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Who Killed Nnamdi? The Women Of Showmax’s Diiche Have Confessions To Make
We want to know who killed Mr. Nnamdi Nwokeji. I tracked down the women of Diiche and got them to confess.
The body of Mr. Nnamdi Nwokeji was found in a beach house, and we are all on the quest to find his killer. Diiche, the six-episode Showmax Original series helmed by multiple directors, explores several themes including the metaphysical in a refreshing whodunit tied with the single thread — who killed Nnamdi?
Whatever answer comes to mind after watching the first five episodes, the one constant is that the women of Diiche have the answer and are just making us beg for it at this point. When I speak about this series with people, I am often asked what I find the most refreshing about it and without hesitation, I whisper and then scream, “the women. It is the women. The women in Diiche are beyond excellent.”
When the trailer landed on the internet, I found myself saying “finally, finally, they have cast actors simply because they are actors.” For the uninitiated, Nollywood has fallen into a drony cycle of casting famous people and expecting them to be actors when the camera comes in front of them, but with Diiche, the actors are actors first and their brilliance shines through.
The outstanding female cast includes Uzoamaka Onuoha (Diiche), Uzoamaka Aniunoh (Inspector Ijeoma), Chinyere Wilfred (Kessandu), Gloria Anozie-Young (Adaure) and Tracey George (young Kessandu). With an authentic cast list, the filmmakers set out to make a truly Nigerian series where the characters sound like the people and the Igbo language is weaved into conversations to create a beautiful tapestry that audiences across demographics simply appreciate.
This was the goal for the show’s creator, Ifeanyi Barbara Chidi, who told me she is a huge fan of celebrating cultures on screen. Chidi has worked on several fan favourite shows including Riona and Dilemma. It is a no-brainer that she created a show as brilliant as Diiche.
“With Diiche, I was exploring the idea of a whodunit and kept adding a little of everything I found interesting. I am very proud of the show. When it was handed to James Omokwe (showrunner/director), he ran with it and I love the fact that the show is unapologetically Igbo.
“South African shows do it all the time. Someone starts a dialogue speaking English and halfway, they are speaking a native South African language. This is Nigeria and people really don’t speak English throughout an entire conversation and I wanted to show that. The idea of pushing culture is very important to me and I want that to be seen in my work,” Chidi says, as we talk about the language used in the series, characters flawlessly weaving between English and Igbo in their dialogues.
Refreshing is how I described it during our conversation and it is the only word that keeps coming to mind, even now. It is also why episode five, where we are taken to the 90s with young Kessandu and her husband Afam working their way through the grief of several miscarriages, is my favourite in the series. The composition of every element in that episode felt so intimate that when the couple had their love moments, It felt like we shared the love together, then the grief and then the desperation.
Although all the actors were excellent in their own right, Tracey George (young Kessandu) was a revelation and I wondered why I was just noticing her as an actor for the first time. But that is what good television owes the audience or at least part of it. Television takes you through a journey with the story and shows you the upcoming stars you should watch.
Ifeoma Chukwogo (Fizzy Thatcher), who directed the episode, agrees with me. “The show offered me talents to work with,” she tells me as we banter over the cast lineup.
“I’m always a fan of productions that go with new talents. I love that because it’s very easy to fall into that industry mindset of it has to be this person that has ten million Instagram followers. If a studio cannot usher in new faces, then who can? They are the ones that have the power, the PR machinery and budgets to elevate talents. I think the audience will enjoy the freshness of that, as well as some veterans who we haven’t seen much on screen like Chinyere Wilfred and Gloria Anozie-Young.”
Beyond the talents explored, the episodes so far speak to the strengths of the directors, and in the episode directed by Chukwuogo, fans familiar with her work can clearly see the use of contexts and subtexts, colours and the intensity of the scene compositions. For her, it ties into the experiments and goals for the series, especially what it could mean for the industry now that the audience has given a stamp of approval.
“For Diiche, I think one thing that I visualise is that it will sort of open up a new idea of genre composition. What I mean by that is it sort of takes two distinct genres — psychological/ supernatural drama and crime thriller — and merge them together. I think that will open up more ideas of how to incorporate two or three different genres.
“Diiche is culturally relevant and there were certains that had to do with culture, just Nigerian culture in general and we can actually combine that with our more modern themes and create a good international drama, or thriller or comedy or whatever. These themes can co-exist and that’s one thing I’m expecting that will be very clear on this project,” Chukwuogo adds,.
On either side of the two genres merging are the eponymous Diiche and inspector Ijeoma played by Uzomaka Onuoha and Uzoamaka Anionuh respectively. What happens when two Uzoamakas, who don’t like being called Amaka but Uzo, work on the same set?
They recount a story about how someone was looking for one of them and proceeded to call “Uzo” causing both of them to turn and answer at the same time. They both burst out laughing and were soon differentiated by their character names. It was one of the lighter moments on the set of a project where both women, who have been good actors under the shadows for a while, have found their light and settled graciously under it.
For Onuoha, she has one big wish and that is for the work that went into Diiche to shine through; for the audience to see it, understand it and appreciate it. “I want them to be able to see themselves in the characters. I don’t want a story that would go far off from our reality because this is actually our reality. I want the audience to be able to mirror it with their daily lives and say ‘I know someone that has gone through this before. Oh! This actually happened.’ So, I want it to be something they could relate to and at the end of the day find themselves stunned or educated or enlightened one way or the other. All the while appreciating the work put in,” she says between sighs, reflecting on the journey from script to screen.
This journey, with the efforts of everyone known and unknown on the project, is a huge part of what Aniunoh is thankful for. When I ask for the umpteenth time about who killed Nnamdi, she assures me that her character, the Inspector, is fair and careful not to nail the wrong suspect.
“She looks at the evidence before her, she listens to her heart,” Aniunoh reassures me. “She views everything, observes everything and then goes — how do I feel? Is this person really a suspect to me? Do I honestly feel that this person is a suspect? And if she doesn’t feel that, then she’s not going to obviously go after the person. She might be working on finding more, but she wants to find more and be sure before approaching people. She feels — she understands the possible damage that happens when you accuse a person wrongly. And then she doesn’t want to take that risk.”
I know you went through this hoping for an answer but there is none yet. Who killed Nnamdi? Not even I could charm the answer out of them as they all claimed they were protecting me, and by extension you, so we could enjoy the show’s finale. So I will be watching the finale, like you, hoping to get a glimpse of the killer. Maybe we already did, perhaps Nnamdi isn’t really dead or maybe the women have more up their sleeves.