white lies

Meet the characters – White Lies

27 February 2024
Get to know the characters on M-Net’s star-studded crime show White Lies.
two cops in office

M-Net’s latest international co-production White Lies (starting Thursday 7 March at 20:00 on DStv Channel 101) is a twisty, riveting, utterly compelling murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end. Starring Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, Picnic at Hanging Rock) as Edie Hansen, and Brendon Daniels (Four Corners, SkemerdansTrackers) as Detective Forty Bell, White Lies is at once a gripping whodunnit murder mystery, a uniquely intriguing family drama, and a thrilling and unpredictable story of a community coming face to face with its secrets and lies.

Investigative journalist Edie Hansen is stunned by the murder of her estranged brother, Andrew McKenzie, in his Bishopscourt mansion. She is pulled into the nightmarish aftermath when she’s reunited with her teenage niece and nephew in the most awkward of circumstances, and sets out to find the killer, working with – and when necessary, against – the local police.

As she hunts the killer across the complicated, beautiful city of Cape Town, crossing from the leafy suburbs to the city centre, from the slopes of the mountains to the ganglands and back again, she uncovers a charismatic evil that knows no boundaries. She finds herself at loggerheads with Detective Forty Bell (Brendon Daniels), a damaged twenty-year veteran of the force with a legitimate grudge against her, a man fighting his own demons, and losing battles within an incompetent and crumbling police force.

Get to know the players in this wide-ranging whodunnit ahead of the premiere:

Edie Hansen (Natalie Dormer)

Edie Hansen has dedicated her life to the pursuit and exposure of the truth, but she conceals her own secrets beneath an abrasive sense of humour and personal walls as high as any around the grand homes of Bishopscourt. But the day of her brother’s murder is also the day she discovers that she is three months pregnant with a baby she neither expects nor wants. Over the course of the next eight episodes, all the defences she has built against the world are going to crumble, one by one.

Detective Fortune "Forty" Bell (Brendon Daniels)

Fortune Bell has been around the block. Formerly a detective with the Hawks, he was demoted after bungling a high-profile murder investigation that led him to relapse into past bad habits, including a gambling addiction that emerges at times of stress. Forty is an honest cop and an honourable man, but he gives nothing of himself to the world, in contrast to his home life with his wife and daughters, where he is the very best version of himself. He is stricken with guilt for the suffering he has inflicted on them, and his desire to do what’s best for them comes in conflict with his loathing of the rich and powerful, who do what they please without consequence.

Daniel (Daniel Schultz) and Jaime McKenzie (Morgan Santo)

Daniel is the golden boy: handsome, athletic, and popular. Everything comes easily to him, but he cares too much about what other people think. Appearances mean more to him than any authentic sense of self, and he is haunted by a responsibility to the family name and his father’s expectations for his future. Daniel adores his shy younger sister Jaime, who is struggling to emerge from a sense of her mother’s disapproval and disappointment. Daniel is very protective of Jaime, especially following the murder when she is in danger of collapsing into herself, and when he becomes aware of the attention of their creepy neighbour, Robert Weber.

Andrew McKenzie (Langley Kirkwood)

Outwardly Andrew is a lot of fun: intelligent, witty, a little flirty, funny. But he is driven relentlessly to achieve and to overcome his hidden humble origins. He is a hollow man who has spent most of his life faking it 'til he makes it, and that has cut him off from genuine intimacy or connection, even with those closest to him. He is so afraid of losing what he has gained and being seen for who he is, that he exerts intense control over everything in his life – including his family.

Olivia McKenzie (Caely-Jo Levy)

Olivia is Daniel and Jaime’s mother and wife to Andrew McKenzie. She is the daughter of a wealthy Cape Town family that lost its money and tumbled down the social ladder. She grew up determined to return to the wealth and status of a Bishopscourt lifestyle. She has a permanent sense of life owing her more than it has given her, and her deep feeling of neglect and emptiness drives her to look for comfort in the least expected of places.

Avi Kapilevich (Daniel Janks)

Avi is an advocate with his own small law firm. He is sincere and serious in his intentions, but wry and playful in his manner. He defends Daniel and Jaime against the accusation of murder and has a romantic history with Edie. She loves him for his kindness and generosity of heart, and the fact that he can make her laugh, even when she’s at her angriest and most defensive. He takes her seriously, but sees through her tough veneer to what really matters.

Werner Weber (Warrick Grier)

Werner Weber is a wealthy German businessman who has been living in South Africa for the past twenty years. He divorced his first wife shortly after the birth of their son Robert, paid her off and assumed custody, and there have been four wives since. His current wife is Nonzi, a former beauty queen, now trapped in her gilded cage. Werner is meticulous, orderly, and incredibly arrogant. He amuses himself at the expense of other people and doesn’t care what they think of him. He may be the only person in Bishopscourt who always tells the truth.

Peri Zondo (Athenkosi Mfamela)

Constable Zondo is a hard-working, serious young man who has come from extreme poverty and overcome many challenges. He is a rookie policeman with no confidence in himself. His search for a mentor leads him to Forty, but can the damaged senior detective live up to Peri’s expectations?

White Lies is produced by Harriet Gavshon and Nimrod Geva for Quizzical Pictures, with Natalie Dormer and Darrel Bristow-Bovey also serving as executive producers. The series’s lead director is The Wound’s John Trengove. Directing alongside Trengove are Thati Pele (Lerato), Catharine Cooke (Reyka), and Christiaan Olwagen (Poppie Nongena, Kanarie). Julie Hodge is executive producing on behalf of Fremantle, who is also distributing the series internationally.

White Lies was created by Sean Steinberg, and Matt Western was the casting director for the UK cast. The eight-part series premieres on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) on Thursday 7 March at 20:00. Stream it on DStv Stream or watch at your leisure on DStv Catch Up. Join the conversation on FacebookXInstagram, and TikTok using #WhiteLiesSA.