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HBO Max Sets 'The Staircase' Premiere Date for May, Releases Teaser

Colin Firth stars as the real-life Michael Peterson and Toni Collette is Kathleen Peterson in HBO Max's true-crime limited series 'The Staircase.'
by Danielle Turchiano — 
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Colin Firth and Toni Collette in 'The Staircase'

HBO Max

HBO Max's The Staircase is set to premiere May 5 with its first three episodes and you can watch a teaser for the series now, below.

The eight-episode limited series is based on the true story of Michael Peterson (played here by Colin Firth) who was a suspected in the death of his wife Kathleen Peterson (played by Toni Collette). Each subsequent episode after the first three to launch at once will stream one a week up to and including its final on June 9.

The Peterson story has been all over the media, from a podcast to multiple docuseries. The real Kathleen Peterson died on Dec. 9, 2001 after being found by her husband at the bottom of a staircase in their North Carolina home. He told investigators she must have fallen down the stairs after drinking and taking Valium, but an autopsy reported lacerations that seemed consistent with blunt force to the back of her head and noted that she died of blood loss 90 minutes to two hours after sustaining those injuries. Michael became a suspect and stood trial, at which time secrets about his past, his sexuality, and their marriage emerged. Additionally, their friend, Elizabeth Ratliff, had died in a similar fashion a decade and a half earlier, after the Petersons had dinner in her home, which came into play at his trial. 

"It's fiction. It's fabrication," Firth's Michael says in the teaser.

But — SPOILER ALERT — the real Michael was found guilty.

The dramatization will chart the events after Kathleen's death to see how the family handled the allegations against their patriarch and the media interest in them. It also stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Juliette Binoche, Dane DeHaan, Olivia DeJonge, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tim Guinee, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sophie Turner, Vincent Vermignon, Odessa Young, and Parker Posey.

The Staircase is created by Antonio Campos and written and executive produced by Campos and Maggie Cohn, who serve as showrunners. Campos also directed six of the episodes, while Leigh Janiak directed the other two. The Staircase is co-produced by Annapurna Television.