The Staircase has provoked a huge reaction from Netflix viewers, which over the course of 15-years and 13 episodes tries to figure out whether Michael Peterson killed his wife Kathleen Peterson on that fateful evening in December, 2001.
Come the end of the show viewers aren’t given a definitive answer, because even though Michael Peterson was found guilty and spent 8 years in jail, he is now free, as he was given a retrial after blood spatter analyst Duane Deaver was proven unreliable.
Peterson avoided this retrial by submitting an Alford plea, which gave him a reduced manslaughter charge, which he had already served.
But there’s one theory regarding “The Staircase” that really has the internet flutter. Because it has been hypothesized that Kathleen was attacked by an owl, which caused her to hit her head on the stairs.
While it might seem laughable, the wounds on her scalp, a feather at the scene, various other details surrounding the distribution of the blood and the fact that owl attacks are common in the area led to calls that it should have been taken more seriously.
It turns out that director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade is one such advocate, as he recently told me that he regrets not including the substantial amount of material he has on the Owl Theory in “The Staircase.”
“That’s a regret. That’s a regret. But as I said my purpose was to look at the legal process and I was waiting for someone to introduce the owl theory in the court room at some point.”
“To be honest I have a lot of material about the Owl Theory. I did a lot of interviews and I am ready to show them. But nobody talked about that inside the court room so nobody heard about it in the legal process. So it is not in the series and that is one of my regrets.”
“Because it is so important and so many people wanted to know what happened and it might be the beginning of the solution. When you look on the internet, and our series ‘Staircase,’ wow, so many theories have been discussed so far and it is huge.”
Lestrade even suggested that a follow-up might be in order, although he distanced himself from it by remarking, “Maybe someone will do something about that.”
The French filmmaker didn’t always feel that way about the Owl Theory, though. “When I heard about the Owl Theory it was 2008/2009, and I laughed. It seemed very stupid.”
“But since then I have met many people involved in the theory, and really when you look at that very slowly and seriously and you spend hours and hours on it it might be the plausible theory to explain the kind of laceration injuries that Kathleen received.”
“So it is very interesting. It is one of the aftermaths of the series. It is something that people can discuss and debate and I think it is very interesting.”
Lestrade even confessed that he found it “a little bit frustrating” that neither the prosecution or the defense raised this Owl Theory, which he believes might actually be indicative of why we still don’t know exactly what happened to Kahleen Peterson.
“To me what was quite surprising and frustrating was that no-one really searched for the truth in the legal process.”
“Because it was the prosecution theory, which was she had been killed, murdered, against the defense theory, she had fallen down the stairs. The truth was in between.”
“But nobody really tried to search for the truth, and that may have been something very interesting. In a way I was quite frustrated, but I was tied by my point of view in examining the legal process.”