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The Staircase episode four has fans saying the same thing

Colin Firth and Toni Collette star in the true-crime drama

the staircase ep4
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
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The Staircase starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette aired its fourth episode on Thursday evening and it's safe to say fans are totally gripped by the drama inspired by the shocking real-life murder case.

MORE: The Staircase: What really happened to Michael Peterson's first wife?

The fourth instalment showed Colin as Michael Peterson continue to fight his case to prove his innocence, but things take a turn when his eldest son, Clayton, comes back on the scene. 

WATCH: Are you watching new true-crime drama, The Staircase?

Although the story, which has been adapted from the shocking murder trial Michael Peterson faced in the early 2000s after his wife, Kathleen, was found dead at the bottom of their stairs, has been what keeps viewers returning for more – the acting performances have been a huge talking point among fans.

One person wrote on Twitter: "I cannot stress enough how good the acting is in #TheStaircase. Just overall an excellent cast with phenomenal performances. They're taking home the Emmys."

MORE: The Staircase: the true story behind Colin Firth's new crime drama

MORE: The Staircase: viewers all saying the same thing about new true-crime drama

staircase colin© Photo: Sky

Colin Firth as Michael Peterson

Another echoed this, adding: "Everyone is sooo good, episode 4 had Toni Collette, Dane Dehaan and Odessa Young delivering amazing performances #TheStaircase." A third was particularly enamoured by Toni, who plays Kathleen, and her impressive performance: "Watching the latest episode of #TheStaircase. Can we just give #ToniCollette an award every time she acts? She's earned it."

Those are familiar with the story will no doubt be familiar with the long-form series, The Staircase, a documentary which was made by two filmmakers as they filmed Michael and his family while the murder trial was ongoing.

staircase colin toni© Photo: Sky

Toni Collette has received wide praise for her acting performance

Michael, a former crime novelist and Durham County mayoral candidate, was arrested and put on trial for the murder of his wife, Kathleen, who, on 9 December 2001, was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in the 11,000-square foot North Carolina home.

On December 9, 2001, Kathleen Peterson was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in the 11,000-square-foot North Carolina home she shared with her husband, Michael.

michael peterson© Photo: Rex

The real Michael Peterson on trial for murder in 2003

His trial began in 2003 and it was around this time that a documentary crew led by French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade began following the case. Michael was eventually convicted of murder.

In 2011, Michael was given a new trial when the judge ruled that a key witness had given misleading testimony. In 2017, 16 years after the death of Kathleen, Peter submitted an Alford plea to the reduced charge of manslaughter. As a result, he was sentenced to time already served and freed. As of today, Michael, 78, remains a free man. 

The Staircase is available to watch on Sky and its streaming service, NOW. 

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