Donna Cormack-Thomson on her breakthrough in Catch Me A Killer

10 April 2024

Donna Cormack-Thomson on her breakthrough in Catch Me A Killer

Catch Me A Killer, the first South African series selected for Series Mania, is now available to binge on Showmax.

Charlotte Hope, who played Myranda in Game of Thrones and headlined Starz’s The Spanish Princess as Catherine of Aragon, stars in Catch Me a Killer as Micki Pistorius, South Africa’s first-ever serial-killer profiler. 

Watch the trailer for Catch Me a Killer

Adapted from Pistorius’ memoir, the harrowing true crime series is set in the mid-90s and traces Pistorius’ quest, as a newly qualified forensic psychologist, to track down South Africa’s most feared killers at a time when the country was gripped by an epidemic of rising crime and mass murder. Each episode looks at another of her cases, from the Station Strangler to the Cleveland Killer to Stewart ‘Boetie Boer’ Wilken.

Charlotte Hope (Micki) and Donna Cormack-Thomson (Erica) in Catch Me A Killer
Charlotte Hope as Micki and Donna Cormack-Thomson as Erica

We caught up with newcomer Donna Cormack-Thomson to find out more about her breakthrough role as Micki’s partner, detective Erica Botha. 

What makes Catch Me a Killer different from other crime dramas? 

What makes Catch Me A Killer different is that it’s all based on a true story. A lot of what we see and hear are these international crime stories but the truth is that crime in South Africa is very intense. We hear people talk about Jeffrey Dahmer, and I’m not taking away from that, but some of these crimes in the 90s here were absolutely horrific. We have a particular problem here with gender-based violence, rape and murder, so Catch Me A Killer hits very close to home. 

What also makes Catch Me A Killer different is the psychology of the criminal profiler, and how that really explores the humanity of our serial killers. But there’s also a big focus on the victims and their families. 

Tell us about your character, Erica.

Erica Bothais a detective. She’s a farm girl from the North West Province. She’s tough, but she’s also very caring. 

Micki is a role model for Erica. She did some of the criminal profiling courses that Micki offered, so she’s a huge fan. 

The way I thought of Erica is that she’s possibly had some kind of trauma in her past which led her in the direction of looking into the psychology of serial killers and crime. 

I’m a huge true-crime fan. Huge! I’ve listened to many a true-crime podcast. So the idea of playing a detective in a series was just incredible.

Catch Me a Killer has some strong female characters. 

I absolutely love that this is a female-driven story. These are strong women. These are exactly the kind of characters that I want to see on TV. 

Especially in the 90s, the police was very male-dominated. We work with that dynamic in the series: how these two women came in and were not immediately accepted into the fold, but after a while they earned their respect. 

What’s it like working alongside Charlotte – a Game of Thrones star?

Donna Cormack-Thomson as Erika in Catch Me A Killer

I had two callbacks. The first was with Charlotte, and the second with Charlotte and the producers. Funnily enough, a month before the audition, I had watched Charlotte in The Spanish Princess with my parents; we binged the whole series. So when I walked in the room, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh; huge fan!’ 

She was so nice; she’s such a down-to-earth and humble person. It was really fun to act with her. There was great chemistry. She and I actually sparked up a little bit of a friendship and it made working on this job amazing. 

She’s an incredible actress. She’s really smart. And she works really hard. It’s a lot of pressure: acting opposite someone who is such a skilled and passionate professional means I have to up my game; I have to work just as hard as her. So I’m so grateful to have had this experience. 

What has been the most challenging aspect for you?

Definitely the subject matter that we’re dealing with. It’s very heavy. 

Every time I walk onto a crime scene, or we do an interview with a family member, I take a moment to remember that this really happened. 

It can be quite draining. I’m acutely aware that this is still going on in South Africa every single day so it hits close to home. I know people who have experienced these kinds of crimes firsthand. 

So you really have to try and step out of that, at the end of the day. 

What can viewers expect from the series?

Viewers can look forward to a really gripping, gritty, dark, rich series, with an incredibly written narrative and excellent performances. It’s not paint by numbers; it’s not your usual crime series. It’s intense. 

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