South African Crime Drama 'Reyka' Renewed by Fremantle, M-Net

South African crime drama “Reyka,” a co-production between global producer-distributor Fremantle and South African broadcaster M-Net, has been greenlit for a second season.

South African-born Kim Engelbrecht and Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”) will reprise their roles in the series from writer and creator Rohan Dickson, with production set to kick off in January 2023. Season 2 will premiere on M-Net in late 2023.

The first season of the English-language drama follows the crime profiler Reyka Gama (Engelbrecht) who, while haunted by her past, hunts an elusive serial killer in the sugarcane fields of KwaZulu-Natal. Her experience of being abducted as a child by a farmer named Speelman (Glen) has left her traumatized but also helps her enter the minds of Africa’s most notorious criminals.

The second season centers around a series of violent attacks in the port city of Durban and will see Reyka work with a new team to find mysterious connections between the Lover’s Lane Killer, teenage sex workers and the deadly assault of a cobbler.

“Reyka” is jointly produced by Serena Cullen for the U.K.’s Serena Cullen Productions (“Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” “The Larkins”) and Harriet Gavshon for Emmy-nominated Quizzical Pictures in South Africa. Executive producers are Serena Cullen, Harriet Gavshon and Rohan Dickson. Nomsa Philiso and Jan du Plessis executive produce for M-Net, and Julie Hodge for Fremantle.

“Season 2 promises to be even more compelling than Season 1,” said Gavshon, who also serves as the show’s creative director. “It’s a challenge, but we’re excited by it. This time, Reyka is working in the harbor, where she comes across stowaways, smuggling, prostitution and, of course, another serial killer.” Teasing a key plot point for the upcoming season, Gavshon added: “And her abductor Speelman is very much alive.”

“I’m so excited to be making ‘Reyka’ Season 2 and exploring the dark underworld of water in KZN,” said Cullen. “We plan to come back even bigger and stronger than the first series, especially now we have the global recognition ignited by Season 1.”

“Game of Thrones” star Iain Glen in “Reyka.”
Credit: Fremantle

“Reyka” has sold to more than 147 territories for Fremantle, which is handling global distribution, including North America (BritBox), U.K. (Channel 4), Canada (CBC), Germany (RTL), Italy (Sky Italia), Australia (SBS), Latin America (HBO LatAm) and territories across Europe, including Poland and France (Canal+).

The show won four awards at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) and was nominated for two International Emmy Awards, including best drama and best actress for Engelbrecht.

Nomsa Philiso, CEO of general entertainment at South Africa’s MultiChoice Group, which owns M-Net, said: “‘Reyka’ is one of the leaders in our international co-production journey, and it’s performed exceptionally well both locally and in other territories. We are excited to see where Season 2 takes the story. We remain invested in the growth of our creatives on an international stage, and this is a further step in that direction.”

“We are extremely proud of ‘Reyka,’ our first South African drama, and all that it has achieved,” said Julie Hodge, VP of editorial for global drama at Fremantle and an executive producer on the show. “The first series received an incredible reception when it launched last year, not just in South Africa, but around the world with our incredible broadcaster partners — further reinforcing the global appeal of the series.”

Along with Engelbrecht and Glen, Season 2 of “Reyka” will see the return of series regulars Nokuthula Ledwaba, Anna-Mart van der Merwe and Gerald Steyn, as well as the addition of new cast members including Lemohang Tsipa and Samkelo Ndlovu. 

“I am very excited to see where the story goes,” said Engelbrecht. “Rohan Dickson has a clear vision for ‘Reyka.’ I am ready to explore all that ‘Reyka’ offers and go on another adventure with her. I hope the audience will go on that journey with us.”

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