Traffic! is an investigative drama/thriller following our central character, Detective Lungi Mlaba (Bonnie Mbuli) who, in the course of a murder investigation, finds her own integrity is severely put to the test. Despite being a brilliant cop, she is first and foremost a compassionate human being with her own needs and insecurities, trying to balance the demands of her home environment in the township with her working life in the suburbs. Like every working mother, she is faced with tough choices about where her priorities lie. Lungi is deeply disturbed by the murder of two young girls in her Table View precinct: one an apparently homeless teenage street walker, the other, nineteen-year-old Mia Joseph, a beloved daughter from a ‘good home’. In Lungi’s eyes, the two victims should be given identical treatment, regardless of their social standing. As more young girls’ bodies are discovered and other young girls in the area disappear, Detective Lungi is in a race against time to catch the killer. At the same time, she is trying to protect her own child against her dangerous ex-boyfriend, S’bu (Mbulelo Grootboom).
Detective Songezo (Bongo Mbutuma) keeps a level head during the investigations in order to help solve the murders and disappearances of the many girls in the area.
Watch Traffic every Wednesday at 21:30 on eKasi and 21:35 on e.tv.
In the second season of Traffic! Lungi and Songezo investigate a series of murders where the victims are young, pregnant women. Forensics (Roy Davids) reveals that the women are strangled and mutilated. The women are always draped in exotic fabric, and their bodies seated to face away from the ocean. Could this be the work of a serial killer? Lungi and Songezo, still a dynamic force, make good progress through various leads. The mutilation of the bodies and the removal of most of the two women’s foetuses suggest they are looking for a muti murderer. Before long Lungi and Songezo close in on a man reputed for trading in body parts. They bring him in to the station for interrogation. But while he is being held for questioning another body is found. The investigation continues. Lungi and Songezo go out dancing one night and plied with a little too much champagne, things become physical at his house. For while, their lives are rosy and romantic. In terms of the case, though, it’s back to square one. But Lungi finds it strange that Songezo is now trying to take the lead, to play the real man at work. Lungi can’t reconcile her feelings for Songezo, which make her feel vulnerable, with her dominant professional approach. She tells Songezo that a romantic-professional relationship is a recipe for disaster. She wants them to revert to being “just cops” to Songezo great disappointment. In the meantime, Lungi spends time with Karabo, her neighbour from Season One. Business at Karabo’s hair salon is starting to pick up now that Karabo has a good supplier: Busisiwe (who is dating the debonair Mthunzi) sources and imports quality real-hair extensions at an affordable price from Bali. To Lungi, Karabo’s life seems charmed: she’s also dating the shy but appealing Duke, who is over-the-moon in love with Karabo. But when her supplier, Busi, who is also pregnant, is murdered, Karabo is really shaken. There is a chasm between Lungi and her mother, who accepts that Andiswa was involved in the trafficking ring but cannot entirely understand that Lungi arrested her own sister. This troubled mother-daughter relationship is at a stalemate. In the wider world of the story, a new police commissioner (Saul Morojele) is assigned to the station. With his high profile connections, including politicians and business tycoons, he’s clearly a political placement. The station gets used to some high profile guests, including property mogul Reginald Maqaqasi; Minister of International Relations Mzwakhe Mkhizi; and the sangoma that counsels one of the royal Xhosa houses. Lungi discovers she is pregnant but hides her pregnancy from Songezo. She starts to become overwhelmed and experiences debilitating panic attacks. Despite pushing herself physically, Lungi cannot hold back the next panic attack. This time Songezo is with her. He tries to help. She makes him promise not to tell anyone at the station about her panic attack. He agrees, on the condition that she sees a therapist which she does.
In prison, Lungi’s sister Andiswa is part of a Book Club led by Amayi, a woman in her 50s who is passionate about African authors but guarded about her personal life. These meetings are healing for Andiswa who starts to acknowledge her past misdemeanours, where she was part of the downfall of so many young women: taking responsibility for this but also coming to terms with the person she was as a drug addict. Finally, in a smaller story that begins towards the end of this series, we see S’bu (from Season One) in prison. Through letters and the prison network, he keeps in touch with Andiswa, his ex-girlfriend. But when Andiswa ends this communication, as a result of her own commitment to self-recovery, this is the final straw for S’bu. He blames Lungi who, he feels, has destroyed his life. Lungi put him in prison and it’s due to her that he has no contact with his daughter. This series concludes when, from prison, S’bu hires someone (Nathi from Season One) to take Lungi out. This is a story that plays out in Season Three, and which interferes with Lungi and Songezo’s new case …
Location: Cape Town
Director: Heleni Handt / Mandilakhe Yengo / Jenna Bass
Production Company: Penguin Films
Year: 2014 & 2016