Diaan Lawrenson in Spoorloos: Steynhof. PHOTO: Tim Moolman
Have you ever watched a murder mystery, but figured out the motive and culprit in the first episode? Bummer, right? Well, let me assure you that the new season of Spoorloos will have you guessing from the get-go, with even the most hawk-eyed of us all being none the wiser as the season continues.
Let me set the scene: A baby is taken from a farm in the Northern Cape, then the story jumps 15 years ahead, and we almost forget about the opening scene.
The first instalment of Spoorloos: Steynhof manages to lure you in bit-by-bit. It's a slowly evolving, almost methodical move – a clever coup for a murder mystery. Viewers are given clues, but no actual crime has happened, or has it?
As the credits started rolling and my husband looked at me with big eyes and an open mouth: "What happens next?" he asked, shocked that he is back in our living room suddenly, and not in a fictional Karoo town.
Head writer and director, Christo Davids, builds suspense so calculatingly slow that viewers are left with many questions, but no real reasons to speculate about what really happened. And with 'slow', I don't mean that the story is unhurried – it is a fast-paced, gripping narrative that keeps you glued to the screen.
Jane de Wet, who you'll remember for her clever portrayal of Marthella Steenkamp in the film Griekwastad, plays Adri Erasmus, the new girl in school who has to deal with the popular girl, the jock and the autistic kid who can't leave her alone.
Her big-eyed, shy demeanour and honest portrayal of characters make her the perfect choice for playing the innocently ignorant daughter of a pill-popping single mother. She tries in vain to shield her daughter from the truth she has hidden for almost 16 years.
"I liked that she is an oddball. That was pretty clear from the get-go. She has this grunge, quirky, Billie Eilish feel to her," she says.
"I was also attracted to the relationship between her and her mother – I grew up with a single mom, so I have a clear understanding of the effects thereof, on the development and character of a teen in terms of your sense of responsibility, attachment to the parent, priorities, etc."
Spoorloos: Steynhof will be Jane's kykNET debut. She says the show will find a place on your watchlist.
"Strong, relevant South African topics, explored by messy, real people. It makes for a truly identifiable experience for viewers."
The cast of Spoorloos: Steynhof contains some big names in the industry, as well as a couple of exciting new faces. Viewers can look forward to seeing Franci Swanepoel, Stiaan Smith (Toorbos, Meisies wat fluit, Hotel), Jane de Wet (Griekwastad, Trackers), Brent Vermeulen (Griekwastad, Die Stropers) and Diaan Lawrenson (7de Laan, Raaiselkind).
Fun fact: Ochre Pictures, producers of all three of the Spoorloos seasons, is also responsible for the M-Net hit series Lioness.
I'm not going to give away any spoilers – just know that if you watch Spoorloos: Steynhof when it starts on Tuesday, you'll be hooked. Like a good book that haunts you days after finishing it, the story will hang over you like a mysterious cloud in the hours that follow.
You'll wish you could binge-watch the whole series in one go because it's just that good!
- Spoorloos: Steynhof starts on kykNET (DStv channel 144) on Tuesday 6 July at 8pm