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The Lab

Genres: Drama
Broadcast on: SABC1, SABC3

Rate:

8.0

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Episodes

SEASON 1 | 2 | 3

Episode 1

The office is abuzz with the arrival of the inscrutable Mingus Khati from London, rather earlier than expected. He has been seconded to L.A.B., and his job is to evaluate whether the upstart company would be a suitable vehicle for managing Lancaster International's 18-million pound investment portfolio.

He sits in on the multinational Atlantic Oil empowerment deal that the LAB is brokering, only to witness unexpected difficulties in the boardroom.

As the youthful Mingus continues to examine the workings of the LAB, tensions rise as Jaws gets increasingly frustrated with what he perceives to be Mingus's lack of understanding of local conditions – much to the alarm of the rest of the LAB team.

Vuvu tries very hard – albeit not very successfully – to make Mingus feel at home in Johannesburg. Meanwhile Mbali Mosimane, a young journalist from Finance World, is asking some questions a little too close to the bone in her pursuit of a feature article on Pearl's role in the LAB.

An inspired intervention by Monty and Jaws into the deadlocked oil deal negotiations helps to both close the deal and win the trust of Mingus.

Episode 2

Pearl is mortified at the publication of Mbali's feature article, which describes her role at the LAB in less than flattering terms. She becomes increasingly desperate to rectify the perceived slight on her reputation and will do almost anything – including trying to influence the owner of the paper – to get them to publish her response. 

The LAB team are in the process of trying to broker a deal between Supersteel, owned by the wealthy Katz brothers who need to comply with the new BEE charter, and Oliver Dhlomo's Soweto Scrap Company.

Dhlomo does not want to front for Supersteel, but in the end economic realities win out and he accepts a deal that will leave him substantially wealthier but with no real power in the Supersteel empire.

Pearl shows her mettle in her successful bid to force a wealthy Chinese businessman to reinstate a small chocolate order with Audrey and Zintle – small traders who are part of the Womens Empowerment Consortium, which was originally formed by Pearl before she joined the LAB.

It is small fry for Mr Hung, but it means the world to the two traders.

In a moment of silly recklessness Nadine sends a saucy photo sms to Jaws, who uploads it to his computer without looking at it. A copper theft unexpectedly causes the server and all the telephone lines to go down, and suddenly there is a real danger of the picture accidentally being forwarded to everyone in the office.

The danger of their affair being discovered, as well as Nadine's realisation that Jaws has been less than honest with her, leads to huge tensions between them. 

After being described as an "eligible bachelor", Monty meets Liezl Caruso, an ex-Miss SA.

Episode 3

It's all systems go as the LAB is getting ready to pitch for the advisory work for the privatisation of ESCO, the national electricity supplier, which could potentially bring in hundreds of millions in fees.

We meet the flamboyant Lord Spriggett from Lancaster International, who jets in to support the ESCO bid.

An article critical of the South African Minerals Charter, by one of Spriggett's colleagues in a London newspaper, suddenly puts the LAB-Lancaster bid in jeopardy, and puts their opponents, the more old-school SA Merchant Bank, in the front-runner position.

It becomes critically important for the LAB to strengthen their position, by either contriving a meeting with the head of the tender panel in order to explain the situation, or to find some way of discrediting SAMB.

In the process, Nadine, Pearl and Jaws all find themselves on dubious moral ground. 

The dinner organised by Lord Spriggett to celebrate their bid falls horribly flat as everyone act out their frustration and disillusionment with their role in preparing the bid.

Mingus starts becoming disenchanted with his boss, Lord Spriggett, and Monty sleeps with ex-Miss SA. 

Episode 4

A group of protestors from the Anti-Privatisation Forum invade the LAB offices and stage a sit-in to protest against the privatisation. This comes at a most inconvenient time as the LAB team are busy interviewing foreign strategic equity partners. 

Nadine is trying to deal with her feelings for Jaws, the sit-in and Yom Kippur all at the same time. Mingus is forced to engage with his past as his mother not only insists on inviting him to a traditional party in the township before his imminent return to London, but also asks him to provide the live sheep needed for slaughtering.

Vuvu gives her Versace top to the cleaning-lady by mistake. Spriggett intervenes much to her chagrine. Pearl offers Mingus a job at the Lab, which he declines.

Jaws has to realise that his struggle days are long behind him as he finally loses patience and calls the riot police to remove the protestors. Monty ends it with ex-Miss South Africa.

At the airport, Mingus changes his mind and decides to stay in Johannesburg, leaving Lord Spriggett to return to London on his own.

Episode 5

The Lab do a deal between the larger-than-life mining-magnate Donald Makubela and a rural community from KZN. While visiting the community, Jaws's struggle sympathies shine through and he passes on some critical information to the community spokesman.

The deal which emerges serves the Lab but short-changes Makubela.   

Nadine and Jaws finally fall in love after his crisis of identity. Yet another unsatisfying, uncomfortable interaction with his father convinces Monty that the LAB should list on the JSA.

Not everyone agrees with him. Meanwhile Pearl's impotence is compounded when tries unsuccessfully to get the LAB to help fund a rural women's agri-business.

Vuvu offers to help Mingus look for an apartment. Mbali comes along and the situation becomes uncomfortable.

Episode 6

Jaws's wife Tsholo, a television producer, films the pilot episode of her soap-opera at the Lab offices over the weekend. It is the first time Nadine and Tsholo connect.

Vuvu is asked to play an extra on the spur of the moment, and sleeps with her ex-boyfriend, an actor who has been cast in the soap-pilot. Monty develops a fascination with the hair and wardrobe department. 

There is disturbing fallout from the mining deal as Makubela, unhappy about the way the negotiations have gone, tries to harm the LAB by putting pressure on their other business partners.

Try as he might, Jaws fails to change Abel Maropeng's mind – he is taking his business elsewhere.

Pearl is compromised into attending Makubela's teambuilding weekend in the country. He tries to poach her from the LAB but she manages to turn the tables on him by offering him preferential shares in the LAB listing.  

Mbali and Mingus sleep together for the first time.

Episode 7

The Supersteel / Soweto Scrap deal spirals towards disaster when double invoicing is discovered to be turning a corrupt profit and an on the side illegal copper trade, threatens to compromise the LAB.

Judgment time forces the Labsters to reveal to the authorities or turn a blind eye and keep the benefits of the deal inside the LAB. 

Pearl's romantic negotiations with the minister are derailed when Pearls teenage daughter, after a drugged up joyride with her white boyfriend lands her in police-lock up. 

Episode 8

The LAB's JSE listing is dominating personal and professional demands and no one is free from the heat. Failure is certain if an underwriter isn't secured and demand for shares needs to sky rocket.

Reputations at stake, Pearl is at the mercy of her previous employers, Jaws is in with the Public Investment Corporation and Monty is in the clench of begging his father for assistance.

The LAB team joins the power struggle with Mingus's ambition at the fore front he overplays his hand by demanding to be made a director, and Nadine and Vuvu want stock options out of the deal. 

Episode 9

The final hour arrives and the JSE listing is a done deal. Success seems within reach as LAB shares rise but all success comes at a price. 

The LAB's gala listing launch supplies personal drama for everyone. Mingus ends up taking both his mother and Mbali to the event – neither without complications as his mother fearlessly takes the minister of Trade and Industry to task about his failings in government.

Monty is again confronted with his unsupportive father, and unexpectedly and impulsively finds himself kissing Andre, the event organizer. Nadine, driven by jealousy, makes a scene which tips off Jaws' wife Tsholo about the affair.

And Vuvu crosses the line of acceptability in her single-minded pursuit of getting the President to attend the function. 

Episode 10

All indications on the surface show the LAB is flying high, but ruin could close in if government postpones the privatization of ESCO – the deal which was the rationale for listing the LAB in the first place.

Internal panic prevails as Pearl tries to influence the Minister of Trade and Industry, yet again, Monty illegally invests a huge sum of the Lancaster investment fund in a dubious banking deal without telling the other partners and Jaws' world collapses when Tsholo discovers evidence of his affair with Nadine.

She and the kids move out and Nadine finally ends it with Jaws.

Mingus and Mbali, in celebration of their moving in together, host a diner party but with everything else that is going on at the LAB it's a disastrous affair.

Episode 11

The LAB is set for crisis as reactions to the ESCO postponement tumbles the LAB share price. Lord Spriggett of Lancaster International, the Foreign backers of the LAB, jets in from London to assess the possible damage.

Monty's dubious banking deal surfaces and Lord Spriggett realises that Lancaster's money was used without authorisation. Privately, Spriggett offers Mingus top position at the expense of Monty.

Vuvu accidentally slips to journalist, Mbali about Pearl's low-key affair with the minister of Trade and Industry. Mbali digs up evidence of behind-the-scenes influence.

Vuvu must convince her not to publish the story, and Mingus puts pressure on her to abandon the story

Monty finds himself getting closer to Andre after their impromptu kiss at the Gala Dinner.  

Episode 12

A hostile takeover by Lancaster International is blazing through the LAB. Lord Spriggett announces his intentions to fire Monty as CEO. Monty tries to gauge who in the company would support him.

The various shareholders promise to vote with the LAB, but require surety, which would mean that everyone has to put up their personal assets.

Nadine is feeling isolated and contemplates leaving the company. Her potential new partners try to get her to bring sensitive information with her. 

Spriggett makes a compelling case for Lancaster taking over the LAB, until Nadine, having discovered where her true loyalties lie, finds a way of turning the tables on him. 

Monty outs himself to Jaws, uncertain of whether he is doing the right thing.

Episode 13

Monty's and the LAB's darkest hour. No prisoners are taken as cutthroat greed driven politics and inner circle deals make and break careers and reputations.

Jaws's wife leaves him. Nadine leaves the company. The LAB delists. But the LAB survives with an unexpected financial bailout and a new CEO takes control.

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