Twitter is Obsessed with HBO Max’s New True Crime Show: “The Staircase”

Twitter loves a true-crime series.
By Savannah Moss
Image: HBO Max

In 2001, a man named Michael Peterson called 911 after finding his wife unconscious at the bottom of their stairs. After his wife was declared dead, many debated Peterson’s innocence and if he had anything to do with his wife’s death. And, when it was found out that he was the last person to see a family friend before she was also found dead at the bottom of the stairs in 1985. When Peterson was arrested and a trial was held, he was found guilty, but later released from prison when it was discovered that evidence was fabricated against him. Now, HBO’S newest series “The Staircase” is dramatizing the events and it is safe to say Twitter approves.

Although a series surrounding the case is not unfamiliar, as the bizarre case has inspired books, a Lifetime film, and a series created in 2004 that is now on Netflix, this is the first series to dramatize the events. Recently, this dramatization of crimes has become increasingly popular, with Hulu’s “The Dropout” and “The Girl From Plainville” so it is no surprise this series is also receiving some buzz. Plus, with fan-favorite actors like Colin Firth and Toni Collette playing Michael and Kathleen Peterson, eager fans were ready when the first three episodes debuted yesterday.


The case has not only divided people who watched the news or followed the trial, but it divided Peterson’s family as well. While Peterson’s sons and adopted daughters believe his innocence, the victim’s sisters and daughter believe he was responsible. The case captured viewers not only because of the revelation of knowing this is Peterson’s experience with a second person dying at the bottom of a staircase, but also the drama that ensued when it was found that Peterson was suspected of leading a double life when prosecutors brought out a gay escort he had interacted with.

Not only did the case fit the “murderous husband” trope, along with the “double life” that seems to interest many invested in true crime, but the case also interested people due to the interesting theories from the defense. For example, the “owl theory” was left out of the original docuseries in 2004, but will be included in the HBO series. The owl theory defends the lacerations on Kathleen Peterson’s scalp and was created when microscopic feathers were found in clumps of her hair. The theory says that the owl was not the culprit but instead contributed to her death.

Overall, the views on Kathleen Peterson’s cause of death remain a mystery and a point of contention. Although the new HBO series does not seem to add new information, it has still captured the attention on Twitter as the debut caused it to trend on Twitter. According to Varietyit takes “the audience beyond the first level and reaching for a second, elevated story.”