Johannesburg - Cape Town is the South African city with the highest murder and robbery rate, so it’s the logical setting for season 2 of Die Byl, the gritty Afrikaans cop drama that is now available to binge, first on Showmax, ahead of its run on kykNET in December 2019.
Piet van der Bijl (Waldemar Schultz) is a brilliant detective who specialises in serial killers - and a workaholic who will do anything for those closest to him.
In season 2, which is set five years later, Byl’s relationship with Advocate Nicky Swanepoel (2018 Tempo Awards Actress of the Year nominee Milan Murray from Waterfront) is on the rocks, while his ex-wife Carien (Fiesta, Kanna, Vita and ATKV winner Rolanda Marais from Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie), is back in his life.
But as usual, Byl’s more preoccupied with his cases, as he comes up against increasingly sophisticated serial killers who target Cape Flats gang members, senior citizens at a retirement home, inmates at a maximum security prison, and first responders at emergency sites, among others.
While these cases are episodic, the tension builds throughout the season as someone starts targeting those closest to Byl, and the hunters become the hunted.
Here are three reasons to add Die Byl to your watchlist, whether you speak Afrikaans or not:
1. It’s inspired by "South Africa’s very own super sleuth"
While the cases are fictional, Die Byl is inspired by the real life South African cop Piet Byleveld, who solved some of South Africa’s most talked-about cases, like the murders of Leigh Matthews, Sheldean Human and Sibille Zanner, and caught infamous serial killers like Lazarus Mazingane, the Nasrec killer, and Cedric Maake, the Wemmer Pan Killer.
According to Daily Maverick, Byleveld - or Piet Byl as he was known - was “one of the best detectives ever to have the job. He had a 99% success rate in a career that spanned almost 40 years” - and assisted the FBI, Mossad and Scotland Yard in investigations.
Byleveld consulted on season 1 of Die Byl shortly before he passed away in 2017. He was widely mourned, with News24 calling him a “top cop”; Daily Maverick hailing him as “South Africa’s very own super sleuth;” and IOL describing him as “a serial killer hunter with a gentle side.”
2. It’s the best cast we’ve seen in ages
Waldemar Schultz (7de Laan) and Lika Berning (Liefling) won the Huisgenoot Tempo Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress in 2017 for their roles in the first season as the brooding colonel Piet van der Bijl and his profiler, Captain Lena Evans, respectively.
They’re supported by an exceptional cast that also includes Marvin-Lee Beukes (Waterfront, Die Boland Moorde) as captain Juan Stuurman, who has moved from Byl’s team into IT; Vita award winner Eric Nobbs as pathologist Dr Fritz Barnard and Trudy van Rooy as his new lab assistant, Dr Shani van Rooi; Avanti winner Barbara-Marié Immelman as Ellie Bonthuys, once a journalist only looking for sensationalism, now the police unit’s spokesperson; and Vita award winner Tertius Meintjes as general Neels van As, whose relationship with Byl is improving now that the detective is no longer dating his ex-wife Nicky.
Other key cast include aKING lead vocalist Laudo Liebenberg (Kanarie, Black Sails); SAFTA winner Deon Lotz (Skoonheid, Shepherds and Butchers); and Jessie Berning as the young son of Captain Lena Evans (played by his real-life mother, Lika Berning).
There are also guest appearances in each 70-minute episode, from the likes of 2018 Tempo Awards Actor of the Year Marlo Minnaar (Sara Se Geheim); Silwerskerm winners Cintaine Schutte (Die Seemeeu) and Albert Pretorius (Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie); and three-time ATKV Best Actress winner Jana Kruger (Swartwater), not to mention SAFTA winners Denise Newman (Shirley Adams, Suidooster), Marius Weyers (Dis Ek, Anna), and Jody Abrahams (Hard Copy, Arendsvlei), among many other faces you’ll recognise.
3. It’s made by Marche Media, with Quentin Krog as one of the directors
The nail-biting crime series is being produced by Marche Media - the current darlings of the Afrikaans production industry - responsible for award-winning films like Kanarie and Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie; documentaries like Nobody’s Died Laughing: A Journey With Pieter-Dirk Uys; and hit series like Die Spreeus, Dwaalster, and the multi-award-winning Boer Soek 'n Vrou.
Quentin Krog (Die Boekklub, Vir Die Voëls, Ballade Vir 'n Enkeling, Thys & Trix) directs the first episode. He’s one of three directors on the second season, alongside Liezl Spies (Tempo Awards TV Series Of The Year Sara Se Geheim) and Leon Kruger, head writer on season 1 and 2 of Die Byl and hit shows like Waterfront.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:
All 14 episodes of Die Byl S2 are now streaming, with English subtitles, on Showmax here.