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)