M-Net (DStv 101) is bringing DStv Premium customers another excellent local production with outstanding talent.

Lioness, starring Shannon Esra (Still Breathing) is the story of a woman who loses her children, her lover and her freedom when she is framed for fraud committed by her husband before his death. She emerges from prison eight years later and, while trying to reunite with her son and daughters, discovers that her husband is still alive.

The thrilling 10-part crime drama, which airs Thursdays at 20:30 on M-Net (DStv 101), also stars Jacques Bessenger, Frank Rautenbach, Nokuthula Mavuso, Gerald Steyn, Joshua Eady, Fiona Ramsay and Natasha Sutherland.

Meet the characters

Samantha (Shannon Esra)

Esra currently plays the lead role of Samantha in “Lioness,” a 10-episode family thriller-drama by M-Net.

Samantha tends to get herself in trouble, when she impulsively seeks out adventure to cater for her boundless energy and passion and when she calls a spade a spade. Sam missed out on finding love when she became pregnant at 17, marrying a man who does not get her or fulfil her needs as a woman. She is forced to choose between her own happiness and that of her children. She chooses her children but makes a disastrous mistake by committing a crime to save them.

Adrian Hugo (Jacques Bessenger)

Jacques Bessenger plays the role of Adrian Hugo, husband of the lioness in the 10-episode family thriller of the same name, for M-Net.

For investment broker Adrian Hugo, image is everything - an urbane model of a man, a winner in every way, but his life-long competition with his brother leads him to cross ethical boundaries, heading down a slippery slope from where it becomes impossible to return.

Jason Hugo (Frank Rautenbach)

Frank Rautenbach stars as Jason – Adrian’s brother in M-Net's family thriller series “Lioness”.

Jason Hugo, on a path to be appointed as a Con-court judge, is a righteous, magnanimous supporter and benefactor to Sam and Adrian in their hour of need, but under the smooth facade is a man who harbours deep desires which can only be satisfied by playing the long game.

Anton Marais (Gerald Steyn)

Gerald plays the lead male opposite Shannon Esra in “Lioness,” a 10-episode family thriller-drama by M-Net.

Anton Marais is appointed as security detail responsible for the safety of Adrian Hugo's wife and children. The fastidious guard surprises Sam by his insightful observations about her and her family, but it is soon apparent that he has a sinister agenda.

Miranda (Jazzara Jaslyn)

Jazzara Jaslyn stars as Samantha’s oldest daughter Miranda in “Lioness”, a 10-episode family thriller for M-Net.

Teenage Miranda takes life much too seriously and can’t bear imperfection. She hero-worships her urbane, successful father, interpreting his desperate attempts to save his sinking company with dedication to work. By contrast Miranda is averse to her mother’s general disorder and her embarrassing lack of decorum. When Miranda is suddenly plucked out of her protected world, she is completely unprepared for the consequences.

Liam (Joshua Eady)

Joshua Eady stars as Liam, Sam's observant son.

Eleven-year-old Liam is closest to his mother, sharing his anxious, dark thoughts with her. She fears her son is by nature too sensitive and too distrustful, but in time discovers Liam has seen things that threaten to damage his emotional and mental health.

Caitlyn (Avianah Abrahams)

Avianah Abrahams plays the role of the feisty little Caitlyn in “Lioness”. She is Sam and Adrian’s last-born child and was only 3 years old when her family was torn apart and she was taken to live with her uncle and aunt, Jason and Megan. Childless Meg embraced Caitlyn with a fervor that suggested she had no intention of ever letting her go again. The little princess quickly learned to capitalise on the situation for her own benefit and in the process becomes quite the manipulator.

Megan (Natasha Sutherland)

Natasha Sutherland plays Megan, Sam's sister in law and Jason's wife. Meg comes from a family with political clout and is an asset to Jason’s ambition to become a Constitutional Court judge. She is articulate, groomed to perfection and active in women’s organisations, but behind the veneer of sophistication is a needy woman, who found relief from the pain of being unable to have children when Jason offered to foster Sam's children while she was in prison. Caitlyn came to Meg as a toddler and now sees Meg as her own mother. Meg will do whatever it takes to hold on to the daughter she shaped to be her own.

Charlotte (Fiona Ramsay)

Fiona Ramsay plays Sam’s bohemian mother, who has a need for self-expression and independence but would like someone else to fund it. Charlotte tries her best when it comes to motherhood, with limited success, because her own needs take precedence. Nevertheless, when her granddaughter comes under attack, she joins Sam's lioness pack to protect their cub.

Amo (Nokuthula Mavuso)

Sam’s closest friend, Amo is married to Sifiso, CFO of Adrian's investment company.

Amo is warm hearted, insightful, honest and incorruptible - or so she thinks, until her family comes under threat. Amo is torn between doing what is right and protecting her friendship and her family, a lioness in her own way. Amo resorts to avoiding rather than confronting the crisis, for fear of permanent damage, but her true nature is unable to do so forever.

Sifiso (Terrence Ngwila)

Amo’s husband Sifiso Twala, is the spontaneous life of the party; a loyal friend, generous to a fault. He adores his wife and children, but he can't help constantly feeling slightly inferior to Amo, whose high moral standards match her high expectations of her husband. This drives Sifiso to accept a lucrative offer that comes at the cost of his soul.

Brian (Evan Hengst)

Miranda’s controlling fiancé Brian presents himself as an elegant fixer of problems, a protector of damsels in distress. And although Miranda was exactly that when she lost her father and Brian stepped in to take over his role in Miranda's life, Sam realises that Brian wants to keep Miranda forever in a state of fragility. Sam lets Brian know she recognises him as a bully in a suit and she warns him against harming a hair on daughter Miranda’s head, or face dire consequences. Brian is arrogant enough to ignore his future mother in law's warning.

Coming up

Episode 1

Forty-four-year old Samantha Hugo emerges from prison, determined to reunite with her long-lost children, 24-year-old Miranda, 21 year old Liam and 11-year-old Caitlyn, but her efforts are unexpectedly sabotaged. Eight years before, someone is spying on the Hugo family. Neglected by her husband, love-starved thirty-six-year old Sam is out to bust the spy, only to become drawn to him instead.

Episode 2

Sam is excited to hear Liam is returning from Cape Town, but their encounter has an unexpected outcome. Sam demands a meeting with Caitlyn, but behind the scenes Megan is a puppet master at work to keep Caitlyn for herself. Eight years before Sam is thrown into crisis when she finds out the priority crimes unit is about to tear her family apart and she is forced to choose between love and saving her children.

Episode 3

When Sam follows Liam into Joburg CBD, she discovers her son is in the clutches of a drug dealer, and she must rely on the skills she learnt in prison to try and save him.

Eight years before, she finds out what happened to her missing husband, and has to face the music alone. Boy-Liam gets an urgent message to his mother about something he witnessed.

Episode 4

Boy Liam is traumatised at school and goes missing. Sam is notified and goes berserk inside prison. Deserted by her friend and her mother, Jason is Sam's only ally outside.

In the present Charlotte and Sam have a huge fight over something Charlotte had given the pesky tabloid journalist, and Jason makes a disturbing declaration. Then Sam sees something on the news that turns her world upside down.

Episode 5

Teen-Miranda can't get over the loss of her family and spins out of control. In the present Sam is on a mission to uncover the truth behind the news-clip she saw and confronts the three people who are the most likely to have answers. Twenty-one year old Liam has a nightmare about something he witnessed as a boy. Sam gatecrashes her daughter's wedding when she uncovers who benefitted most from Adrian's death.

Episode 6

Ten years ago Sifiso discovers dodgy transactions in Hugo Investments books while Adrian begs for his brother's help. In the present Sam corners the tabloid journo when she makes the front page with a story that enrages her family. While Miranda on honeymoon is shocked to discover Brian's double life, Sam drowns her sorrows with Bonolo in a seedy hotel, where Anton must take action to prevent Sam from breaking parole.

Episode 7

Sam must kidnap her daughter from a bully and makes good on an ominous warning she recently gave him. Lesedi hears her parents in conflict over her dad's involvement in the death of Liam's father. As Liam works through withdrawal symptoms, his memory about the night of his father's funeral starts to return. Lesedi is torn between protecting her dad and telling Liam the truth. Liam has shocking news for his mother.

Episode 8

Sam confronts Sifiso, but he is unable to reveal the missing link. Only when she sees the police report do the puzzle pieces fall into place. Armed with the information she was looking for, Sam asks Bonolo to help her get a 4x4 and a gun. She's on a mission to cross the border on a hunt. Meanwhile Miranda discovers an disturbing secret about someone she has known all her life and Meg teams up with Brian to get rid of Sam.

Episode 9

Eight years ago someone used emotional blackmail on their lover to protect their future, setting a sequence of events in motion that had disastrous consequences for everyone close to them. In the present Sam finds what the proof of she was looking for, but bringing it back to Joburg is easier said than done. Moreover, back home a deadly surprise is waiting for her.

Episode 10

A family court case takes place in a high-rise hotel in Sandton, bringing a man face to face with his past. Samantha as prosecutor and judge, delivers her sentence. Meanwhile Caitlyn is trapped in a smoke filled room and Sam has déjà vu, remembering her toddler's curtains on fire eight years before. As Sam rushes to save her daughter, the man she sentenced ends up on the roof, facing a gun in the hand of her outraged, traumatised son.

Watch Lioness S1 Thursdays at 20:30 on M-Net (DStv 101). 

M-Net is available on DStv Premium. To Get DStv or upgrade your DStv package, click here

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