Warning: There are SPOILERS ahead for The Staircase.
So if you haven’t watched all 13 episodes of the epic Netflix crime documentary then you should bookmark this article, finish the show, and then read what director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade has to say.
The ending of “The Staircase” leaves everyone involved unsettled.
First of all there’s Michael Peterson, who has already had to serve 8 years in prison for a crime that he insists he didn’t commit, but now also has to plead guilty so that he can avoid a further trial and possible prison time.
Then the members of Kathleen’s family that believe he committed the crime are furious he is able to walk out of court room to freedom.
There’s every chance that there is even more to examine about the case and its participants, especially since Jean-Xavier de Lestrade has spent 15 years creating a 13-epsiode crime documentary epic about the murder of Kathleen Peterson.
I recently had the chance to speak to Lestrade about “The Staircase,” which has just been released on Netflix, during which time I asked the director whether or not he plans to make any more episodes about the aftermath of the trial.
“I think it has finished. Of course I don’t know what happened and I am sure of nothing on that night. I have no real answers. But I have some answers on Michael Peterson. And the complexities of him as a human.”
“And to me that is more important than what happened that night. But I am sure for all of the viewers, the main question is, ‘What happened? Did he kill her? Or not?’”
“And that should stay the main question and the kind of obsession during the whole experience when you are watching ‘The Staircase.’ Because to me the end was when the justice system gave an answer to the case and then it will be finished.”
But what about Michael Peterson? Well, Lestrade admitted that he has remained in contact with him, and he even revealed Peterson’s future plans.
“Yes, we stayed in contact. I can’t say that we frequently talk. I did send him an email that the show will be on Netflix one month ago. We spoke in November or October. We stay in contact.”
“He’s still in Durham, in a very tiny apartment. He is working on a new book. About his own story. Not only the story of the case, but of his life and experience in prison and everything. He should have finished the book by now.”
But while millions of people are expected to get caught up in “The Staircase” over the next few weeks and months, Peterson won’t be one of them, because Lestrade admitted that the suspect just can’t bring himself to watch it.
“He didn’t watch the episodes. I know he tried to once, with his daughter Margaret, they tried to start watching. But after 20 minutes they stopped and he told her, ‘I can’t do this. It is too painful.’ And I really understand that. He has never watched more than 20 minutes of ‘The Staircase’.”