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Episode 3: The Great Dissembler
HBO Max  ·  50 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: May 05, 2022

Directed by: Antonio Campos  |  Written by: Antonio Campos

Official synopsis: As the DA’s office attempts to solidify their case, shocking new details surface about Michael’s past that threaten to derail the defense.

Episode Recap
Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Arnav Srivastava for The Review Geek, May 26, 2022

It is strategy time for both sides. The preparation for trial starts off The Staircase episode 3, which requires gathering evidence and presenting witnesses for the jury. The police start by searching for the missing blow poke from the Peterson household. Martha is revealed to be a homosexual but is not ready to come out, yet. Caitlin has discussions with Fred and a lawyer they have hired. It pertains to her asking for Kathleen’s backpay from Nortel, which is currently being used for Peterson’s bail and legal fees.

A flashback shows Kathleen dealing with a bat stuck in the attic (the same one that surprised and made her fall from the ladder in the previous episode). The Prosecution is struggling to establish infidelity on Peterson’s part to play to motive to kill Kathleen. One of their team members finds a lead – Dennis Rowe (from the last episode’s fundraiser). Michael had become uncomfortable when Rowe was introduced to the group he was chatting with at the party and left the scene. Now Rowe, claims he had intercourse with Michael multiple times. This starts a bit of a rift between the brothers, Michael, and Bill. The latter reveals that he is taking two weeks off to see his family back home. Meanwhile, at SBI, the team is doing everything in its power to prove that Kathleen was hit by something and bludgeoned to death. We see multiple molds of her head being used to test out the thesis. Rowe lists out the men he has slept with to date. To DA Hardin’s surprise, he finds a lot of donors to his race in it. This makes him reluctant to put Rowe on the stand and out his acquaintances.

Peterson’s unfaithfulness is revealed in the flashbacks where his relationship with Kathleen is a hit and miss. He has oral sex with Tyrone in an Adult Entertainment shop. In the present, Tyrone warns Dennis against associating him with the trial. The documentary is in progress. Off-camera, we see the two documentarians arguing between themselves about whether Michael is innocent. They have contrasting views. Martha and Margaret agree to do an interview to show Michael in a positive light. Caitlin and Fred are successful in diverting the Norte payments to them as next of kin. The Peterson side worries about affording the trial.

The interview airs and Margaret Blair (the lady on the phone from Christmas in episode 2), turns out to be Liz’s (the biological mother of Martha and Margaret) sister. In less than sensational fashion than the original documentary, it is revealed that Liz was found dead in mysterious circumstances just like Kathleen at the bottom of a staircase. Rudolf and co are even tenser now given the trial are four weeks away. The DA now has this information; the sisters now begin thinking about the weird coincidence. Duane from SBI (the guy from the grocery store in the last episode) calls DA Hardin and lets him know that he is ready to testify against Mime in the trial. He has finally figured out how Michael killed Kathleen. The Prosecution decides to request to exhume Liz’s body with the sisters’ consent. The trial finally starts on 1 July 2003.

Guest Cast: Trini Alvarado (Patty Peterson), Cullen Moss (Jim Hardin), Frank Feys (Denis Poncet), Jason Davis (Fred Atwater), Teri Wyble (Sonya Pfeiffer), Donny Boaz (Tyrone Lacour), Myke Holmes (Duane Deaver), Morgan Henard (Dennis Rowe), Eric Lee (Judge Orlando Hudson), Daniela Lee (Devon), Andre Martin (Yves), Deena Wade (Margaret Blair), James Healy Jr. (Steven Blair), Dustin Lewis (Male ADA), Paul Teal (Brad Wolgamott), A.K. Benninghofen (Charlene), Kara Young (Yasmine), Karson Kern (Nate), Nick McCallum (James the Masseur), Scott Daniel Johnson (Jay Trehy), Maurice P. Kerry (Officer), Ashlee Heath (Texas Newswoman), Joe Komara (Bar Patron), Jason Saucier (Exterminator), Mark Helms (Bailiff), Lisa Jolley (Court Clerk), Kevin Sizemore (Mark Zamperini), Ryan Lewis (Bruce Campbell)