The Staircase has one of the most shocking scenes of any show in recent years
TV series rarely show a scene like this so realistically.
If you're going into a TV show about a famous murder, then you should probably be prepared to see that murder.
Even if you didn't know anything about The Staircase - the dramatised version of the investigation into the death of Kathleen Peterson (played by Toni Collette) - then the series lays its cards out on the table almost immediately: police cordon off the lifeless, blood-covered body of Kathleen at the bottom of the stairs in her home, with her clearly distraught husband Michael (played by Colin Firth) in a state of shock in the next room.
So if you haven't seen the 2004 original documentary series of the same name covering the same topic, this new show doesn't waste much time in getting you up to speed.
The new mini-series makes the most of its creative licence, but results in one of the most shocking scenes shown on television in recent years. If you don't want to know any more, then skip the rest of this and know that the first few episodes of show are available to watch on Sky and NOW right now.
In the second episode, once Michael has been charged with his wife's murder, and he has hired his legal representatives (played by Dopesick star Michael Stuhlbarg), they begin to casually discuss their set of hypothesised circumstances around Kathleen's accidental death.
Violence in television is nothing new, and we've probably seen every type of violence there is already, but there is something about Kathleen's death scene - visually demonstrated by the show while the legal team talk it out - that is absolutely haunting.
The combination of Collette's fantastic performance and the minimalist approach of director Antonio Campos ends up giving us this absolute gut-punch of a scene that plays out all too realistically, both shockingly violent and frighteningly brief.
The remainder of the series may revisit this scene, perhaps from the prosecutor's perspective, showing us a version of Michael viciously murdering his wife, but in some ways the shock of that will be lessened, because we'd be mentally prepared for that. A murder scene is going to end with a murder.
But a wife simply walking up the stairs of her home and then, seconds later, lying bloody and struggling for breath at the bottom of them due to nothing more than a slip of the foot... it doesn't sound like much, but nothing can truly prepare you for that shock.
The first three episodes of The Staircase are available to watch with a NOW Entertainment Membership right now.
Clip via NOW