The police inspector with a penchant for knocking back headache pills with a can of Coca-Cola is back for a second chilling instalment of Afrikaans thriller series Die Byl. All 14 episodes are exclusive to Showmax.
Detective Piet van der Bijl (Waldemar Schultz) – aka Byl – and his team will spend the season piecing together grisly crime scenes as they hunt and apprehend violent serial killers and put them where they belong: behind bars and away from the public eye.
Also returning this season is forensic psychologist Captain Lena Evans (Lika Berning), who is now married with a three-year-old son following the five-year time gap between the two seasons.
“This second season is definitely more cruel and darker than the first,” says Lika. “Byl is personally challenged when he notices similarities in the murders that his unit is investigating.” And they’re not going to get any easier to solve as the season progresses.
Season 1 ended with Captain Juan Stuurman (Marvin-Lee Beukes) transferring to the police force’s IT department and away from Byl’s team after a couple of issues with the lead detective.
Byl, meanwhile, chose to end his ongoing feud with his boss General Neels van As (Tertius Meintjes) after a season-long back-and-forth about Byl dating Neels’s lawyer ex-wife Nicky Swanepoel (Milan Murray).
Fast-forward five years and Byl and Nicky are on the rocks and their living together could be coming to an end. Byl’s ex-wife Carien van der Bijl (Rolanda Marais) takes pleasure in sowing seeds of discord among the pair too – meow for this catfight!
It’s not just Byl’s personal life overshadowed by grey storm clouds – his work is equally dark, explains Waldemar.
“There are changes going on both in plain sight and behind the scenes for Byl. He is different from what viewers will remember. We have changed some of his mannerisms and the style and atmosphere around him is different too.”
A change fans will notice is that Lena isn’t as intensely involved with murder scenes this season.
“We see her in the office between her books,” says Lika. “Her son Lukas is very fond of her and he takes precedence in her life.”
As a mother of three little ones in real life, Lika knows how her character feels. “I liked many of the new dimensions of an older, now-married Lena. She is a mother and wife this season and she has more confidence in herself and in her ability as a forensic psychologist.”
That pressure pushes her to new highs, but maintaining the balance will prove difficult.
This season was filmed largely in Cape Town’s Helderberg region, the Strand, Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay. “It was wonderful because I live there [Cape Town] and there’s no need for really early calls on set,” says Waldemar.
Byl and his unit are also more independent of the police department this season and they’ve moved up a bit. They have their own offices and added manpower that Byl will be putting to good use now that he doesn’t have his superiors breathing down his neck and scrutinising his every move and decision.
Joining the suspect line-up
Each episode stands alone somewhat with a new serial killer on the loose and TV fans will recognise some of the criminals and the newcomers on Byl’s team.
Jody Abrahams (Lionel Foster in Afrikaans telenovela Arendsvlei) pops up in episode 1 as police Captain Willem Ruiters, who works with Byl’s unit to investigate the murder of six members of the Sons Of Samson gang on the Cape Flats.
Jana Kruger (Karen le Roux in Afrikaans drama Swartwater) plays Esti Willemse, a humble salt-of-the-earth mother in episode 4 who is part of a Facebook group of friends who’re murdered one by one.
Legendary actor Marius Weyers (Peet de Villiers in new Afrikaans drama series Alles Malan) appears in episode 6 as crime lord Peter “Priest” Lotz, a bloodthirsty gangster whose reputation for violence and cruelty precedes him.
And Denise Newman (Bridgette October in Afrikaans soapie Suidooster) shows up in episode 14 as Captain Stuurman’s strict mom Mrs Stuurman.