By Gen Terblanche27 October 2023
Where to see the cast of Devil’s Peak on Showmax
Crime thriller Devil’s Peak starts on DStv on Sunday, 29 October. It’s based on South African Deon Meyer’s 2004 novel Infanta/Devil’s Peak, the first in his eight-novel series centred on Detective Benny Griessel (played in the series by Hilton Pelser).
Benny is a troubled detective who’s secretly hitting the bottle to drown out his panic attacks caused by a lifetime of exposure to traumatic violence and corruption on the job, which is straining his marriage with his wife Anna (Shamilla Miller), a journalist who’s also the mother to his young daughter and carrying most of the weight of their household on her shoulders.
But the drunk detective needs to be on top of things when the Assegai Killer case brings him into the orbit of Thobela Mpayipheli (Sisanda Henna), a ex-secret service agent on a quest to avenge his son’s murder, and Christine van Rooyen (Tarryn Wyngaard), a single mom who’s willing to go to any lengths in Cape Town’s seedy underworld to support her young daughter.
As crime fans know, getting to grips with a case like this takes patience. And a little background research into the major players never hurts. Fortunately the Showmax crime and drama library is open to fans 24/7, with titles like Trackers, Moffie, Inconceivable, DAM, The Girl From St Agnes, The Republic, Housekeepers, Donkerbos, Recipes for Love and Murder, and more to explore.
See Devil’s Peak’s usual suspects in these series and movies on Showmax now…
Benny Griessel is the hero of one of Deon Meyer’s bestselling ongoing crime novel series (2004-now). The author’s latest book in the series, Leo, was released in Afrikaans in October 2023.
Another of Deon’s lead detectives is Mat Joubert, hero of Dead Before Dying (adapted for TV as the 2016 series Cape Town), Dead at Daybreak (adapted for TV in 2006-7 under its Afrikaans title, Orion), and Trackers. Trackers is a tangled case in which Mat’s caught in the crossfire between diamond smuggling, rhino poaching, terrorism, and CIA activity.
Many of Deon’s books tie together through his detectives. Trackers is a crossroads for Mat and Deon’s other major detective character, Lemmer, who also appears in his 2007 novel Blood Safari, and in Heart of the Hunter (published as Proteus in 2000) – in which Lemmer crosses paths with Devil’s Peak character Thobela Mpayipheli. A film version of Heart of the Hunter is currently in post-production, starring Bonko Khoza, Sisanda Henna, Connie Ferguson and Tim Theron.
Along with all this detective work, Deon lent his touch as a producer on the Arnold Vosloo true-crime murder mystery movie Griekwastad – based on writer Jacques Steenkamp’s novel Die Griekwastad Moorde – and as executive producer on writer-director Darrell Roodt’s border war movie, Seun.
Detective Benny Griessel is a Detective Inspector at Cape Town’s Serious and Violent Crimes Unit. He’s more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants guy than a by the book and the rules cop.
While Benny is a complicated and sensitive character, the same could not be said for Hilton’s role as the vicious drill Sergeant Brand in the BAFTA nominated 1980s Border War movie Moffie, based on André Carl van der Merwe’s 2006 autobiographical novel. Moffie is just one of the slurs that Sergeant Brand screams at his platoon of 16- and 17-year-olds as he tries to strip away their humanity and transform them into killing machines.
You can see more sides of Hilton as a sinister stranger in the horror film Glasshouse and as a man in love in romantic comedy hits Home Affairs: A Christmas Tale and its sequel, Home Affairs: A Love Story.
PS: He’s Bennie Griessel in the Afrikaans novels, but Benny in the English translations of the novels, and in the Devil’s Peak TV series.
Righteous vigilante Thobela Mpayipheli captures South Africa’s imagination in Devil’s Peak when his actions hit the newspaper headlines. Thobela is also a central character in Deon Meyer’s novel Heart of the Hunter (Proteus).
You already know Sisanda as the actor-director of Showmax Original movie One Night Kwa Mxolisi, in which his character, retired rugby player Mxolisi, invites his BFFs for a night of revelry and revelations at the opening of his new restaurant. Sisanda was nominated as Best African Actor, while One Night Kwa Mxolisi was nominated as Best African Film at the New Vision International Film Festival.
Sisanda is also the farm worker accused of murder in Griekwastad, and a major player in the M-Net Original marriage drama series Inconceivable S1, football drama series Agent, multi-generation drama series Donkerland, and the film Party Kry ’n Naweek.
In Devil’s Peak, Christine keeps her and her daughter’s heads above water by attending parties thrown by Cape Town’s dodgiest businessmen.
Fans will recognise Tarryn as the troubled asylum victim Clara in Season 1 of Showmax Original horror series DAM, whose drawings reveal a terrifying secret about the local cult, or as teen mom Ilke Bastiaan in Seasons 1-3 of Afrikaans soapie Arendsvlei, and from the quirky Karoo-based drama series Dwaalster. You can also spot her as AB’s girlfriend Jenny in the Oscar-nominated movie Call Me Skollie, Anel in M-Net Original dark drama Waterfront S1, Cleopatra in supernatural crime drama series Die Spreeus, game designer Jax in the Showmax Original sci-fi thriller series Pulse, along with her roles in creative anthology series 4 Mure, football series Agent, and the film Die Invloed.
Benny’s wife Anna Griessel is fed up with doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to childcare and running their house, along with her full-time job as a journalist. But when the story of a missing child captures her attention, she and Benny will find themselves drawn together again.
Shamilla starred as Jenna Galloway, the overachieving golden girl of the school in the first Showmax Original drama series, The Girl From St Agnes.
Soapie fans will also recognise Shamilla as Yasmeen, the architect Rhafiek (Irshaad Ally) was smitten with in Suidooster Season 7. Also look out for her as Kim in the Showmax Original comedy series Tali’s Wedding Diary, and as Sophia in the bi-love triangle movie Love, Lies & Hybrids, and in sci-fi movie My Beskermer.
Benny’s young, university educated colleague Detective Mbali Kaleni is a hyper-competent investigator swimming upstream against institutional racism and sexism. When the Devil’s Peak case shakes Benny awake again, she starts to realise that he isn’t just skating by on hunches and privilege.
SAFTA-winning actress Masasa (as Thembeka in Scandal!) also radiates intelligence and competence as Joyce, a woman who finds out that her child was stolen at birth by a human trafficking syndicate in drama series Mzali Wam S1. She’s also businesswoman Nomahlubi in crime thriller Housekeepers S1 and 2, ambitious politician Bridget in political drama The Republic, ambitious TV exec Katlego in It’s Complicated S2, Kwanele in Legacy S1, and Akhona in The River S2 and 4.
Property tycoon Anton Heidt’s big businesses are a front for how he really makes his fortune through violence.
Albert is ever-ready when SA’s shows need a character actor who can do it all, but you can see a whole new side of him as drag queen Pandora Boxxx in the SAFTA-nominated movie Stiekyt. And look out for him as Pieter in the upcoming Showmax Original series Spinners from Wednesday, 8 November.
He’s also Farmer Joe in Recipes for Love and Murder, Ronnie, who’s one of the three brothers returning to the family farm in drama series Nêrens, Noord-Kaap, Deon in Griekwastad, Deon (again) in crime thriller series Donkerbos, Boer Seun in war musical movie Kanarie, Malan in Koffie en Sigarette, Vonnie in Die Spreeus, Dirk in Waterfront, Denny in Pulse, Mr Strydom in Poppie Nongena, Jacques in the thriller series Slot, Charlie in Dwaalster, Johan in comedy series Buurtwag, Dawie in drama series Vloeksteen S1 (and Rikus in S2), Dirk in the crime drama series Die Boland Moorde, and Tiaan in Die Boekklub S2.
Boef Beukes is one of Benny’s closest allies and colleagues at SAPS, and when he comes in for the Assegai Killer investigation, he stands up for Benny’s unconventional approach.
Gérard was nominated for a Best Actor SAFTA for his role as Johan de Jager in the 1996-era episodes of the multi-generational period drama series Donkerland.
You will also recognise Gérard as Reverend Koch in war musical Kanarie, prosecutor Hannes Cloete in Griekwastad, Detective Engelbrecht in horror movie The Tokoloshe, as Frans in crime drama series Spoorloos S2, Lukas in political thriller series Fluiters, and Hans Odendaal in period drama series Bloedbroers. And soapie fans will know him as Pierre in Suidooster, Jack Duvenage in Getroud Met Rugby, and Rossouw in Binnelanders.
PS: Gérard played Priester in the 2008 Deon Meyer TV series, Transito.
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