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The Staircase Episode 4 Recap and Ending Explained

The fourth episode of HBO Max’s crime series ‘The Staircase,’ titled ‘Common Sense,’ revolves around Michael Peterson’s trial. As the trial nears its conclusion, the prosecution and defense question many key witnesses. For his documentary, Jean-Xavier interviews an unexpected person regarding Michael. Clayton refuses to leave his father despite Todd’s objections and discovers crucial information related to Kathleen’s murder case. Meanwhile, Michael is haunted by the past when someone close to Elizabeth testifies against him. The episode concludes with an astonishing development that has a significant impact on Michael’s life. Here’s our opinion on the situation! SPOILERS FOLLOW.

Recap of The Staircase Episode 4

Jean-Xavier interviews Sophie about Michael at the start of ‘Common Sense.’ The prosecution’s continued emphasis on Michael’s bisexuality is causing problems for the defense. Kathleen’s autopsyist, Dr. Deborah Radisch, testifies that she was most likely murdered. After submitting multiple autopsy files of people who were battered to death, Rudolf claims that it is practically impossible to die like that without cracking the skull or harming the brain, which Kathleen did not. Agnes, Martha and Margaret’s nanny, who resided with the Ratliff family when they were in Germany with the Petersons, testifies against Michael regarding Elizabeth Ratliff’s death.

Rudolf introduces Henry Lee, the private analyst he and Michael hired to refute blood spatter analyst Duane Deaver’s testimony that the blood marks on the crime scene indicate murder. Clayton travels to Durham to see his father. Clayton discovers the blow poke that was used in their house while tinkering on a car in the garage. He dials Michael’s number, who informs Rudolf that the “suspected murder weapon” is in his garage. The lawyer shows the poke to the jury, emphasizing the lack of blood and other suspicious markings in the material to demonstrate that his client did not murder his wife.

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What Is the Jury’s Verdict on The Staircase Episode 4? Is Michael responsible? Did Michael murder Kathleen?

Michael is found guilty of Kathleen’s murder by the jury. Even if Rudolf successfully refutes the prosecution’s theory that Kathleen was murdered by Michael, Freda fights the introduction of the evidence by emphasizing Michael’s bisexuality and extramarital affairs once more. Rather than presenting conclusive evidence or testimony, the prosecution focuses on portraying Michael as an unethical human capable of murder. When Kathleen’s sister Candace says that Michael and Kathleen’s marriage was failing, the theory gathers traction.

The focus on Michael’s bisexuality, extramarital affairs, and Elizabeth’s death appear to affect the jury’s decision. Despite the errors of the prosecution’s hypotheses, witness testimonies, and evidence, they eventually think Michael murdered Kathleen after she discovered his bisexuality. The prosecution’s allegation that such a discovery caused a disagreement between the couple, causing Michael to kill Kathleen, becomes the basis for the jury’s decision. Michael and Rudolf wait for the decision, which reveals that the former has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The prosecution and defense both fail to establish their theory in front of the jury from the outset of the trial. The inaccuracy of evidence and testimony, as well as the abundance of “possibilities,” complicate Michael’s trial even further. However, Jim and Freda’s unsurprising trump card, Michael’s sexual orientation, jeopardizes Rudolf’s chances of obtaining a favorable decision for his client. Nonetheless, the prosecution wins the case despite the absence of direct evidence that Michael murdered Kathleen or the discovery of a murder weapon.

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What is the nature of Sophie’s relationship with Michael?

Sophie is the editor of Jean-documentary Xavier’s on Michael and his trial. Jean sends the tape to France after shooting a large section for Sophie to begin editing. She begins to lose track of time as she watches and listens to Michael through the tape. Sophie’s time and energy spent with Michael leads her to assume that the man in front of her on the television is not a murderer. She writes a lengthy letter to Michael in prison, stating her conviction that he did not murder his wife. Sophie’s letter to Michael encourages her to agree to be his partner.

Sophie, as depicted in the show’s opening moments, becomes a key figure in Michael’s life. Despite the fact that the nature of their relationship is unknown, Sophie’s fondness and warmth toward him indicate that they are much more than two acquaintances or even friends. Sophie and Michael’s unclear relationship is founded on her belief that she has seen and listened to him long enough — or longer than anybody else — to trust in his assertion that he is innocent.

The Staircase Episode 4 Recap and Ending Explained
The Staircase Episode 4 Recap and Ending Explained
The Staircase Episode 4 Recap and Ending Explained

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