The Staircase Recap [Finale] Episode 8 Ending Explained! Who Killed Kathleen?

The finale of HBO Max’s crime series ‘The Staircase,’ recounts Michael Peterson’s retrial hearing after Evelyn Ivins discovers that SBI analyst Duane Deaver’s findings are not reliable. At the same time, David Rudolf tries to persuade Michael to take an Alford plea. Michael is given a fresh trial by Judge Orlando Hudson. Michael makes a critical decision about the Alford plea that will affect his future. The episode comes to a close with revelations that have an impact on Michael’s relationship with Sophie Brunet, as well as a pivotal discovery about the former’s past with Kathleen. So, Let’s read The Staircase Finale Recap

The Staircase Recap [Finale] Episode 8

‘America’s Sweetheart or: Time Over Time’ is the title of the finale episode. In this episode, Jean-Xavier questions Michael about a secret he had kept hidden from Sophie and everyone around him. Michael requests that the director keep the discovery from Sophie so that she can see it for herself. Michael’s retrial hearing brings Margaret, Martha, Todd, and Clayton together. Candace testifies at the hearing that her sister’s killer should not be retried. Duane Deaver’s testimony in court is not believable, according to Evelyn Ivins. David Rudolf establishes that the analyst lied about his experience under oath.

The Staircase Recap [Finale] Episode 8

Despite Candace’s feelings, Judge Orlando Hudson gives Michael a new trial due to Deaver’s influential but inaccurate testimony during the previous trial. Judge Hudson releases Michael from prison with a tracking anklet after granting a new trial. In parallel, Michael enters an Alford plea in 2017 and pleads guilty to the voluntary manslaughter of Kathleen while maintaining his innocence according to the terms of the agreement. He leaves the courtroom as a free man, having already served the mandatory prison sentence. Kathleen’s finances were affected by the Nortel stock’s decline in flashback sequences. She talked about going on a trip with Candace, but she opted against it when the latter didn’t share her enthusiasm. Kathleen and Michael attended a private ball.

The Staircase Finale Recap: What Was Michael Hiding from Sophie and Everyone?

Michael’s bisexuality is questioned during Kathleen’s inquiry and subsequent trial. The prosecution theorizes that Michael killed Kathleen when she confronted him about his true sexual orientation and affairs after learning about them the night of her death, based on his affairs with other men, the pornography recovered from his desktop pc, and the statements of Wolgamott and Dennis Rowe. Michael’s counter-argument is that Kathleen was aware of the hypothesis and accepted it long before her death. Michael maintains that Kathleen had no cause to question him about the same throughout the inquiry, prosecution, and jail.

Kathleen had already accepted Michael’s sexual orientation and extramarital same-sex relationships, therefore there was no dispute between them, according to Michael. The claim persuades Sophie, Michael’s lawyer Rudolf, and Michael’s family that Michael had no reason to murder Kathleen. Michael, on the other hand, confesses in the interview Jean conducts at the start of the episode that Kathleen was unaware of his sexuality or relationships with other men. He admits that he has been lying about it all along. Sophie is stunned by the news, as she accepts Michael’s statement that he is blameless. Michael abruptly becomes a liar in front of her, creating doubts about his version of the circumstances that led to Kathleen’s murder.

The Staircase Recap: Who Killed Kathleen? Did Michael assassinate Kathleen?

Michael’s admission that he never told Kathleen about his bisexuality or same-sex encounters casts doubt on whether she learned about them on the night she died, as the prosecution claims. Kathleen questioned Michael about his bisexuality in a flashback sequence, wondering why he didn’t inform her about a certain something. Michael said that after she entered his life, he drifted farther and further away from his bisexual identity. Michael claims he didn’t lie, but he didn’t share “everything.” Kathleen is seen crying and asking the same thing again in the flashback sequence, implying that they’ve just battled over it.

If Kathleen had discovered Michael’s bisexuality through his pc and they had a serious dispute, he might have kept it hidden from the authorities, solicitors, and his family. Kathleen may have gotten into a fight with her husband and rushed upstairs, only to fall down the stairs and die, according to Michael’s version of her death. Even if he didn’t kill her, the battle is a clear motivation, therefore he may have opted not to mention it so that no one would suspect him. Michael may have concluded that in order to have a battling chance in court and to enlist the help of his family, he needs to keep the potential struggle a secret. However, he might have killed Kathleen on the spur of the moment, as the prosecution claims, as a result of the altercation. Because there isn’t enough clear evidence or witnesses, it’s impossible to say for sure whether he killed Kathleen.

The Staircase Recap: Do Michael and Sophie End Their Relationship?

Michael leaves the courtroom as a free man after pleading an Alford plea. Sophie encourages Michael to get ready for their trip to Paris, which they had already planned. Sophie fantasizes about a life with Kathleen in a city far away from the memory of her death. Michael, on the other hand, is hesitant to visit Paris. He tells Sophie that she must go alone and that he will return in a week. Michael wishes to take advantage of his newfound freedom by spending time with his children and grandchildren as their father and grandfather, respectively. He is interested in spending time with them and thinks that they require his assistance. Michael also refuses to take off his wedding band and insists that Kathleen is still a part of his life.


Sophie, who has given so much to wage a struggle for him, is enraged by these considerations. She believes Michael is ignoring and avoiding her, and she accuses him of “cutting her out” of his life. They begin to dispute, and Sophie discovers that Michael lied to Kathleen about Kathleen knowing about and embracing his bisexuality and same-sex encounters. Michael, rather than being her boyfriend, becomes a liar in her eyes. Michael finally informs his children that he will not be moving to Paris, implying that he has broken up with Sophie. His desire to live with his family instead of making a new life with Sophie in another place appears to be the end of their romance. Sophie may not be willing to make amends with him because she is aware of his deception.

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Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson is the senior news writer for TV Acute. She spends too much money on collectables and is enamored with movies, comics, and television series. She loves binge-watching and can spend hours talking about movies and TV shows. She can immerse herself into a good story no matter the genre or form and only come out from it when she's had her fill. When she's not writing, she's probably cooking or exploring new places. You can follow her daily exploits on Twitter and Facebook.

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