channel a few months ago, because the style and editing and footage was exactly the same, but it was only an hour or two.

    Anyway, this is really good, even though I know the particulars, because I halfway paid attention to this trial when it was on CourtTV. I like the style of the filmmaker.
     
  4. hawkamer

    hawkamer Narm...

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    Jun 4, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Yes, this is definitely not like Dateline NBC! So far, I like the pacing and moodiness. I know virtually nothing about the case, but so far, neither side has me convinced.
     
  5. skanter

    skanter New Member

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    May 27, 2003
    New York City
    Compelling case -- beautifully handled and edited -- I think (not sure) the guy's innocent...
     
  6. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

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    May 23, 2000
    Colorado, USA
    I'm watching it. Lots of things I want to google when it is over.

    I watch a bunch of true crime stuff, but this one is good as it is "live." Kind of like "The First 48."

    -John
     
  7. skanter

    skanter New Member

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    May 27, 2003
    New York City
    At this point, do you think he's guilty or innocent?
     
  8. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

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    May 23, 2000
    Colorado, USA
    I've watched through about day 32 or so of the trial...

    I guess I think he is guilty. The majority of the evidence seems to me to indicate that he is guilty. I'm not sure how she would get those splits on her head from falling on stairs, or at least I would think that they would find the 3-4 places where they COULD say she split her head once on this step, once on that step, once on this other step. I would think that there would be left over "matter" (and splatter?) on each of those steps.

    I don't like that his previous wife (I think that's who it was) also died from a fall on a staircase?! That's just too weird.

    I can see the guy getting her nicely plied with alcohol and pills, and then taking his sweet time knocking her with the fireplace poker. I can even see him wiping it clean after each whack, which could explain the absence of blood splatter evidence to indicate that sort of an attack.

    Although... it does still bug me that there isn't that blood splatter evidence to support that sort of attack. Is the guy that "good" that he knows to wipe off the poker between whacks? Also, if she was a mess... drugged and drunk, and he attacked her, you would think his first hit should pretty much take her down, and if so, how did she end up with blood under her shoes? That makes me wonder about whether she did get up once or twice, in a stooper, just to fall and accerbate her injuries.

    He could have sat there and pushed her over everytime she did get up. Pulling her feet out from under her multiple times. Until finally, she didn't get up again.

    Did I mention I find the guy to be a little too "smooth." He's got some very expensive "experts" (that Asian guy I believe to be one of the TOP TOP forensic experts).

    In the end, I guess I still don't know. I do not like hearing of somebody else dying in virtually the same manner, however.
    -John
     
  9. bruab

    bruab Shmegistered Schmoozer TCF Club

    15,142
    2,087
    Nov 16, 2001
    DC Metro
    I recorded about 6 episodes and I can't make heads or tails of them. They're 50 minutes long and they show 2 back to back, but half of the epsiodes seem to start in the middle. I also seem to have episode one but not two or three. I started late, so maybe it was just the re-broadcasts that had screwy DTV guide data? It first episode was very interesting though.

    They seem to have a marathon scheduled for May 1, so maybe if I get them straight through I'll have it all.
     
  10. skanter

    skanter New Member

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    May 27, 2003
    New York City
    I'm a bit confused as well. I think I saw six episodes (in order), but Tivo missed a few, I think, as I only see two eps left. Does anyone know how many eps in all?

    John Jr. -- couldn't read your spoiler post as I was afraid of findinf out info
    before watching...
     
  11. skanter

    skanter New Member

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    May 27, 2003
    New York City
    Tonight Tivo is recording "The Verdict" and "Blowpoke". Are these the final two episodes, and is this the correct order to watch them, or is "Verdict" the last ep?
     
  12. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

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    May 23, 2000
    Colorado, USA
    I looked (barely, scared of spoilers) and it looks like Blowpoke should be viewed first and Verdict second. Which makes sense.

    -John
     
  13. hawkamer

    hawkamer Narm...

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    Jun 4, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Yes, I believe those are the last two episodes, in that order.

    Edit: I was referring to skanter's post. My guess is the "verdict" will come at the very end of the "Verdict" episode, then they will wrap everything up and get reactions from the various parties in the "Blowpoke" episode. This is pure speculation though, as I won't get near the guide data for fear of spoilers!
     
  14. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

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    May 23, 2000
    Colorado, USA
    I re-read the site where I got the impression it was "Blowpoke Returns" first and "The Verdict" second, and I still believe that to be the case. Blowpoke Returns was described as the defense arguments (which in reflection, we haven't seen... just the prosecution arguments) and "The Verdict" was described as the verdict.

    ...

    Monday April 25th at 9:00pm
    Chapter 7: The Blowpoke Returns.
    The defense begins presenting its case, which relies heavily upon such experts as a biomechanical engineer and a prominent forensic scientist. But the outcome may finally come down to a stunning find by Michael Peterson’s oldest son.
    Chapter 8: The Verdict.
    The long trial reaches its conclusion and Michael Peterson learns his fate – at least, for the immediate future.
    -John
     
  15. hawkamer

    hawkamer Narm...

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    Jun 4, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Well, if that's the case, it could be the filmmakers had some sort artsy-smartsy existential reason for showing the verdict and then going back to the defense's arguments. Or, someone at Sundance screwed up!
     
  16. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

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    May 23, 2000
    Colorado, USA
    It looks like just the listing is screwed up. What my TiVo recorded at 9PM Eastern, labeled "The Verdict" is actually "Chapter 7: The Blowpoke Returns." The one labeled Blowpoke, is actually "Chapter 8: The Verdict."

    So if you watch them in the order the TiVo recorded them, you should be OK.

    -John
     
  17. skanter

    skanter New Member

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    May 27, 2003
    New York City
    Jeez!

    My problem is -- I think I missed eps 5 &6. I guess I could wait a few days when they rerun the whole thing, but I may just watch 7&8 tonight anyway.

    I can't wait!

    :eek:

    Edit: Re "The Stair Case" -- isn't "Staircase" ONE word, not two??? Or did they mean "The Case of the Stair" "The Staircase Case"? Or "The Stairs Case?

    :confused:
     
  18. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

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    May 23, 2000
    Colorado, USA
    Do not read unless you have seen the conclusion.

    ". . . . . . Hail horrours, hail
    Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
    Receive thy new Possessor; One who brings
    A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
    The mind is its own place, and in it self
    Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n
    What matter where, if I be still the same,
    And what should I be, all but less than he
    Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
    We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
    Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
    Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
    To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
    Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n."

    ...John Milton, Paradise Lost (Book 1)
    Great documentary.

    -John
     
  19. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

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    Colorado, USA
    There are eight fifty minute segments titled chapter 1 to 8.

    Chapter 1:
    Crime or Accident.
    Chapter 2:
    Secrets and Lies.
    Chapter 3:
    A Striking Coincidence.
    Chapter 4:
    A Prosecution Trickery.
    Chapter 5:
    A Weak Case.
    Chapter 6:
    The Prosecution’s Revenge.
    Chapter 7:
    The Blowpoke Returns.
    Chapter 8:
    The Verdict.

    All eight episodes will air on Sunday May 1st, beginning at 2:00pm.

    -John
     
  20. JohnJr

    JohnJr Right to Man

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    May 23, 2000
    Colorado, USA
    Ntombi,

    Does CourtTV still air complete trials like they used to with O.J. and that crazy middle-aged blonde woman (forget her name)? From your message I take it they do. I used to love those. Is there a place for me to get a rundown on what the current trial they are airing is, and at what time during the day it airs? Assuming there is one. If there isn't one, how do I find out when they are next going to show one? Do I just have to keep visiting their web-site, or is there a better way?

    -John
     

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