Michael makes a frantic 911 call reporting Kathleen has fallen down the stairs of their Durham, NC home. But when the district attorney brings murder charges, members of Michael's blended family must choose whose side they're on and which version of events to believe.
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.
After posting bail, Michael and his high-powered attorney David Rudolf piece together their defence. 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.
In the months preceding Kathleen's death, Michael continues to lead a double life as the Petersons contend with financial woes. In 2002, while DA Jim Hardin struggles to locate a key piece of evidence, a coincidence from Michael's past threatens to derail the defence.
In 2003, the Petersons' eldest son returns home and unwittingly makes a critical discovery. Michael's fate hangs in the balance as the trial comes to a close and years later, his new partner, Sophie, reflects on the path that led her to become enmeshed in the case.
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2004. In the aftermath of the verdict, Michael and his family struggle with the court's decision. In France, Jean and his producer Denis butt heads over who's side of the story they are telling, while the documentary's editor, Sophie, strikes up an unlikely friendship.
An ill-fated 2001 Thanksgiving leaves Kathleen stressed and Margaret with questions. 5 years later, a far-fetched theory inspires Sophie to launch her own investigation. Then, in 2017, Michael must decide whether to compromise his principles in exchange for his freedom.
In 2001, Kathleen prepares for a Christmas to remember despite the family's ever-mounting financial woes. Years later, Sophie continues her quest to prove Michael's innocence after a body with similar injuries to Kathleen's arrives in the county morgue.
In 2011, the Peterson children rally around their father as David angles for a retrial. Six years later, Michael faces yet another hearing that may finally answer open questions about his first trial and Kathleen's death - and Sophie comes to terms with a revelation.