White Lies (2024) South African Series Review

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White Lies is a thrilling crime drama series set in Cape Town, South Africa. It explores the complexities of family relationships. Besides, it also delves into the issues of race, class and other prejudices in the society.

To be honest, we picked this series to watch, only for the lead actress Natalie Dormer. She famously played the role of Margaery Tyrell in the Game of Thrones (2012-14). Also, we wished to watch something from Africa.

Trailer: White Lies (S1/2024) Series

Official Trailer – White Lies (2024) Series – A Stan Exclusive Series | YouTube.

Synopsis: White Lies (S1/2024) Series

When investigative journalist Edie Hansen’s (Natalie Dormer) estranged brother is murdered in his home, she’s drawn into the dark underbelly of Cape Town. With her brother’s children as prime suspects, she clashes with veteran detective Forty Bell (Brendon Daniels) aka Fortune Bell.

‘White Lies’ Is An Intriguing Crime Drama From South Africa

Spoiler Free Review: White Lies (S1/2024) Series

The storyline

Edie Hansen (Natalie Dormer), an investigative journalist, becomes ensnared in the unsightly underbelly that hides beneath Cape Town’s idyllic charm, pulling her back into a tumultuous past. Following the murder of her estranged brother Andrew McKenzie in his lavish abode, Edie’s world descends further into chaos as her brother’s teenage children emerge as the primary suspects in the crime. As Edie delves into her inquiry, she finds herself at odds with seasoned detective Forty Bell and grapples with the deteriorating local police force, a corrupt political system, and the clandestine realm of extreme wealth in Cape Town.

This series was primarily shot at the various locations of South Africa, namely, the Western Cape, the Bishopscourt, Cape Town  and the Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa.

What did we like in the series?

We have not seen many series and movies from the African continent. So, when we came across the option to watch this series set in Cape Town, Africa, we decided to give it a go. And for the first-time viewers, it is not bad.

The beautiful landscape of Cape Town has been explored and depicted beautifully on the screen. We are shown both the contrasting worlds of the gated Bishopscourt locality of rich folks and the poor ghetto neighbourhood. We liked the way, the creator (writer) incorporated the different realistic aspects of society in the post-apartheid South African nation. Of course, society is still coming to terms with the political, social and personal changes happening there. It also sheds light on the power and privileges of the wealthy folks. The complexities of the race relationship have been revealed in it.

Complicated and troubled relationships dominate the plotline. However, while watching its eight episodes series, the viewers are given a good number of hints, as to who committed the heinous crimes of murder (s). Thankfully, its layered storyline has quite a few twists and turns. But we were not ready for the shocking end. Especially the reasons given for the said crimes.

Also, we liked the use of the local (South African) languages in the series, as it lends credibility to the story. In addition, you can see the different markers to highlight the division between the so-called (rich) classes and the (poor) masses. Among its ensemble cast, we liked the characters and the work of Natalie Dormer (Edie Hansen), Brendon Daniels (Forty Bell), Daniel Janks (Avi Kapilevich), and Roxanne Blaise (Bernice Bell) in the show.

What did we not like in this series?

In our humble opinion, we were not impressed with the performances of some of the young actors/actresses. We also think that they could have further tightened the script for this kind of suspense-filled crime drama. Moreover, they could have added the emotional depth of its story. As we could never really feel the pain and anguish of the characters like Edie Hansen (Natalie Dormer), Forty Bell (Brendon Daniels) and the shooter/killer.

The conclusion

Lest we forget, we are indeed living in a world riven with social inequality, economic inequity, and widespread corruption. This story of Cape Town, South Africa is no different. The crime story centred on a complicated family made for an interesting viewing. Now, hopefully, we might see more of Africa this year, both in the movies and series. And no, that is not White Lies.

Please note that we have decided not to share the identity of killer(s) in the spoilers shared below, as it may spoil your viewing pleasures. 

Rating: White Lies (S1/2024) Series

FM Rating3.25/5
FM Short CommentsNot very often, we come across a series from Africa in our part of the world. So, like the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ the ‘White Lies’ lived up to our expectations. With Natalie Dormer playing the protagonist, it was an engaging crime drama. It managed to hold mystery and suspense around the killer for a fairly long time. We were not ready for its shocking ending scenes.
White Lies (S1/2024) Series – FM Rating

Poster: White Lies (S1/2024) Series

Key Details: White Lies (S1/2024) Series

GenreCrime, Drama, Thriller
Original languageEnglish (and a bit of Afrikaans and Xhosa)
SeasonOne (1) Season
EpisodesEight (8) Episodes
CreatorSean Steinberg
WritersSean Steinberg, Darrel Bristow-Bovey & Jake Riddell
CastNatalie Dormer (Edie Hansen), Brendon Daniels (Forty Bell), Daniel Schultz (Daniel McKenzie), Daniel Janks (Avi Kapilevich), Caely-Jo Levy (Olivia Mckenzie), Roxanne Blaise (Bernice Bell), etc.
White Lies (S1/2024) Series – About

Spoilers Alert: Episodes Summary

Summary of the Eight Episodes of the First Season

Tabula Rasa (S1, E1) | March 7, 2024

A wealthy businessman is murdered in his Bishopscourt house, his wife is bludgeoned into a coma, and his children become prime suspects. His estranged sister, Edie, tries to clear their names, but her first attempt at finding a suspect backfires.

The concept of Tabula Rasa, derived from the Latin term meaning "scraped tablet" but commonly interpreted as "blank slate," was introduced by John Locke. According to this idea, the human mind acquires knowledge and shapes itself solely through personal experiences, devoid of any inherent notions that could act as a foundation.

Hide In Plain Sight (S1, E2) | March 14, 2024

Edie’s attempts to find a witness to the murder place her in peril high on a mountainside, and she learns some information she doesn’t like at all. Daniel is abducted by masked assailants at gunpoint.

I Believe The Children Are Our Future (S1, E3) | March 21, 2024

Forty Bell nearly loses his life rescuing Daniel from a drug gang, and Edie’s tentative closeness with her nephew is shattered when she makes a shocking discovery at a Bishopscourt sex party.

The Sense Of An Ending (S1, E4) | April 8, 2024

A violent invasion of Andrew McKenzie’s memorial shakes up the community, bringing new suspects to light, and Edie learns things about her brother that she doesn’t want to know.

You Gotta Know When To Hold ‘Em (S1, E5) | April 8, 2024

When a gun is found at the high school, a new suspect is arrested, but Edie’s investigation into Andrew’s business partner leads her down a different pathway and leaves her fighting for her life.

Calm Before The Storm (S1, E6) | April 8, 2024

Daniel places himself and Jaime in danger with an ill-advised statement to the media, and a murderer breaks into the McKenzie home. Forty rides into the jaws of terrible danger, and Olivia McKenzie wakes from her coma.

Teach Them Well And Let Them Lead The Way (S1, E7) | April 8, 2024

Matters accelerate towards a resolution as Forty barely escapes Zone 41 with his life, one of the children reveals a hidden side of their personality, and the killer reveals himself to Edie.

Forget It, Jake. It’s Bishopscourt (S1, E8) | April 8, 2024

A killer has been found but Edie is not convinced that the full story has come to light. She reveals a secret and makes a genuinely shocking discovery, and is left with the most difficult decision of her life.

Poster and Featured Image of the White Lies (S1/2024) Series are courtesy of IMDb.

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