If you haven’t watched Landscapers yet, you’ve got to watch Landscapers.
Starring Olivia Colman and David Thewlis, the series follows devoted couple Susan and Christopher Edwards, who in episode one return to England from France after a pair of bodies are found buried in a back garden.
The story is based on true events, that which were reported in the UK eight years ago when the pair were found guilty of murdering Susan’s parents, draining their bank account, and burying the bodies in their own back garden.
The murders went undetected for 15 years until a tip off led police in Nottingham to dig up the garden and make the discovery. Susan and Christopher returned from France following correspondence with the police, penniless and adamant that they were not guilty of murder.
Landscapers has been described most aptly as a truly original crime series, which it is.
While it includes the many tropes of the murder drama – the intense interrogation, the grisly deaths, the questions around truths and lies – it also provides something different. A new way of storytelling that isn’t liner, and not quite based in reality either.
Written by Ed Sinclair (Colman’s husband and fellow actor), the series uses flashbacks, classic Hollywood narrative styles, and a totally fictionalised world to present Susan and Christopher’s obsession with each other – and their beloved Hollywood memorabilia.
Breaking the fourth wall is the lower end of the scale when it comes to Landscapers’ more experimental elements. Exposed sets, script breaks, and a repeated retelling of certain aspects of the murders present a story that is largely unfinished.
Pieces are missing, the truth is unwhole and Landscapers’ shaky style pulls apart all the possibilities and uncomfortable truths that lay at the centre of this tragic and deeply unsettling story.
Incredible performances from Colman and Thewlis (the former of whom is sure to bag an Emmy nod) at times even force sympathy for the couple, particularly Colman’s Susan as she wails for her husband in prison and defiantly declares: “I’m not fragile, I’m broken. So you can’t hurt me.”
The series has been criticised by some for its arguable misremembering of a case that seemingly wasn’t all that interesting, and a style that can oftentimes be somewhat confusing and difficult to follow.
It’s no surprise that its four episodes – all disjointed and highly stylised as they are – aren’t for all audiences, but if you manage to ease into the world, you might just find you’re watching something truly brilliant.
Landscapers is available to stream now on NOW.