A LOVED-up pair of amateur sleuths are at the centre of Channel 10's new Aussie murder mystery series.
Funny man Shaun Micallef and Offspring star Kat Stewart play Charlie and Nicola Buchanan, crime scene cleaners who moonlight as investigators, in Mr and Mrs Murder.
The show mixes crime and humour in 13 stand-alone episodes, sticking with the traditional murder-mystery format.
Micallef co-created the show with executive producer Jason Stephens, whose TV credits include Killing Time, Devil's Dust, Newstopia and The Chat Room.
"We thought 'wouldn't it be interesting to do a series on trauma cleaners, who clean up after people who die in violent and bloody ways'," he said.
"In the process of going backward and forward we developed something that might have a lighter feel.
"We didn't want to do an angsty, gritty police procedural. We wanted to do the opposite of that."
Micallef said he was keen for his next TV project to be something other than a straight comedy, or a straight drama.
"The murder mystery is interesting to me," Micallef said.
"I thought 'if I ever do a series drama I don't want to do one just about relationships'. As entertaining as that is it didn't appeal to me very much.
"I hope there's humour in it, but it's not a comedy per se...we treat the murders quite seriously."
Charlie and Nicola are in a unique position as civilians who have access to crime scenes and a detective - Peter Vinetti, played by Jonny Pasvolsky - who takes their observations on board.
"Because they're working outside the system you get to watch them break in when they shouldn't," Micallef said.
"There's no gun play, because they're cleaners, but people tend to not be on guard as much (around them). They tend to ignore them and underestimate them, which is to their advantage."
Charlie has a knack for remembering the most obscure facts, while Nicola is doggedly persistent with a strong sense of justice.
"She had been in the police academy, but she wasn't suited to it," Stewart explained.
"She couldn't let cases go; she had a terrible conclusion rate. She had to be absolutely certain the person had done it. If she found something that hadn't been resolved properly, then she couldn't leave it alone."
Stewart, who describes Micallef as a lovely "pretend" husband, says their investigations are what keep the fire burning in Charlie and Nicola's marriage.
"They don't have kids," she said.
"I think they'd be terrible parents. They are so into each other and this other life. It's a really interesting relationship to explore.
"I've never played a character so happy in a relationship."
>> Mr and Mrs Murder - Ten - Wednesday at 8.30pm
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