Heavy may receive a commission if you sign up for a service through a link on this page.

How to Watch ‘The Staircase’ for Free


The latest ripped-from-the-headlines drama to hit TV is “The Staircase,” which will become available on HBO Max on Thursday, May 5.

Heavy may earn an affiliate commission if you sign up via a link on this page

If you sign up for HBO Max directly through their website, there is no free trial. It’s $9.99 (with ads) or $14.99 (without ads) per month right away.

However, if you’re looking to watch for free, you can get HBO Max included with a free five-day trial of DirecTV Stream right here:

DirecTV Stream Free Trial

DirecTV Stream has four different channel packages: “Entertainment,” “Choice,” “Ultimate” and “Premier.”

HBO Max is available as an add-on to any of these packages (any add-on can be included with your free trial), or, if you’re planning on keeping it long-term, you can get three months of HBO Max included at no extra cost with any of the “Choice” or above bundles.

Once signed up for DirecTV Stream, you can watch “The Staircase” live or on-demand on the HBO Max app (not the DirecTV Stream app), which is available on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), Samsung Smart TV, PlayStation 4 or 5, Xbox One or Series X/S, iPhone, Android phone, iPad, or Android tablet.

When signing in to HBO Max, you’ll use your DirecTV Stream credentials.

‘The Staircase’ Preview

Inspired by the true story of novelist Michael Peterson and his wife Kathleen Peterson, “The Staircase” stars Oscar winner Colin Firth and Emmy winner Toni Collette as the main players in this dramatization of the true-crime docuseries of the same name.

“‘The Staircase’ is an exploration of the life of Michael Peterson, his sprawling North Carolina family, and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson,” teases the HBO Max press release, and the logline reads, “There is no truth without lies.”

The premiere episode is titled “911” and its description reads, “December 2001. When businesswoman and beloved mother Kathleen Peterson is found dead after reportedly falling down a flight of stairs, the unusually bloody scene leads police to focus their attention on her husband, author and aspiring local politician Michael Peterson. But while Peterson’s blended family rallies around their patriarch, the investigation quickly zeroes in on Michael’s secret life, calling the couple’s seemingly picture-perfect marriage into question.”

“It is a thrill to collaborate with Antonio Campos, Maggie Cohn and Annapurna Television for the exploration of this true-life story that’s rife with dramatic revelations,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max, in a statement. “With the enormously talented Colin Firth at the center of this adaptation, the story of ‘The Staircase’ will continue to captivate audiences with every bizarre twist and turn.”

The second episode, called “Chiroptera,” drops at the same time as the premiere. It’s description reads, “After posting bail, Michael and his high-powered attorney David Rudolf piece together their defense, while considering an offer from Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, a French documentarian eager to profile the case. As teams of forensic experts on both sides recreate the night of Kathleen’s death, Michael’s children grapple with shocking new information about their father — and stepdaughter Caitlin wrestles with her own doubts.”

“This has been a project I have been working on in one way or another since 2008. It’s been a long and winding road, but well worth the wait to be able to find partners like HBO Max, Annapurna, co-showrunner Maggie Cohn and the incredible Colin Firth to dramatize such a complex true-life story,” added showrunner Antonio Campos, who directed six of the eight episodes.

The limited series co-stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Juliette Binoche, Dane DeHaan, Olivia DeJonge, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tim Guinee, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sophie Turner, Vincent Vermignon, Odessa Young and Parker Posey.

“The Staircase” will drop its first three episodes on Thursday, May 5, followed by one new episode every week through June 9 on HBO Max.

Read More