Landscapers Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

British couple Susan (Olivia Colman) and Christopher (David Thewlis) Edwards live in a squalid apartment in Lille, France. Christopher is trying hard to get a job, for which he goes to various interviews, but his level of French does not allow him to hope that he will eventually get this job.

Susan, on the other hand, is busy buying and collecting various artifacts related to the Hollywood cinema of the middle of the 20th century, which she and Christopher love very much. She spends serious money on buying all these old posters, portraits of actors and posters, which they cannot afford, and as a result, the spouses are on the verge of utter poverty.

Then Christopher calls his stepmother Tabitha (Catherine Hunter), who sends them some money from time to time, asking them to borrow some money, while telling Tabitha that fifteen years ago he and his wife buried the corpses of Susan’s parents in the backyard of their house in Mansfield . At the same time, he insists that he and Susan are not to blame and that it was an accident. Christopher asks Tabitha not to say anything to the police, who, of course, immediately informs the Nottinghamshire police station about this confession, after which police detective Emma Lansing (Kate O’Flynn) begins to deal with this case with her partner, detective Paul Wicky (Samuel Anderson) .

Tabitha tells Christopher that the police know everything, and Detective Emma Lansing and Christopher have an exciting email exchange. Christopher in refined terms assures Emma that he and Susan are not going to hide, but on the contrary, they are ready to come to London voluntarily to testify and explain everything. The only thing, asks Christopher, is that they have to pay for the train ride from Lille to London, because they don’t have the money for it.

Immediately after the arrival of the spouses, they were arrested, taken to Nottinghamshire and began to be interrogated separately, trying to get a true picture of what happened. But the situation turned out to be very, very confusing.

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At the very beginning of the series, it immediately tells that in 2014 the spouses Susan and Christopher Edwards were accused of killing Susan’s parents and sentenced them to twenty-five years in prison. And that to this day the couple have maintained their innocence. After that, the inscription “This is a real story” appears, but the word “real” quickly disappears, so that only “This is a story” remains.

Indeed, there was such a real story – the murder of William and Patricia Wicherley, the parents of Susan Edwards, which occurred in Forest Town in 1998. Susan and Christopher hid the fact that the couple had died: they wrote postcards on behalf of William and Patricia to their acquaintances, while they themselves used their account and even managed to sell their house. And only fourteen years after the murder, the couple had to go on the run, when the situation became very tense.

The script for this mini-series (it is short, only four episodes) was written by Ed Sinclair, the husband of actress Olivia Colman, so it is obvious that the role of Susan was written specifically for her. Alexander Payne, director of the wonderful film Roadside, was supposed to direct the series, but he could not find time in his schedule, and then Will Sharp, director of the recent film Louis Wayne’s Cat Worlds, sat in the director’s chair.

Film productions based on real crime stories can be made in completely different genres. Most often, such films or series are made in the true-crime genre, in which the creators investigate the crime and analyze the actions of people involved in these crimes. For example, a good TV series “Des” with David Tennant is made in this genre.

However, “Gardeners” is something completely different. There are a lot of dark spots in the history of the Edwards spouses, and what really happened there – the investigation could not reliably establish. The spouses told their version, but there were many obvious inconsistencies in it, so that this version could not convince either the investigation or the court. At the same time, the bodies of two people who died a violent death were discovered, there was a fact of concealing the murder and the fact of using the money and property of the deceased, so that the spouses received in full. But what exactly happened then – no one except the spouses knows, and in the series the audience will not be told this: they will see the situation through the eyes of the investigation.

The series is staged in a very unusual way – this is such an interesting mixture of absurdist tragicomedy, at times somewhat reminiscent of the style of staging the excellent series “God’s Gift Enterprise”, which I love. At the same time, there are elements of a kind of avant-garde performance, which often emphasizes a certain staging of what is happening: during the investigation, the police can move between locations right on the film set, and we are shown this, and in one of the episodes, the police even go fifteen years ago to personally talk to the murdered Wicherlys.

Also, the Edwardses, who are fond of old black-and-white westerns of the forties and fifties, sometimes become like participants in these westerns: they perceive their life as a kind of western, in which the heroine – Susan – gets into trouble, and a noble man with a gun – Christopher – protects her .

And in the end it turns out that this series is not so much about the murder, although the investigation is quite thorough, and it takes a lot of time, but about the love story of two strange people, immersed in old films and living in their own imaginary world that protects them from the abominations of ordinary life.

The two main roles in the film are almost masterpieces! Olivia Colman is a strong actress, and the range of her roles is very wide: she perfectly plays both naive fools and strong and strong-willed women, while she looks equally organic in a variety of genres – from comedies to dramas. There is even a joke among moviegoers that if Olivia Colman is simply put on a chair in the room and asked to smile at the camera with her famous slightly guilty smile, a large audience will already be watching.

Her Susan in this series is absolutely wonderful! Sensitive and vulnerable, having experienced serious upheavals in childhood, living in the world of her fantasies, however, she is not as divorced from reality as it might seem. And her relationship with her husband is infinitely touching: she really perceives him as a noble hero protecting her, the heroine. And so it is, in essence, it is.

Before that, I had seen David Thewlis only in four films, where he really had nowhere to turn around: in Fargo 3, his character is extremely caricatured and far-fetched, in Wonder Woman he simply had nothing to play, and perhaps in Legend He has an interesting role, albeit a rather episodic one.

But here he has one of the main roles, and Thewlis just really liked it: Christopher is really a knight protecting his adored wife. In this role, David demonstrated such a wealth of shades and intonations, harmonized so wonderfully with Olivia Colman that, I repeat, this couple is practically a masterpiece! Great acting work!

The cops here are portrayed in a somewhat comedic way. Detective Emma Lansing constantly bickers with her partner Paul Wicky and her boss Tony Collier (Daniel Rigby), but she conducts the investigation quite effectively: immediately after the arrest, Susan and Christopher were separated and began to skillfully “stab”, preventing them from checking and synchronizing their testimony . And at the same time, Christopher, who initially looked quite confident in his position, nevertheless fell into a couple of traps.

I liked Kate O’Flynn as Emma, ​​well played: here you have all sorts of funny comedic moments, but at the same time it is shown that she is a completely professional investigator. Well, I liked Daniel Rigby as Chief Inspector Collier: the character is quite grotesque, but really funny.

All in all, a great series, I’m really impressed. Made in an original and unusual way, the visual solutions are most interesting (well, that Will Sharp is an excellent visionary, it was already clear from the “Cat Worlds of Louis Wayne”), played just fine. So well played that I already want to watch this series again, because Olivia Colman and David Thewlis are just amazingly good here!

This series can be viewed on the Amediateka website, it is there both in the original with United Statesn subtitles and in a multi-voiced voiceover. I would recommend watching it in the original with subtitles, because although the voiceover is not bad, it, of course, greatly spoils the impression.

However, the series is specific and obviously not everyone will like it – this should also be borne in mind.

Gardeners / Landscapers review

Director: Will Sharp Cast: Olivia Colman, David Thewlis, Kate O’Flynn, Dipo Ola, Samuel Anderson, Felicity Montague, Daniel Rigby, David Heyman, Katherine Hunter

Series, UK-USA, 2021, 193 min. Absurdist tragicomedy, 4 episodes

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