Written by Shona Smith on Jan 12, 2021. Posted in Production News

South Africa’s Showmax announces first Kenyan Original series

Crime & Justice is part of Showmax's expanding investment in Africa. The South African streamer's localisation strategy competes with established international VoD platforms for the region's audiences. Showmax has also recently announced its first Nigerian Original I Am Laycon, a reality series following the most recent Big Brother Naija winner.

Parent company the MultiChoice Group, already produces more than 10 original Kenyan productions each year available to Showmax subscribers, but Crime & Justice is the streaming platform's first Kenyan Original.

“We are fundamentally an African business and are interested in telling African stories that reflect the lives, languages and cultures of the continent. We believe in African talent and look forward to shining the international spotlight on not only Kenyan stars, but the Kenyan technical industry’s capabilities,” says Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for General Entertainment and Connected Video, Showmax’s parent company. “We believe that streaming video is a powerful way to deliver these shared stories. This is one of many more Showmax Originals we have in the pipeline across Africa.”

Although there are no incentives offered, filming in Kenya the country is becoming increasingly accessible and the range of filming locations available attract international productions such as Sense8. The country  has a base of service companies as well as an active film commission that helps train Kenyan crew and assists incoming productions.

Billed as a gritty police procedural and legal show set in Nairobi, Crime & Justice is Showmax’s first original Kenyan series and stars Sarah Hassan (Plan B, How to Find a Husband) and Alfred Munyua (Poacher, Sense8) as the two detectives at the heart of the show which follows cases from the headlines to the courtroom.

Hassan and Munyua are joined by Maqbul Mohammed (Varshita, Auntie Boss) as DCI Boss Kebo, Paul Ogola (Sense 8, Kati Kati) as Prosecutor Sokoro and Brian Ogola (Lusala, Disconnect) as Caleb, the resident pathologist, as well as the stage and screen legend John Sibi-Okumu (The Constant Gardener, The First Grader), Muhugu Theuri (Pillow Talk, Pieces of Us), Brian Abajah (Sincerely Daisy), Martin Githinji (Sue na Jonnie, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) and Justin Mirichii (Rafiki, Watu Wote) in guest roles.

Directed and produced by Adam Neutzsky-Wulff, (All The Little Things We Kill and You Are Here) alongside a Kenyan crew. Co-producer Maureen Wanjiku (Subira: Kenya’s 2019 Oscar entry, East Africa’s Got Talent), two time Kalasha award-winning lighting technician Walter Odhiambo (Plan Be, 40 Sticks) cinematographer Sammy Maina (Lost in Africa, Country Queen), who’ll be taking over from Helge Gerull after episode 2; art director Eugene Oyoo (Kenya’s 2018 Oscar entry Supa Modo); and casting director Lorella Jowi (Watu Wote, Kenya’s first Oscar-nominated film).

The series is the second co-production with CANAL+. who will distribute Crime & Justice to its French-speaking base in 2021. The first co-production between CANAL+ and Multichoice, Blood Psalms will also premiere on the service in 2021. The series is a ten part series based on ancient African mythology that chronicles the rise of fierce teenage princes Zazi who battles a world-ending prophecy to navigate her people through ancient curses, tribal vendettas and the wrath of the Gods.


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