Finale Of The Staircase Ends With Peterson Instructing His Amazon Alexa To Play His Favorite Leonard Cohen Song, “Everybody Knows”

When we meet Peterson a final time, in the three new episodes that Netflix has added this year, he is negotiating a plea bargain. He no longer spouts eloquent turns of phrase, or drops witticisms during legal meetings. Instead, he seems exhausted and beaten. He shouts at his Amazon Alexa to play his favorite Leonard Cohen song, “Everybody Knows,” which is a bleak dirge about systems being rigged, about the world never falling in one’s favor. It’s a bitter song, but almost funny. And in fact, Peterson does get the last laugh—after entering an Alford plea in February of 2017, he is now a free man, convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to time already served.

How The Staircase Defined True Crime Series by Rachel Syme (The New Republic: June 11, 2018)

The first 12 episodes of Netflix’s true-crime documentary The Staircase all end the same way. After an especially haunting or lingering bit of footage, the end credits — a montage of old photographs of the Peterson family in happier times set to somber string music — begin to roll. The thirteenth and final episode unexpectedly changes this formula, scoring the credits with a different song and ending with an intriguing, thematically loaded post-credits scene…

It an interesting juxtaposition when considering the lead-up, which is equally somber. The last scenes before the credits show Peterson, in his home without an upcoming court date looming over his head, putting on a song for the French documentary team that’s been filming his story for a decade. It’s Leonard Cohen’s 1988 track “Everybody Knows,” and Peterson says it’s his favorite song. The camera lingers on Peterson as he wordlessly listens to the music, and then the credits roll as Cohen’s raspy voice replace the usual string music.

‘The Staircase’ Ends With an Extremely Meaningful Post-Credits Scene by James Grebey (Inverse: June 11, 2018)

“Some guys just stumble into money. Like Leonard Cohen into the Chelsea Hotel.” Chuck Rhoades – Billions S3E11

There must be a Leonard Cohen fan or two working on Billions. Not only were two of Cohen’s songs, You Want It Darker and Treaty, employed to great effect in the S3E3 soundtrack (see Billions “Patrick Bateman, Bud Fox Hybrid Wannabe” Episode Features Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker), but the dialogue of Kompenso (S3E11) serves up a Leonard Cohen allusion.via  United States Attorney for Southern District of New York State Chuck Rhoades, played by Paul Giamatti.

Chuck: Is this how one runs a service business?
Ira: Whatever I’m doing, it seems to be working. Because I invested in one. And now I got five.
Chuck: Ah. Some guys just stumble into money. Like Leonard Cohen into the Chelsea Hotel.

“I got this call from a chap called Robert Altman. And he says, ‘Listen, you know, I love those songs, I’ve built a film around them, can I use them?’ I said, ‘Who are you?'” Leonard Cohen’s Appreciation Of Brewster McCloud Prompts Him To Sign On For McCabe & Mrs Miller

Were you consulted about the songs in McCabe?

I was living in Franklin, in Tennessee, and I’d come into Nashville just to see a movie–we’d been living out in the sticks for a long time. And I saw this movie called Brewster McCloud. Have you seen it? It’s a very, very beautiful and I would say brilliant film. I sat through it twice. Maybe I just hadn’t seen a movie in a long time, but it was really fine. I was in the studio that night, in Nashville, and I got this call from a chap called Robert Altman. And he says, ‘Listen, you know, I love those songs, I’ve built a film around them, can I use them?’ I said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘Well, I did M*A*S*H, that’s my film.’ I said, ‘I know it was enormously successful, but I haven’t seen it. Is there anything else that you’ve done that I might know?’ ‘Well, I did a picture that’s been completely buried, that you wouldn’t know about, it was called Brewster McCloud.’ I said, ‘Listen, I just came out of the theatre, I saw it twice, you can have anything of mine you want!’ I did do some additional music–only one thing that was used, I did a guitar background for a little soliloquy by Warren Beatty; it’s just barely perceptible but that is one of the nicest things I ever did, I love that piece. Then I saw the picture, the finished picture without the music, the soundtrack hadn’t been completed. And I said, ‘Listen, man, I’ve got to tell you–if we ever work together again I want you to know you can get an honest opinion from me–I don’t like it.’ He was quite hurt, as I would be too, but… Then I went to the theater in Montreal, and I saw the picture with the music and everything, and it was great! I called Altman in London, it took me two days to track him down, and told him, ‘Forget everything I said, it’s really beautiful.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen: The Romantic In A Ragpicker’s Trade by Paul Williams (Crawdaddy, March 1975).

More posts about Leonard Cohen’s music in McCabe & Mrs Miller are found at

Leonard Cohen Songs Key In Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Singers Of Mercy: How McCabe & Mrs Miller Changed The Western Soundtrack by Charlie Brigden (The Quietus: April 29th, 2018) is an insightful essay on Altman’s use of Leonard Cohen’s music in his landmark movie. An excerpt follows but the full article, available at the link, is recommended reading:

‘Sisters of Mercy’ introduces McCabe’s prostitutes and notably the male reactions, the gawping construction workers and McCabe’s own shyster approach to it all that comes to a head when Alma stabs one of the punters. Cohen’s music just lingers as it’s clear McCabe is in over his head, and it’s no coincidence that this immediately precedes the arrival of Mrs Miller. Mrs Miller’s theme is ‘Winter Lady’, and we first hear it echoed in her smoky yellow room, post-opium session, but it’s used beautifully when she stands outside in the falling snow, scared at the inevitable fate of her and McCabe, Cohen uttering “you chose your journey long before you came across this highway”.

More McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Other posts about Leonard Cohen’s music in McCabe & Mrs. Miller and video clips of Cohen’s music in that film at 

Leonard Cohen & Lian Lunson Share Special “My Mirrored Twin” Seats At The 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening Of I’m Your Man Documentary

Leonard Cohen (the subject of the documentary) & Lian Lunson (the director) both showed up for the premiere of “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man” on Saturday June 24,  2006 at the John Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood. Lian describes what happened next:

This screening was the only public screening Leonard attended. It was a windy night at the Ford amphitheater and Leonard and i sat alone behind the screen with a bottle of wine. The audience could not see us. And, because we were watching the film from behind the screen the film was reversed. It was beautiful to see it that way.

Thanks to Lian Lunson for her charming account of this scene and for permission to use the photo atop this post.

“Urban Transport Planning” Episode Of The Americans Features Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love

Typically, I hear about Leonard Cohen songs being used in TV shows or movies from fans. In this case, I discovered that Dance Me To The End Of Love was featured in the third episode of the sixth and final season of the FX network‘s highly rated, highly popular series, The Americans, from two online sites linking to Cohencentric posts dealing with concentration camps as the origin of that song.

The Americans Recap: The War at Home by Scott Tobias (Vulture: April 11, 2018):

The closing song is Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love,” played over scenes of Elizabeth strangling a security guard and Philip meeting with Oleg at the park. Cohen claimed the song was inspired by the Holocaust. Here it gives a sufficient impression of finality.

Can you come into the kitchen? The Americans would like a word by Erik Adams (AV/TV Club: April 11, 2018):

The Americans Soundtrack Report, Week Three: B. Elizabeth’s murder streak continues, but the show’s Talking Heads streak ends. As far as consolation prizes go, it’s tough to beat “Dance Me To The End Of Love,” a Leonard Cohen composition whose origin story is gloomy even by Leonard Cohen standards.

Credit Due Department: Image atop post Source, Fair use, Wikipedia

Billions “Patrick Bateman, Bud Fox Hybrid Wannabe” Episode Features Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

Almost all the online recaps of the “Patrick Bateman, Bud Fox Hybrid Wannabe” episode of Showtime’s Billions note the inclusion of Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker. Excerpts from three such articles follow:

Bryan from the Bronx is surely not going to let his new knowledge about Chuck framing Axe go. With Dake firmly in denial, is this where they’ll involve that new ADA brought in during the premiere episode? Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” plays out the episode with the following lyrics: “If you are the dealer, I want out of the game.” We’re thinking Bryan wants out of the game.

Billions Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: “Patrick Bateman, Bud Fox Hybrid Wannabe” vy Molly Stout (Refinery 29: April 8, 2018)

As Ira is stealing his now fiancee’s heart all over again with the gorgeous engagement ring, courtesy of Mr. Robert Axelrod, Billions steals my heart all over again with this genius episode ending with a song by a true genius. Leonard Cohen’s “swan song” You Want it Darker sums it all up and gives you chills.

Billions on Showtime, Season 3 Episode 3: A Generation Too Late (Fan Fun with Damian Lewis April 9, 2018)

Leonard Cohen croons on the soundtrack as Axe cashes in and Ira slides his ill-gotten ring onto his fiancée’s eager finger. Funny and fast-paced though it is, “Billions” likes it quite dark indeed.

New York Times

Leonard Cohen Inspires Film: Death Of A Ladies’ Man

It is reported that Gabriel Byrne is to star in Death of a Ladies’ Man, a new drama that takes its title from the Leonard Cohen song and album of the same name, and which is inspired by the late music legend’s work. The Sunday Times reports that the film, an Irish-Canadian co-production, tells the story of a wayward Irish academic living in Canada who is diagnosed with a brain tumour as his second marriage is coming to an end. Returning to Ireland to finally write his novel, the professor falls in love again. Death of a Ladies’ Man is set to feature several of Cohen’s songs and he is said to have given his blessing to the film before his death in November 2016.

From He’s your man. Gabriel Byrne for Leonard Cohen-inspired film (RTE: Feb 25 2018). The entire article is available at the link.