M-Net is launching an exciting new local drama series later this month – and ‘Lioness’ promises to be some gripping television. Starting in January, the powerful drama series tells the story of a woman who loses her children, her lover, and her freedom when she is framed for fraud committed by her husband before his death, only to discover, eight years later, while trying to reunite with her son and daughters, that he is still alive.
Season one cast includes Shannon Esra (Still Breathing/The Queen/The River), Jacques Bessenger (Kanarie/Krotoa/Sink), Frank Rautenbach (Warrior/The Bang Bang Club/Faith Like Potatoes), Nokuthula Ledwaba (Reyka/The River/Rhythm City), Gerald Steyn (Trackers/Fiela se Kind/Getrod met Rugby), Joshua Eady (Banged up and Abroad/Bring it on 6), Fiona Ramsay (Reyka/Homeland/Doubt), Natasha Sutherland (Egoli: Plek van Goud/Wycliffe/Scandal!) and more.
Ahead of the series premiere on Thursday 28 January, we share some insight into the characters of this exciting new series:
Samantha (played by Shannon Esra)
Samantha tends to get herself in trouble, when she impulsively seeks out adventure to cater for her boundless energy and passion and when she calls a spade a spade. Sam missed out on finding love when she became pregnant at 17, marrying a man who does not get her or fulfil her needs as a woman. She is forced to choose between her own happiness and that of her children. She chooses her children but makes a disastrous mistake by committing a crime to save them.
Adrian Hugo (played by Jacques Bessenger)
For investment broker Adrian Hugo, image is everything – an urbane model of a man, a winner in every way, but his life-long competition with his brother leads him to cross ethical boundaries, heading down a slippery slope from where it becomes impossible to return.
Jason Hugo (played by Frank Rautenbach)
Jason Hugo, on a path to be appointed as a Con-court judge, is a righteous, magnanimous supporter and benefactor to Sam and Adrian in their hour of need, but under the smooth facade is a man who harbours deep desires which can only be satisfied by playing the long game.
Anton Marais (played by Gerald Steyn)
Anton Marais is appointed as security detail responsible for the safety of Adrian Hugo’s wife and children. The fastidious guard surprises Sam by his insightful observations about her and her family, but it is soon apparent that he has a sinister agenda.
Miranda (played by Jazzara Jazzlyn)
Teenage Miranda takes life much too seriously and can’t bear imperfection. She hero-worships her urbane, successful father, interpreting his desperate attempts to save his sinking company with dedication to work. By contrast Miranda is averse to her mother’s general disorder and her embarrassing lack of decorum. When Miranda is suddenly plucked out of her protected world, she is completely unprepared for the consequences.
Liam (played by Joshua Eady)
Eleven-year-old Liam is closest to his mother, sharing his anxious, dark thoughts with her. She fears her son is by nature too sensitive and too distrustful, but in time discovers Liam has seen things that threaten to damage his emotional and mental health.
Caitlyn (played by Avianah Abrahams)
She is Sam and Adrian’s last-born child and was only 3 years old when her family was torn apart and she was taken to live with her uncle and aunt, Jason and Megan. Childless Meg embraced Caitlyn with a fervor that suggested she had no intention of ever letting her go again. The little princess quickly learned to capitalise on the situation for her own benefit and in the process becomes quite the manipulator.
Megan (played by Natasha Sutherland)
Megan is Sam’s sister in law and Jason’s wife. Meg comes from a family with political clout and is an asset to Jason’s ambition to become a Constitutional Court judge. She is articulate, groomed to perfection and active in women’s organisations, but behind the veneer of sophistication is a needy woman, who found relief from the pain of being unable to have children when Jason offered to foster Sam’s children while she was in prison. Caitlyn came to Meg as a toddler and now sees Meg as her own mother. Meg will do whatever it takes to hold on to the daughter she shaped to be her own.
Charlotte (played by Fiona Ramsay)
Fiona Ramsay plays Sam’s bohemian mother, who has a need for self-expression and independence but would like someone else to fund it. Charlotte tries her best when it comes to motherhood, with limited success, because her own needs take precedence. Nevertheless, when her granddaughter comes under attack, she joins Sam’s lioness pack to protect their cub.
Amo (played by Nokuthula Mavuso)
Sam’s closest friend, Amo is married to Sifiso, CFO of Adrian’s investment company.
Amo is warm hearted, insightful, honest and incorruptible – or so she thinks, until her family comes under threat. Amo is torn between doing what is right and protecting her friendship and her family, a lioness in her own way. Amo resorts to avoiding rather than confronting the crisis, for fear of permanent damage, but her true nature is unable to do so forever.
Sifiso (played by Terrence Ngwila)
Amo’s husband Sifiso Twala, is the spontaneous life of the party; a loyal friend, generous to a fault. He adores his wife and children, but he can’t help constantly feeling slightly inferior to Amo, whose high moral standards match her high expectations of her husband. This drives Sifiso to accept a lucrative offer that comes at the cost of his soul.
Brian (played by Evan Hengst)
Miranda’s controlling fiancé Brian presents himself as an elegant fixer of problems, a protector of damsels in distress. And although Miranda was exactly that when she lost her father and Brian stepped in to take over his role in Miranda’s life, Sam realises that Brian wants to keep Miranda forever in a state of fragility. Sam lets Brian know she recognises him as a bully in a suit and she warns him against harming a hair on daughter Miranda’s head, or face dire consequences. Brian is arrogant enough to ignore his future mother in law’s warning.
Catch ‘Lioness’ from Thursday 28 January only on M-Net.