Landscapers: Murder mystery meets surreal fantasy in true-crime drama

Olivia Colman and David Thewlis star as a mild-mannered Midlands couple who retreat into a Hollywood fantasy world when they are accused of murdering the wife's parents.

By Katie Archer Published: 7 December 2021 - 4.07pm
Landscapers key art

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Landscapers looks set to be one of the TV drama highlights of the year - with a stellar cast and an imaginative retelling of a true story, it’s sure to be must-see viewing.

Lead actors Olivia Colman and David Thewlis have given the series their seal of approval, calling it one of the most exciting projects they’ve seen in a long time.

Take a look at everything you need to know about the series, including the events it is based on, who stars in it, and when you can expect to see it.

What is Landscapers about?

Olivia Colman in Landscapers

The drama series is based on the strange real-life case of husband and wife Susan and Christopher Edwards, a mild-mannered couple who were accused of murdering her parents.

Adapted from extensive research, hours of interviews and direct access to the couple, it picks up from the moment they find themselves thrust into the media spotlight when Susan’s parents were discovered buried in their back garden in Mansfield.

The Edwards have always protested their innocence and the series shows viewers events as they unfolded from the points of view of the accused, the police and the lawyers.

Landscapers explores the themes of love and fantasy as it follows Susan and Christopher’s surreal fantasy world in which they cast themselves as their Hollywood heroes in stories of their own invention inspired by Susan’s love of old Westerns and classic cinema.

The couple have been on the run from reality for more than 15 years, but when Christopher makes an unexpected call to his stepmother, it kicks off an investigation into the deaths that took place a decade earlier. Soon, the couple are separated for the first time in their marriage.

As the pressure of the investigation ramps up, the couple find solace from the horror and guilt in a fantasy world, but this escapism also threatens to become their undoing.

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Who stars in Landscapers?

David Thewlis in Landscapers

Olivia Colman features as Susan Edwards in the four-part series written by her husband, Ed Sinclair.

The Crown and The Favourite star said: “I love Ed’s scripts, which is just as well as he cooks many of my meals. No, the truth is it’s quite rare to be desperate to play a part on the first reading of a script, but that was the case here. The writing is brave, but subtle and tender too - a joy for any actor.”

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David Thewlis, best known for Fargo, the Harry Potter films and I’m Thinking of Ending Things, plays her husband Christopher Edwards.

He said: "This is without doubt the very finest project I have worked on for many years. Everything about Landscapers is magical, there is nothing like it and I’m impatient to get to work so that its brilliance can be shared with the rest of the world.”

Kate O'Flynn in Landscapers

Kate O’Flynn (Close to Me) plays Susan’s lead interviewer, DC Emma Lancing – a sharp, ambitious and non-nonsense detective who gives as good as she gets with her gleefully profane colleagues and super-laid back partner DC Wilkie. With a secretly compassionate side and high emotional intelligence, Lancing is capable of planting carefully laid traps for Susan and Chris as she tries to get them to incriminate themselves.

Speaking about her character, O’Flynn says: “Will Sharpe (Director) kept saying ‘keep your guard up at all times’.  She’s got no time for it. She’s no-nonsense; she just wants to get to the nub of it. There’s no frills with her. And yet she’s a bit cocky as well. She’s like a mix of cocky and awkward at the same time. Socially awkward, but she’s got this bravado as well.”

Dipo Ola in Landscapers

Dipo Ola (Cobra) plays Douglas Hylton – Susan’s solicitor, and one of the good guys who manages to find humour in every situation despite everything that’s going on with his client. With a warm and trustworthy nature, Hylton shows a steely determination to defend Susan and stand up for her love of her husband.

Speaking about Hylton’s relationship with his clients, Ola says: “I think he just sees them as the kind of people who’ve got themselves into a situation, as opposed to bad people. So as an actor I just locked into that and went, okay, look for the humanity in these people and go from there.”

Samuel Anderson in Landscapers

Lancing’s partner on the case is DC Paul Wilkie, played by Samuel Anderson (Another Life). Often frustrating his colleagues with his artless interviewing style, off-kilter timing and ability to put his foot in his mouth, Wilkie’s ultimately a good friend who lets his partner take the lead. And sometimes his stupid questions pay dividends. 

Daniel Rigby in Landscapers

DCI Tony Collier is the lead investigator and is played by Daniel Rigby (Watership Down). He’s abrasive, cynical and volatile, and prone to coming up with strikingly creative rants packed with profanity. But his track record is as impressive as his ability to swear a lot and he’s determined to deliver justice. 

Karl Johnson and Felicity Montague in Landscapers

Susan’s father, Karl Wycherley, is played by Karl Johnson (Born to Kill). We see the character as an old man dragging around an oxygen tank for much of the series, but Mr Wycherley was once a handsome, and vain, young man – a carefree life that changed direction when he was trapped in a marriage with a much younger woman named Patricia after an accidental pregnancy.

He likes to boast about his “little girl” Susan, but the truth is he’s manipulative and controlling. And what he doesn’t realise until the night he’s killed, is that his wife and daughter don’t just fear him anymore, they hate him. 

Felicity Montagu (The Durrells) takes on the role of William’s wife Patricia, a once lively and charismatic 22-year-old. But that was before she met a man twice her age, Susan’s dad William. Years married to William makes Patricia full of self-pity and old before her time, and she resents Susan for managing to escape the grip of her father. Still, Susan is keen to rekindle their once-close relationship. 

Is there a trailer?

Yes, you can watch the official Sky trailer here:

When is Landscapers on TV?

Watch Landscapers on Sky Atlantic and NOW from Tuesday, December 7.