We will never really know what motive prompted Susan and Christopher Edwards, a dull and enigmatic British couple, to kill Susan’s parents, bury their corpses in the garden and flee the country after having emptied their account in bank and that of their victims. Just as we will probably never know why, since their arrest ten years ago, Susan and Christopher have never ceased, against all evidence, to proclaim their innocence.

It is when their run is about to end that Landscapers opens. “My husband and I got ourselves in trouble,” Susan told her public defender over the phone hours after their arrest. It’s an understatement to say that the Edwards don’t really have the head for the job. Who could suspect of murder this middle-aged couple, living frugally in a tiny apartment in Lille decorated with posters of westerns?

Denounced by a relative, short of money after fifteen years of hiding, the couple decides to return to England to surrender to the police. The Edwards, however, remain convinced that they can get away with it. After all, they love each other, and life has given them no favors. Their story, a mixture of unhappy childhood, various bullying and disappointed hopes, would soften any policeman, they think. They will therefore plead accident, provocation, bloodshed. Everything to escape this image of diabolical lovers that the London police give them.

Formal ambition

In four episodes, the miniseries, which screenwriter and producer Ed Sinclair drew from a news item that shook England in 2012, focuses less on elucidating the motivations of Susan and Christopher than on defining their strange attachment to life. for each other. And it is this portrait of a couple that Landscapers succeeds best, especially since it is interpreted by two great British actors, Olivia Colman (who is, in the city, the wife of Ed Sinclair) and David Thewlis . Fusion since their meeting thanks to a marriage agency, the mentally fragile librarian and the unemployed accountant escape reality thanks to their love for cinema, especially Hollywood, and its stars.

The series thus oscillates between a pure and simple police investigation, which arouses little interest, despite “mouthed” actors and a few strokes of humor, and tender and melancholy sequences, sometimes phantasmagorical, in the intimacy and the psyche. of the couple. In the production, the multi-cap actor Will Sharpe juggles with vintage filters, alternates color and black and white, makes the characters travel from one film set to another, with inventiveness and a certain formal ambition.

In four episodes of barely an hour, this mixture of styles sometimes looks like a tour de force, especially since the actors, and not just Colman and Thewlis, do tons of it. And what makes Landscapers a purely British series – radical in its directing choices, but popular in its actors and its subject – is also what makes it unsurprising, even cartoonish, in its way of reducing the British series to a performance space for highly qualified actors and gifted directors.