The Staircase (2022) s01e03 Episode Script

The Great Dissembler

And five, six, seven, eight.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
How did your mom die? Your mom mom, I mean.
Brain aneurysm.
Do you remember her? No, I was only two when she died.
Sometimes I remember things, but I realize it's just stuff people have told me or stuff in pictures.
Then Kathleen became my mom.
I mean, first, it was Patty in Germany.
But, really, it was Kathleen.
She took care of us.
Stay here after finals.
You know I have to go home.
Why do you have to? The trial's not for a while still.
Because it might be the last normal-ish summer with my family.
I'll come visit then.
It'll get weird.
I'm not ready for that.
If I go, it doesn't have to be like a coming out party.
We can also pretend we're just friends.
Promise me you'll at least call.
Yeah, of course.
The blow poke.
What is it exactly? It's a fireplace tool.
Something between a poker and a bellows.
Nice ride.
Kathleen's sister had given one to each of her siblings one Christmas years ago.
And after we had done our initial search of the house, taken measurements, photographs, she noticed from looking at those pictures that it was missing from the Peterson fireplace.
Now, we don't believe it was randomly misplaced.
Is there a chance you experts conclude she actually died from a fall? Now, a lot of people smarter than me have said from day one that it could only be one thing, a beating.
Where could it be? Wherever Kathleen hid the thing.
I don't even remember Candace giving it to her.
Why would you? Who the fuck gives fireplace tools as a Christmas gift? Let alone one fireplace tool.
They're kind of handy.
I swear to God, that stupid thing is in there somewhere, and it ain't covered in blood.
How much to get rid of 'em? Well, first of all, you can't just get rid of 'em.
Bats are special that way.
You gotta relocate 'em.
It's not cheap.
Let me go over a couple of things with my husband and give us a few days.
Yeah, the longer you wait, the worse it's going to get.
At least they're not in the plumbing.
Then you're really, you're fucked.
The boys are fucking us.
Both of them need money.
Clayton's gotten fucked by the market.
And Todd's got this website thing.
What website thing? Well, I don't know what it is.
With Clayton's qualifications, he could get a job easily.
He needs to focus on school right now.
No! Do it again, I dare you.
Mike? Dog's chewing up the damn furniture again.
The boys are going to need your help again, Patty.
Oh dear.
I don't know if now is the ideal moment.
Well, can you refinance the house again? - The exterminator's done.
- No, not again.
The banks in Germany frown on that type of business.
It's not good.
- It's Patty.
- Mike? Well, things are really bad at Nortel.
I can't ask Kathleen for more help.
I understand, but I really cannot.
So whatever we do to Mike, it affects them.
Please stop worrying about Martha and Margaret, Cay.
They're the ones who decided to support a killer.
But they didn't really have much of a choice.
Look I get it's a lot to process but as your lawyer, until you give me the go-ahead to strike, Michael's going to keep getting your mother's money - to pay for his defense.
- Yes.
But I can get them to delay payment until we get allocation sorted out.
I think it's time, Caitlin, but it's up to you.
I can't make this decision for you.
I don't really want to deal with this right now.
I'll be in Durham for the summer.
Maybe we can talk about it then.
These were all on Peterson's computer.
Can you confirm these are photos of you? Did you have sex with Michael Peterson? No.
"I was in the Marines.
Love to fuck, suck, and rim.
" Peterson wrote that to you? Yeah.
Do you expect me to believe that after all these emails, after all these phone calls, after all this back and forth, that you two never actually met? - Never.
- If you say you didn't, it's not going to get you out of testifying.
I can't believe you want to show these in court.
It's a good thing I'm well hung.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that.
You don't think so? Did you see this one? We'll let the jury decide.
Well, I'm not surprised.
- Me neither.
- Alright, Ron.
Get something to eat and head back here.
So, that was Ron.
The search turn up anything? They find the blow poke? No, no, nothing.
But, apparently Deaver's still bashing in Styrofoam heads with the one Candace gave them.
And? Well, that's the good news.
They haven't been able to show the blow poke could create that scene.
The bad news is the DA is on a crusade to find someone you slept with.
We should talk about the emails.
Which emails? between Mike and Brad Wolgamott.
A few other escorts online.
An escort? What? Bill, settle down.
Todd, maybe you and your mom can help clean up a bit.
I'll make some coffee.
Please, no family.
Tom, I never met up with any of those guys.
Yeah, I came very close to meeting up with Brad, but it didn't happen.
Sometimes when you listen, you hear things you don't want to.
So there are some emails.
So what? These emails paint a very vivid picture.
You want a picture? I'm a painter, too.
I get up there, and I read this.
In the same email where Mike's talking about doing this, that, and the other, Mike says, "Evenings aren't great for me anyway.
"I'm married.
"Very happily married, "with a dynamite wife.
"Yes, I know.
I know.
"I'm very bi, and that's all there is to it.
" Can I see that? That's not somebody hiding something.
That's someone who clearly loves his wife.
I mean, it's not only possible, but common for these kinds of arrangements to exist.
The French do it all the time.
Without anyone to testify that Kathleen knew, it's just conjecture.
Well, unless they get a guy on the stand to testify that she didn't know.
I mean, if some emails and some porn are all they got? Hey, this is our biggest hurdle, and I'm already over it.
I'm sorry, I don't understand.
What type of arrangements exactly are we talking about? What do we got? We have no murder weapon, and no one can say they slept with Peterson.
Brad Wolgamott's emails could help solidify motive, but without proof of a meeting, it may not be worth it to put him on the stand.
But if I get up there and I say, "Do you really think "do you really think, "that Kathleen Peterson "that this woman knew "her husband was talking about fucking this "and sucking that And God knows what else.
" Rimming.
Y'all even know what that means? I believe it is, cunnilingus but from the other end.
Wait, don't you mean on the other end? - Even with - And people enjoy that? Even with the Freda Black show, the connection between the emails sent in September to Brad and Kathleen being killed in December is a little fuzzy.
I want actual infidelity.
That's concrete.
That's the story.
Do you recognize this man right here? Michael Peterson? Have you noticed any kind of strange behavior with Mr.
Peterson or, homoerotic relationships with any of your members? He's never come in here before? You're absolutely positive? You sure? Dennis Rowe.
He mentioned something about Peterson.
Dennis Rowe? Yeah.
He said he was fun.
Hey, what's up? You happy to be back? Yeah.
I don't know.
How's SF? Making a lot of friends? Boyfriends? No.
So, you know, the DA's been laser-focused on Dad's sexuality.
Well, they were before I left.
So, I mean, you knew about the porn and that Dad was talking with escorts.
- Dad was cheating on Mom? - No.
I mean, they had an agreement.
And Dad's happy, and, and she was happy, so.
Have you talked to him about it? No.
I mean, I don't know.
That's between those adults.
I just feel like we should be able to have that dialog.
If you want to go talk to him, go ahead.
Alright? I'll make sure I'm a hundred miles away.
Yeah, well, I'm glad you found me too.
Word of mouth, you know.
I think so.
I'm seeing people every other week.
What the Surprise! What's going on? Got you a massage.
I know it's been a little rough.
I thought you deserved something nice.
I'm actually running for Durham City Council, you know.
Some say that the city council does more than the mayor's office, you know, ever does.
- Is that right? - Oh yeah.
You said you live by that low-income development, right? Yeah.
Bit of an eyesore.
You want to start face down.
- We'll get going.
- Sure.
How's that face cradle? Is it okay? Right.
How's that pressure? Good.
Thank you.
That project could have been great.
And not just for the people who need Mike.
You gonna be here the whole time? I'm just talking to a future constituent.
Maybe you should go to Blockbuster now and, you know, before all the good movies are gone.
Okay! James, take care of my wife.
She's a delicate flower.
I'll do my best.
Do you know this guy? Dennis Rowe? R-O-W-E? Mike? No, I don't know who the hell he is.
You meet a lot of people when you're campaigning.
Well, apparently, he's a friend of Lori's.
Kathleen used to babysit him and his brothers when they were kids.
My sources say he has a limp.
A limp! Says you had sex with him four or five times.
You're shitting me! - That's what he's claiming.
- Oh my god.
Rather know now than later.
Did he indicate where this great love affair took place? He hasn't given a full statement yet.
When he does, get it to me.
I'm dying to see it.
- Will do.
- Is that it, then? Yeah.
Till we get more.
We're going to need to digest this and rethink how we approach it.
When we lived in Germany, Mike had many dalliances with men and women, and I didn't end up at the bottom of the stairs.
- Patty.
- My ex-wife, everyone.
She'll be around all week.
Mike, can I talk to you for a second? How many more men are they going to turn up? I don't know, Bill.
I don't keep a diary.
But I'm pretty sure I never fucked a cripple.
You said, "No affairs, Bill.
" Well, they weren't affairs.
I never took any of those guys out to dinner.
It was just sex.
Don't "Michael Peterson" me.
I mean, sex is affairs.
You lied.
You slept around on Patty.
You slept around on Kathleen.
Well, I didn't lie.
What? You heard her.
I slept with men and women when we were married.
I only had sex with men since I married Kathleen.
- Don't you get it? - Kathleen knew? And answer the question.
You sound like her right now! "Just answer the question, Mike.
" No, no.
She knew, and she understood.
To say otherwise, it's just insulting to her.
I should have mentioned this before.
I'm going to go to Reno for a couple of days.
What? Well, for how long? A couple of weeks.
I just, I need to try and figure out a balance between home and Durham.
What? Come on.
You can't leave because you're pissed at me.
That's not why I'm leaving.
I'm leaving because I want to see my family.
What? Who's going to take care of everything? Make sure the bills are paid? Here's the latest Nortel check.
You go to the bank, walk up to the teller, sign the back, hand it over.
It's not that difficult.
You're here to take care of me, not to give me a hard time.
I know it's hard for you to believe, it's not all about you.
No, it is! It is all about me.
Make no mistake, for the next little while or however fuckin' long this takes, it is about me.
Now when it's your ass about to go to prison for the rest of your life, it can be about you.
Take a breath.
I loved her.
And she fucking loved me too.
The first time was about eight years ago at the sex shop off the 110.
Then a few years later again at the YMCA.
- The Forest Hills Y? - Yeah.
You work out there? On occasion.
So you didn't know who you were having intercourse with? No.
I didn't know who he was until I walked into his house, and Lori introduced me to him.
After the party, did you tell Lori about your connection with Michael? No, I didn't.
I didn't see any reason to create a problem.
Do you know anyone else who might have slept with Michael Peterson? You can tell us now or under oath.
I would talk to Tyrone Lacour.
You're friends with Tyrone Lacour? No.
Not friends.
We're in a small community.
I told him the story after the campaign event.
He looked up Michael's picture and thought he looked familiar.
Well, Mr.
Rowe, what I'd love for you to do for me is write down what you remember from your encounters with Peterson.
Every detail, no matter how small.
We want to know everything.
More blood.
Take another look, Tyrone.
Maybe an anonymous hookup somewhere.
Who's telling you this shit? Someone trustworthy.
I ain't no fag.
Well, if somethin' comes to mind, give me a call.
You've got my card.
Was that enough time for you? - Yes, sir.
- Let's see what we've got.
What's this list? Names of other people I've slept with.
If you're going to get me up there and ask about Peterson, I'm guessing I'll also be asked about the other important married men in town I've slept with.
Some of whom I think you know pretty well.
Your friends? Acquaintances.
Donors, actually.
I don't see this playing out well for us, Freda.
Outing innocent people on the stand in order to show what Michael Peterson was up to.
Well, we have the autopsy, the crime scene, the photos, the emails.
We have our theory.
A man who is hiding gets caught and explodes.
It all feels circumstantial.
We have a theory about a motive and no murder weapon.
Well, I guess we also still got Brad.
Their search has hit a dead end.
I told you I didn't know this Rowe guy.
Apparently, you're not as hot as we thought.
Why did it seem like everyone wants a piece of me? Well, what are you up to this weekend? - Working for you.
- What? No, forget me.
Just spend time with your wife and kid, man.
Well, Charlene's not so crazy about me right now.
Oh yeah? What'd you do? Renovations and well, let's just say, I admire the relationship you and Kathleen had.
Where she let you be you.
My wife and I are just not on the same page.
Happy to talk my problems, but, I'm still on the clock here, Mike.
Well, geez.
Never mind.
I can't afford you as it is.
Well, thank you, David.
Thank me when we hear "Not guilty.
" - Good night.
- Good night.
Nothing! Nothing! They got nothin'.
- What's going on? - Rowe guy crapped out.
DA's got nothing.
Dad, this is great.
Hey, Dad.
Would you talk about it with me? Talk about what? You really want to talk about your dad's sex life? Go to bed, honey.
Good night.
Oh my god.
Hello? Hey, it's Brad.
How's it going? well, things are crazy, but, you know, good.
You know, election's coming up.
You? Not too bad.
So, look, I have to cancel.
- What? - Yeah.
- Why? - My schedule's changed.
I have to get up to Durham and back to Tampa in less than a day, and I just think my ass might need at least a couple days to recover.
Well, let me know when you're passing through.
For sure.
Promise me something though.
What? Stay hard till I get there.
Take care.
Yeah, you too.
That was really very good.
Thank you so much.
are you good or - I'm good.
I'll clear out.
- Yeah? Alright.
Thanks again.
Goddamn bats.
How was the massage? Amazing.
Until I had to take a shower.
I think the bats are chewing the pipes or clogging them.
All I know is, it's a problem.
I'll figure it out.
Let's just enjoy the night.
- Where are the dogs? - Who cares? Almost ripped up the rug today.
Oh yeah, I meant to ask.
How'd the talk go with Patty? Right.
Well, she can't refinance the house again.
It's something, German laws makes it verboten, so I think we're going to have to keep chipping in to help with the boys.
I know what you're doing here.
Butter me up with a massage and a romantic night, and then you ask me to bail your kids out again because you let them get away with murder.
Especially Clayton.
I know you're mad at him.
I am, too.
You literally bought him a car when things blew up.
Well, nothing actually blew up that time.
Clay got lucky.
And you are playing me.
Is it working? The Great Dissembler, ladies and gentlemen.
I guess we'll do what we always do, just figure it out.
Some money for the boys.
We need to deal with the plumbing first.
And then We'll And then we'll We'll deal with the bats later.
I know you gave them my name, Dennis.
I will do you like that Peterson bitch.
You hear me? You shut your mouth.
Shut it.
Tyrone? Shit.
What do you think of when you think of Kathleen? I think of just these wonderful and funny moments.
Hello? She was so funny.
There's this wonderful photo of her in front of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo just looking.
Or just, how we talk about the kids.
Is it strange for you to be in the house where she died? No.
I feel her here.
Just imagine she might walk through that door any moment, just smiling, laughing, just telling me I'm going to be late for something.
Can we take a moment? Yeah.
Come here, Margie.
I know you didn't come home just to hear me talk.
You finally found someone who has to listen to your stories.
Come here.
Everyone, I'd like you to meet my other daughter, Margaret.
- Hi.
- Is it weird being back? Yeah, it was a little weird going through town, like, but it's good to be home.
You guys hungry? Should we make some lunch? Michael, are you sure it's okay to shoot the girls? Sure.
You get used to it faster than you think.
Todd loves it.
Where do you stand? Do you think Michael did it? I really don't know.
Sometimes, I'm convinced he's lying.
But even when I know he's telling the truth, it can sound like a lie.
I mean that 911 call "My wife had an accident.
" He sees his wife looking like a bloody mess and he thinks accident? And then all that crying and screaming His wife was dying right in front of him.
Oh! Please, it was like a movie.
And a bad one.
What did he say to the operator? Huh? What? Huh? Come on.
Give me a break.
It's obvious he did it.
I don't know if it's that obvious.
To believe he could do it is to believe I could do it.
Jean, I believe we all could.
Sorry did you want some pie? Also, I have some bad news.
It seems like half our film is running away.
Jim hardin and the cops are not calling back.
I think the da is scared of us.
It's not too late to pull out and find another story where we can actually get access to both sides.
We continue.
We've kept the office just the way she loved it.
The only things that are gone are the calendar and the diary she had in her desk.
The police took them pretty early on.
What did Mike take? Michael hasn't taken anything.
What about Martha and Margaret? Did they come by? No one's reached out this whole time but you.
I sent in my condolences pretty early on, but once the investigation started, I figured, better to keep my distance.
I don't know why I thought that they'd be interested in this stuff.
Sorry, do you mind if I have a moment alone here? Of course.
Take your time.
Good morning.
- Morning.
- The trial's around the corner.
We gotta control the narrative.
I don't see a way around it, so, the interview would be filmed here, but it will be syndicated to all ABC affiliates.
We can have the eyes and ears of the country.
What you doing? Well, I'm just going through autopsy reports.
That's totally normal.
Nothing's normal anymore.
I know.
I was kidding.
So they want us to do an interview on the news.
- What? - I know.
I don't want to do that.
- I know.
- So, what do you think? The reporter, Sonya Pfeiffer, is a friend, so no curveballs.
This is what Caitlin would be doing for the family if she was here.
we're not sure.
It's just like a lot of people.
Well, seems like you're already getting used to an audience.
Yeah, but it's a news show on TV.
It's, like, immediate.
What if we say the wrong thing? No, you girls will do great.
Alright? Look, you'll have to accept, sooner or later, everyone's going to know who you are.
I'm not going to push you girls to do anything you don't want to do.
You know, let Caitlin and Candace piss on our family if that's what they - Dad.
- No, I mean it.
Fuck them! I'd rather go to prison than put you girls through any more pain.
We're okay.
We'll do what we have to.
I'm going to get it set.
And, Martha, think about dyeing your hair.
Bleach blonde isn't great on camera.
It's really good to see you, man.
I've been thinking about you and your dad.
- Yeah.
- Your mom Yeah, man.
It's been intense.
I'm telling you, man.
Look how tan I am.
Right? I'm fuckin' hot.
Right? Fuck.
That's good shit.
You know, - the thing about my dad, - I love your dad.
is he's people.
You know? What I'm starting to realize is that people are just people.
And they go, and they create these labels.
They just try to categorize people.
What are you talking about? It's just my dad is complicated.
- You wanna do another one? - Yeah.
Dude, I'm telling you, Cabo's so fuckin' sick.
You got to get away from here, man.
Fuck, and I already did, like, all the groundwork and everything.
Timeshare shit there, man.
Like, you can make ten to one fucking on your investment, I'm telling you, dude.
What? Oh fuck.
I'm sorry, Dad, I Imagine people seeing my son getting wasted around town.
They're gonna think we're a family of assholes.
Clayton's the fuckup, not you.
You're my centurion.
I need you focused.
I know.
I'm sorry, Dad.
Now go on up and have a shower.
- You okay? - Yeah.
Just give me a minute, I'll get breakfast ready.
We can do it.
No, it's fine.
Just give me a minute.
What does that mean? Can you forward me the letter? Yes, we will.
Bottom line, though, Caitlin's lawyer was successful in stopping the payments coming from Nortel.
She and her biological father have been identified as the next of kin.
On the life insurance? You shouldn't count on it.
After everything I've done for her.
Greedy bitch.
I can talk to Jackie about refinancing the house when I see her.
Maybe dip into Dad's savings.
My dad's in a nursing home in Reno.
He has some savings that we were going to probably inherit.
It's not much, but Don't be gone too long, Bill.
Please, okay? I need you here.
Don't worry, Mike.
I'll be back soon enough.
Don't worry.
David's a good friend.
I swear I'll make it painless.
You good? Alright.
Well, just, imagine I'm one of the girls and we're, we're getting to know each other.
With the interview, are you going to ask about our, our mom-mom in Germany? No, well, just what you remember.
the good things.
This is Sonya Pfeiffer reporting for WTVD Channel 11 News.
I'm with the daughters of novelist Michael Peterson who is preparing for trial for the murder of his wife Kathleen.
Today, they break their silence on the case in this exclusive interview.
Born to George and Liz Ratliff in Germany in the 1980s, where their father was stationed on a military base, Margaret was only two, Martha not even one, when he died on a mission in Panama.
A year later, their mother died of a brain aneurysm.
Within the course of two years, they lost both their biological parents.
I remember almost nothing from that time.
I only remember what people tell me about that period.
Two of those people were Michael Peterson and his wife at the time, Patty, who were neighbors and close friends.
It was confusing when Michael left Patty for Kathleen.
- Exactly.
- Yeah, confusing but wonderful.
He's an adulterer.
Kathleen became our mom.
He loved her and she loved us.
And the wedding was here.
And you two were bridesmaids? Yeah, we, like, sprinkled rose petals up the stairs on the way to their bedroom.
It was like a movie.
Hello? Hi, this is Margaret Blair.
I'm calling to speak with the DA.
I'm Freda Black.
I'm an ADA here.
I'm sorry to be calling so late, but I've been speaking with God, and he will not allow me to stay silent any longer.
"Speak, Margaret, speak," He said.
I'm sorry.
Who did you say was calling? Margaret Blair.
Liz Ratliff's sister.
Martha and Margie are my nieces.
I need to tell you about their mother's death.
You found another woman at the bottom of the stairs? Liz had been complaining for weeks.
For weeks about these, these migraines she was having.
What the fuck, Mike? We're four weeks out! How could you not tell me? It was 20 years ago! In Germany! Why would I even think of it? I was helping her out with something or other that night, I don't remember what, but I left Liz very much alive and on her way to bed.
The next morning, the girls' nanny, Agnes, woke us up to tell us she'd found Liz at the bottom of the stairs.
The Ratliffs were practically family.
We taught at the same school.
That's it! Liz's autopsy.
It's all there.
Look, I told you, this can't be a coincidence.
I know that he raised you, but he is not good.
That's our dad! You can say those things! He's very manipulative, Margaret.
I haven't even told you half of what we know about Germany.
I can't talk to you anymore.
Beware of false prophets who Jesus Christ, she's crazy.
It is kind of a weird coincidence we've had two moms die at the bottom of the stairs.
So what are you saying? I'm not saying anything.
We just haven't talked about it.
Don't freak out on me.
So you think there's some connection? I can see why Aunt Margaret's suspicious.
Mom died of a brain aneurysm which caused her to fall down the stairs.
It was an accident.
The same way Kathleen was an accident.
Yes, exactly.
And, like, isn't that weird? All of it's weird.
Our dad died mysteriously in Panama.
In fact, where was Mike when 9/11 happened? Stop it, you sound fucking ridiculous.
Well, you're starting to sound like Caitlin.
It's like you don't even remember what happened before Christmas.
Yes, I do.
And then Kathleen died.
And now we have to grow up.
Dad has been there for us always.
He didn't have to take us in, but he did.
That's all that matters.
So just stop questioning everything.
Just stop.
I can't.
I can't! Was it strange for Mike to have been over at Liz's without you? Oh no, not at all.
After George died, Liz needed a man to help around the house.
Well, the DA's going to suggest some infidelity.
You know that, right? Liz and I were good friends.
That's it.
Under no circumstances would she put carnal desires above our friendship.
And as far as Michael's impropriety, at the time, he was never very good at hiding it.
I didn't sleep with Liz.
This is all in German, Mike.
Patty can translate it for you.
It says what I've already told you.
Liz Ratliff died of a brain aneurysm.
We'll get a court-certified translator and turn it all over to the DA.
We don't want to look like we're hiding anything.
Well, I'm not.
I'm going to need to speak with the girls privately.
- By all means.
- No cameras, please.
Mike, can you please.
I'll come get you when this is over.
The girls knew? Not just about the aneurysm, but the stairs? It's essential you're honest with me right now.
Ask them.
Hey, girls! It must feel surreal you're getting pulled into this.
Look, the most important thing to me is the truth.
And if there's anything you want to say about your mother's death, anything at all, now's the time to say it.
Wait, which mom's death? Liz mom.
Your biological mother.
Hey, Mike.
Everything checks out.
I'll stick around in case you need me.
You girls okay? It's us against them.
And they're clearly willing to go as low as possible to hurt us.
And we can't let them.
There are no secrets between us anymore.
Rudolph's already filing a motion to keep Liz Ratliff out.
We can argue the 404(b).
Oh yeah.
Come on in.
I was just thinking about these two girls.
How are yours doing? They're good.
I've been teasing 'em.
They've been eating so much mac and cheese that their hair is going to get curly.
Never heard of that.
They're with Van this week.
Put him through.
Duane, what you got? Peterson was standing over her when he beat her.
The speck of blood on the inside of his shorts? The blood flew upwards.
And that was the last piece.
We've managed to replicate this crime scene to a tee with the blow poke.
You got yourself a murder weapon, sir.
I'm looking forward to testifying for you.
Great work, Duane.
Hot damn.
Send that report.
I knew it.
I could feel it in my gut.
I never told you this before, but, I lost my brother and sisters in a house fire when I was 13.
Jack was ten and my two little sisters, they were even younger.
Sophie-Anne and Mary.
I got out.
But they didn't.
I'm so sorry, Jim.
Terrible things just happen.
You know.
Innocent children can burn up in a fire.
And women can trip and fall down the stairs for no reason.
They can.
Start filing a motion.
We're gonna have to dig her up.
We'll need permission from next of kin.
The girls could say no.
They could.
If they find out she died of natural causes, like the original autopsy said, it's gonna look bad for us.
Or maybe we all find out the truth.
Let the games begin.
"To the esteemed lawyers who are pursuing the prosecution "of our father, Michael Peterson.
"we are writing to convey "our feelings of distress in this matter.
"However, seeing that you have no compassion "for the memory of our mother, "we reluctantly consent to your request "to exhume our mother's body.
"We are confident that you will conclude "what experts concluded almost 20 years ago, "that our mother died of a brain aneurysm "and that our father, Michael Peterson, "will be vindicated of these outrageous claims.
Sincerely yours, Margaret and Martha Ratliff.
" Thank you.
Of course, Dad.
Hold the door, please.
You're going to be smiling in prison soon, you prick.
All rise.
Oyez, oyez, oyez.
This honorable court for the County of Durham is now open and sitting for the dispatch of its business.
The Honorable Judge Orlando Hudson presiding.
God save the state and this honorable court.
You may be seated.
- And good morning.
- Good morning, Your Honor.
This court is now prepared to hear the case of the state versus Michael Iver Peterson.
Hardin, you may proceed with your opening.
Thank you, Your Honor.
Good morning.
In a very real sense, this case is about pretense and appearances.
It's about things not being as they seem.
One, two, three, four.

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