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Michael Peterson Isn't Watching The Staircase: 'I Was There When She Died'

Peterson insists the HBO Max show is "not terribly accurate."
  • Two decades after the fact, Michael Peterson has moved on from the death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson. Peterson, who was convicted of murder in 2003 and later took an Alford plea for a lesser charge of manslaughter, told British show This Morning that he's no longer concerned about whether people think he's guilty. "At my age, 78, you don't give a damn much about it anymore," he said.

    Peterson added that he has not been watching HBO Max's The Staircase, a scripted drama starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette as Michael and Kathleen Peterson. The author insisted that he and his family have no plans to watch the show, saying, "She died. I was there when she died ... I definitely do not want to watch a fictionalized account, seeing her die three times."

    In addition, Peterson criticized the HBO Max adaptation for being "not terribly accurate." The filmmakers behind the original Staircase docuseries seem to agree: director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade told Vanity Fair he felt "betrayed" by the way HBO depicted him and his team. The documentarians are even considering filing a lawsuit against HBO, Peterson revealed on This Morning.

    During the interview, Peterson was pressed to answer questions about the multiple theories surrounding Kathleen's death and his alleged involvement. Peterson pushed back against various motives that the prosecution suggested drove him to murder his wife, including his sexuality and financial troubles, saying "it's ridiculous" to think those theories are true.

    "I am not guilty," he said, adding that he pleaded guilty to manslaughter to protect his family from further stress. "My children had to live through all of this and it was terrible for them... So to me, that was just the better thing."

    There are many theories surrounding Kathleen's death, including a possible owl attack or a murder by an intruder, but Peterson remains convinced it was an accident. "I still think she fell," he said.

    As to whether he would feel better knowing exactly how Kathleen died, Peterson said, "Well no. Would that make her less dead? Would that bring her back?... I'm happy not knowing."

    New episodes of The Staircase stream Thursdays on HBO Max.

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    Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.

    TOPICS: Michael Peterson, HBO Max, Netflix, The Staircase (2004), The Staircase (2022), Colin Firth, Kathleen Peterson