Interrogation Room is a South African television drama series produced by Fremantle Media for SABC1 which explores the emotional impact that crime has on its victims and on the police themselves. Most of the drama unfolds indoors, in the tense, claustrophobic, environment of the police station.
The series premiered on SABC1 on Thursday 11 November 2004, at 21h00. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 2 aired on SABC1 from 13 October, 2005 to 5 January, 2006, on Thursdays at 21h00. There are 13 hour-long episodes in the second season.
Season 2 Synopsis
In the first episode Thandiswa loses her husband in a hijack and she and her son move in with her widowed mother, who is only too supportive and pleased to help her raise her child.
It's a beautiful house, with spectacular views - but the crazy old bat is driving Thandiswa crazy. She's taken to working later and later just to get away. The later she works, the closer she gets to her friend and colleague Frederick Erasmus.
For the first time in her life Thandiswa is on the verge of an affair with a white man.
It goes against everything Thandiswa once believed, but in the new South Africa anything and everything is possible.
The crime stories of Interrogation Room bring an array of new faces to the screen every week. They are the guest characters: the victims, the suspects, and the witnesses of crime. They represent South Africa's myriad races and cultures.
Young or old, rich or poor, black or white: crime and the fear of crime is a blight on everyone's lives.
Crime: A South African Reality
South Africans today are deeply worried about crime. We fear it and we hate it. Every day we read about a new atrocity, a new pointless, violent attack on innocent citizens.
Interrogation Room attempts to show that crime can be solved, that justice can be done, and that the people can be protected.
It is an intimate look at police procedure at its most basic - and a revelation of police 'culture' and what really goes on behind the scenes in a way rarely tackled in police television dramas.
The legal minefield that is the rights of suspects and witnesses put Thandiswa and her fellow cops under enormous pressure - and a wrong decision can lead to disaster.
A witness might be pushed into making false accusations by incorrect interviewing methods. A murderer can be let loose, or an innocent wrongly incarcerated.
The truth is not always simple or easy to get to. People lie for all sorts of reasons, not always obvious. And sometimes, inevitably the police feel like 'bending' the rules for the sake of justice.
What do you do if a suspect gloats "off the record" about a horrific crime but looks like he'll get away with it? How do you cope with a rape victim who refuses to identify her attacker? When do you admit to your colleagues that you're out of your depth and can't cope? How do you decide if it's worth giving a culprit another chance?
And what actions might you resort to if you think it will mean justice - does the end ever justify the means?
Underlying the series are questions about the nature of law, justice and society in the new South Africa. By showing the various legal rules that dictate police technique, questions can be asked about the appropriateness - or otherwise - of the legal system.
The IR Universe
The Open Plan Office
Cops at their desks. Working the phones. Arguing the case. Getting the answers. On the Internet, searching databases, tracking information.
Detective Sami Ntshona knows computers even better than he knows the city. He'll bend the law, even break it, to see that justice is done.
Sami's heart rules his head - he has a vicious temper. He hates criminals, but he'll fall in love with Thandiswa.
Staff Room & Locker Rooms
Cops at rest. Cops at play. Heading home, starting work, eating lunch. Talking, fighting, helping, flirting.
The station's Commanding Officer, Martin Mseleku, likes to hang around joking and laughing with the other cops. Not exactly a workaholic, he relies on his number two, Thandiswa - she's the best cop he's got.
But Thandiswa's honesty will one day clash with Martin's corruption.
Public Reception Area
Victims pour in, desperate for help. Criminals are dragged in from the streets. Cops like Detective Frederick Erasmus must face the public every day as they battle to keep the city's crime wave under control.
Frederick feels a heavy burden of guilt for the racist beliefs that many of his friends and family still hold. None of them approve of his burgeoning relationship with a married black woman - Thandiswa.
Suspects behind bars. Waiting to be interrogated, hoping to be released. Drunks recovering, cops ignoring all the anger and abuse. Lawyers like Nena Pillay fighting for justice. Guilty or innocent, her clients almost always walk free.
Nena knows the law and how to work the system. It's not about the truth, it's about winning. Thandiswa can't stand her - and the feeling is mutual.
[All seasons consist of 13 episodes]
Premiere: 11 November 2004 | Finale: 3 February 2005 | On: Thursdays, 21h00
Premiere: 13 October 2005 | Finale: 5 January 2006 | On: Thursdays, 21h00
Premiere: 11 October 2007 | Finale: 3 January 2008 | On: Thursdays, 21h00
Premiere: 14 August 2008 | Finale: 6 November 2008 | On: Thursdays, 20h30