When I first heard of The Cleaner, the premise of a crime scene cleaner originally had me prepared for CSI style storylines. But I wasn’t disappointed to find stories centered on the living, not the dead. So far, there are six half hour episodes of this British series told through the experiences of Paul “Wicky” Wickstead, as he goes about removing the signs of violent death.
Wicky brings his Everyman sensibilities to the job. Living for Friday nights at the pub, he could have just been an observer but he’s too curious and kindhearted for that. In the opening episode, Helena Bonham Carter stars as a woman who kills her husband and invites Wicky on a trip to Italy with her. In another, he puts up with old fashioned British snobbery when a manor house is burgled and dismays the curmudgeonly owner when she realizes he understands more than she gave him credit for.
I like Wicky. He may be a little goofy and rough around the edges but he takes great pride in his job, differentiating cleaner from Crime Scene Cleaner. You don’t get blood stains and brain matter out of the curtains with any old spray, do you? He’s a good listener and does whatever it takes to help people get what they need. Sometimes that means eating at a vegan lunch truck or recreating the accident scene he’d just finished cleaning for an internet influencer who’d planned to film it for his followers.
Written by and starring Greg Davies, the 6’ 8” Welsh actor and stand-up comedian, this series was alternately awkward and heartfelt and gave me three hours of laughs and sighs. I only hope there will be more. British series tend to be shorter seasons and spaced, it seems, whenever they feel like. So, whoever needs to hear this—MORE!!