This article includes spoilers for The Staircase and other true-crime documentaries, I guess.
In the lead-up to the Netflix release of Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's 2004 series The Staircase, "the owl theory" has popped up in conversation more than a few times. Apparently a convincing argument outlined in the true-crime docuseries, the evidence suggests that the author Michael Peterson didn't kill his wife, Kathleen Peterson; she died after falling down the stairs in a freak owl attack accident. I haven't seen The Staircase, but because of Wikipedia's 700 words on the theory, plus all of its external citations, I can talk about it like I have, more or less. Some people might say I spoiled The Staircase for myself.
Spoiler culture "privileges fiction over nonfiction," as critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote in the defunct Chicago Reader more than a decade ago. That hasn't really changed in the loud, bludgeoning discourse over spoilers since, but it's birthed a prescribed etiquette between the "knowledge-power" dynamic of those who have and have not seen that you'd be an asshole not to follow: Don't blow it in a headline. Lead a review with a courtesy warning. But in the case of true-crime series like The Staircase -- or Evil Genius or Wild, Wild Country, or any other streaming series for that matter -- do the same rules apply?