It’s an artform getting into the mind of a serial killer, to understand their thought process while they’re committing their gruesome crimes, to get to grips with their drive, their motivation … their pleasure.
That’s the task facing Detective Piet van der Bijl (Waldemar Schultz) aka “Die Byl” and his team of investigators in Season 2 of Afrikaans drama thriller Die Byl, which can be streamed exclusively on Showmax).
Where we left off
Season 1 saw the team investigating every repulsive crime imaginable, from serial rapes (episode 1) and a serial killer who shocked their victims to death while they slept (episode 2), to a model-hating murderer who squeezed their victims’ corpses into suitcases (episode 8).
Each crime took its toll on Byl and he found himself fighting more, not only with his team, but also with his lawyer girlfriend Nicky Swanepoel (Milan Murray).
“Byl is a stubborn guy who doesn’t have great communication skills and he internalises a lot,” says Waldemar. “He is very intelligent and sincere, but those skills haven’t always benefited him when it comes to building relationships in his personal and professional lives.”
Dark and dreary
Season 2 picks up after a five-year time hop. Byl now has his own unit with his own officers and offices, operating more independently of the police department. Captain Juan Stuurman (Marvin-Lee Beukes), who worked closely with Byl in Season 1, resigned because of his conflicts with the lead detective and he’s moved to the police’s IT department.
The forensic psychologist on the team Captain Lena Evans (Lika Berning) still works with Byl, but she’s married now with a three-year-old son named Lukas (Jessie Berning).
“This season is certainly more gruesome than the first,” reveals Lika, adding that “Byl is personally challenged as he begins to see similarities in the murders they’re investigating, troubling similarities”. And as the season progresses, things get more complicated…
Lika admits that she’s slightly pleased that her character isn’t out in the field as much this time.
“We see Lena in the office between her books. Her son commands a lot of her attention, which means she isn’t as exposed to the gruesome crime scenes.”
As a mother of three in real life, Lika knows how Lena feels. “I liked a lot of the new dimensions of an older, married Lena. She is a mother, a wife and more confident in her ability as a forensic psychologist.” But she is still pressured by her commitments and struggles to find balance.
Byl and Nicky have kissed and made up after Season 1, but that doesn’t mean their loveboat is sailing smooth waters. Especially when Byl’s ex-wife Carien (Rolanda Marais) suddenly comes back into his life full-steam ahead.
“Season 2 is very dark for Byl,” says Waldemar. “There are changes and Byl in particular is different from how viewers will remember him. We have changed his habits and the atmosphere around him.”