In The Staircase Episode Seven, “Seek, and Ye Shall,” directed by Antonio Campos, Sophie Brunet (Juliette Binoche) figures out that she doesn’t know the real Michael Peterson (Colin Firth). On February 24, 2017, Michael refuses to take the Alford Plea because he doesn’t want to admit any involvement in Kathleen’s murder. Unfortunately, David can’t convince Michael to change his mind even if it sends him back to prison. Sophie tries to tempt Michael with the fact that they can leave Durham forever if he takes the Plea, but the author wants the American justice system to admit their mistake. He asks to speak to Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (Vincent Vermignon) alone.
In June 2010, attorney Evelyn Ivins (Deja Dee) from the Project for Actual Innocence in North Carolina investigates a mysterious man’s wrongful conviction in Durham. After speaking with disgraced former prosecutor Freda Black (Parker Posey) and others, she learns that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) frequently withholds test results that could help the defense.
So, Evelyn helps exonerate Greg Taylor (Daniel P. Wilson), who served nineteen years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Unfortunately, SBI and the Durham prosecutor’s office have been conspiring to put defendants in prison unlawfully, so Evelyn announces during a press conference that she plans to audit all their cases up to the present day. After Bill Peterson (Tim Guinee) sees Evelyn’s press conference on the news, he meets with David, who promises to help free his little brother for no money.
Meanwhile, Sophie learns that Dennis Rowe (Morgan Henard) was recently murdered, in a similar way to how Kathleen Peterson (Toni Collette) died. Both Dennis and Kathleen suffered blunt force trauma to the head but had no skull fractures. Kathleen’s death is no longer an anomaly. After reviewing footage from The Staircase docu-series, Sophie realizes that Dennis is the same guy who said he slept with Michael during the trial. She admits to herself Michael lied when he didn’t have sex with the deceased man. Sophie interviews Detective Art Holland (Cory Scott Allen) about Kathleen’s murder. Sophie reveals her theory that the same man killed Dennis and Kathleen.
The detective mentions that their primary suspect is Tyrone Lacour (Donny Baez), another man that Michael knew carnally. The author took Tyrone to his home, explaining why there was no sign of a break-in. Unfortunately, Detective Holland investigates the lead but soon realizes Tyrone couldn’t have killed Kathleen because he was in prison when she died.
In December 2001, Kathleen suffers a nervous breakdown after learning that Nortel Network’s stocks plummeted so low that she lost her retirement fund. As a result, she and Michael won’t be able to retire in Paris. They may even need to downsize. Unfortunately, Michael refuses to deal with their financial crisis logically. “Seek and Ye Shall” ends with all of Michael’s children and grandchildren returning to Durham in 2001 for the retrial hearing.
Detective Holland forces Sophie to realize that Michael is not the innocent prince charming that she created in her mind. During this episode, Sophie struggles because Michael will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison. In addition, she hates Durham. Nevertheless, Sophie holds on to the hope that Tyrone killed Kathleen because then Michael could be proven innocent and come home with her to Paris.
Throughout “Seek and Ye Shall,” the editor learns that Michael lied about not cheating on Kathleen with loads of men, but she can hold on to the fact that the evidence will finally prove Michael’s innocence. Unfortunately, Sophie’s meeting with Holland at the diner destroys her last hope.
The scene starts with Sophie anxiously waiting at a booth in a diner as Hollands walks in wearing a police jacket. Holland greets Sophie as he sits down across the table from her. Right away, she knows that the detective has “bad news.” Holland says the “Lacour Theory was good, Sophie.” The film editor questions how he knows that Tyrone was not involved in Kathleen’s death. Holland explains that Tyrone was in jail at the time Kathleen was murdered. Sophie hides her devastation on hearing Tyron’s Albi.
Holland pushes Sophie to admit that she knows that Michael beat Kathleen to death. She didn’t fall down the stairs. The editor’s “Lacour Theory” proves that she knows that Kathleen was murdered. Sophie won’t stop shaking her head. She refuses to say that it’s not possible Kathleen’s death was accidental. Sophie won’t let go of her dream of living happily ever after with Michael. Holland calmly explains that Kathleen’s death can’t be murder and an accident. Sophie slumps on her side of the booth.
The detective states his opinion is based on evidence. Sophie argues that life is not so black and white. She brings up the fact the police never investigated the “Owl Theory .” Holland says that the logical answers are there for Sophie to see if she wants to examine the evidence. The film editor holds back tears as she essentially asks the detective to leave. Holland exits the diner while Sophie covers her face.
KATHLEEN TELLS THE TRUTH
Kathleen finally tells Michael how she feels during their celebratory Chinese dinner out. Kathleen treats her husband to dinner because one of his books has been optioned for ten thousand dollars. During the dinner, she reveals to Michael that they lost a lot of money because the Nortel stocks plummeted. As a result, the couple won’t be able to use her retirement fund to move to Paris in ten years. All their dreams are dead. Michael only cares about the fact that they are poor. Kathleen cries about the personal time with their family that she sacrificed to make enough money to move across the pond. She wasted years of her life for nothing.
Michael argues that they will be able to continue to finance their luxurious lifestyle because of his movie option. Both the author and Kathleen care about creating the perfect family image, but she lives in reality. She can’t believe that Michael can think that some Hollywood producer will make him a millionaire based on one movie adaptation. The author refuses to let go of control by admitting that she is right.
Kathleen points out that the only person who could fix this situation is her, but she doesn’t have to strength to claw her way out of this financial hole. Michael doesn’t bring any money into their current relationship. The author realizes that he is looking like the villain. He tries to turn the tables by making Kathleen’s boring, stressful behavior the problem.
Kathleen punches back hard. She points out that she does everything for their family. Kathleen works long hours at Nortel and emotionally & financially supports his children while completing most of the homemaking duties. Michael only drains their joint bank account to project this charming, wealthy, talented author persona. Kathleen calls him a “boy” because he doesn’t do anything to make his dreams for them as a couple comes true. The whole time Michael silently seethes behind his calm demeanor. They are not the perfect loving couple that Michael described during the filming of The Staircase docu-series.
What does Michael have to say to Jean-Xavier in private? When will Sophie realize Michal’s selfishness hurts everybody around him? Let us know your thoughts on The Staircase miniseries so far before the season finale next week.