Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

The Ethics of True Crime Adaptation: The Staircase

Larke-Walsh, George S. and Chaplin, Elayne (2023) The Ethics of True Crime Adaptation: The Staircase. In: BAFTSS Annual Conference, April 3-5, 2023, University of Lincoln, UK. (Submitted)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


This paper explores the ‘migration’ of a true crime story, from crime scene, to book, to documentary and fiction series under the conference topic ‘Ethics’. It uses the term migration in the fluid sense described by Westerstahl Stenport and Traylor (2015) and Leitch (2022) wherein content “migrates from, to, and between genre, medium and device” (Westerstahl Stenport and Traylor: 75) and considers this process in respect of the ethics of adaptation specifically between documentary and fiction.
If we consider the adaptations of The Staircase as repositories of interconnected and competing information about events, is there any point in discussing their ethics and the presentation of truths, or is the purpose of such adaptations to simply “add new properties to a social artefact” (90). Do they “encourage members of their audience to return, more richly informed” (Leitch:5), or do they cancel each other out?
The texts discussed have a symbiotic relationship in that they all engage with an ‘original’ event that is ill-defined at best. Arguably, the appeal of these texts is that, while the definitive truth remains elusive, each text offers moments, glances, gestures or comments that tease audiences towards a solution. The ethics of these moments, or ‘hint’ markers if you will, are specific to each format and this paper explores their use and affect in practice.

Full text not available from this repository.

More Information

Depositing User: George Larke-Walsh


Item ID: 16118

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for George S. Larke-Walsh: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 15 May 2023 16:34
Last Modified: 15 May 2023 16:34


Author: George S. Larke-Walsh ORCID iD
Author: Elayne Chaplin

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item