Netflix Picks Up True Crime Classic 'The Staircase,' Greenlights Duplass Brothers' 'Evil Genius'

The streaming giant has acquired Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's documentary series, including three newly shot episodes, alongside Jay and Mark Duplass' four-part doc on the "pizza bomber heist."
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix has jumped on The Staircase and bought into the Duplass Brothers' Evil Genius.

The streaming giant Wednesday said it was doubling down on true crime, acquiring the acclaimed documentary series The Staircase from Oscar-winning filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and greenlighting a four-part doc from Jay and Mark Duplass, Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist.

Lestrade's original series, which followed the trial of crime novelist Michael Peterson, accused of murdering his wife, aired on ABC in 2004. The director recently revisited the story, following Peterson as he faces his final trial, producing three new hourlong episodes, which will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 28. It's produced by Matthieu Belghiti and Lestrade for What's Up Films. Netflix will screen the original Staircase and the three new episodes this summer.

Evil Genius purports to investigate the truth behind the so-called pizza bomber heist in Erie, Pa., in 2003, when a robbery gone wrong led to a very public murder that capture the nation’s attention as a bizarre collection of Midwestern hoarders, outcasts and lawbreakers played cat-and-mouse with the FBI. At its center is a middle-aged mastermind named Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong — a former town beauty, now a woman grappling with mental illness. Fifteen years later, Evil Genius reveals there’s more to the conspiracy and murders than was ever thought.

Barbara Schroeder wrote and co-directs Evil Genius with Trey Borzillieri. The latter also is an executive producer, along together with Mark and Jay Duplass, Josh Braun and Dan Braun.