Netflix’s South African crime drama show, ‘Fatal Seduction,’ created by Steven Pillemer, revolves around protagonist Nandi’s complicated life after a whirlwind extramarital affair leads to darker roads. During a getaway weekend trip to best friend Brenda’s beach house, an unhappily married Nandi partakes in a passionate affair with a younger man, Jacob. However, when the weekend ends with an investigation into Brenda’s alleged suicide, Nandi’s life takes a drastic turn for the worse. Trying to hide her ongoing affair with Jacob, who turns out to be her student at college, Nandi uncovers dark secrets about Brenda’s case and her husband, Judge Leonard’s dishonest past.
Brenda’s death forms the epicenter of the show’s various plot points and seems to have a connection to every character’s storyline. Shortly after news of her suicide comes out, cop-turned Private Investigator, Vuyo, Leonard’s brother, launches his own investigation and tries to find an explanation. As the show’s first volume comes to an end with episode 7, no actual culprit has yet been found, and Brenda’s death is still being officially written off as a suicide. If you’re wondering who could be behind Brenda’s murder, here are our thoughts on the same. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Who Killed Brenda?
Over time Brenda introduced as a wild party girl, reveals herself as a woman gravely tormented by her past life experiences. After Busi Vilakazi, one of Brenda’s students, is raped and killed at a young age, grief overtakes Brenda’s life entirely and ruins her. She drinks, parties, and uses sex as a distraction from her pain and suffering. Therefore, when the police find Brenda in her bathtub with her wrists slit, they are inclined to believe that she committed suicide.
Nevertheless, her close friends are not satisfied with that conclusion. As such, Vuyo, her secret lover, uses his connections to look into the case and find clues that may point toward another explanation. Through Vuyo’s investigation and the insight we, as viewers, have on the characters, Jacob immediately seems like the obvious suspect. Wrapped in intrigue and mystery, Jacob is suspicious enough that the idea of him killing Brenda doesn’t seem that farfetched.
Moreover, a connection is formed between Jacob and Brenda as we learn more about his character. Ten years ago, Brenda provided the key witness statement against Benjamin Jiba that put him behind bars for Busi’s murder. Eventually, Jiba committed suicide after his own family refused to believe in his innocence. Therefore, by being Jiba’s only son, Jacob has the motive to kill Brenda and can be placed at the crime scene on the day of. The same paired with his stalking and catfishing schemes casts Jacob in an almost damnable suspicious light.
However, at the end of episode 7, Jacob denies having any involvement in Brenda’s death. Although taking his word on the matter hardly seems clever, it’s important to remember that Jacob makes this claim in the same breath that he confesses to plotting Leonard’s death. Why would Jacob half confess to crimes? At this point, Jacob trusts Nandi enough to believe she will share his vision, which is why he reveals he had entered her life with the motive to kill Leonard, who prosecuted Jiba. There is always a possibility that Jacob is telling half-truths to manipulate Nandi. Still, given the circumstances and his manic obsession with Nandi, it doesn’t sound plausible.
Alternatively, Leonard could also be a potential suspect in the crime. Ten years ago, Leonard convinced Brenda to lie on record to prosecute Jiba. Although Brenda seems steadfast in her belief that Jiba killed Busi regardless of tangible evidence, a part of her must have doubts. Perhaps the guilt of playing a role in a man’s suicide ate away at her, leading her to consider confessing the truth. If that were the case, it would wreck Leonard’s career and have legal repercussions. Similarly, Detective Charlie, who was in on the plan with Leonard, has just as much to lose and hence has identical motives.
Additionally, since sexual relations and passion form such a crucial part of the show’s themes, it would be amiss not to analyze those aspects of Brenda’s life. Brenda and Vuyo have been in a relationship for some time and have been hooking up for longer. Even though their relationship was a secret, it seems to be built on a genuine connection. Due to the same, Vuyo is incredibly affected by Brenda’s death and goes the extra mile while searching for her killer. Considering he’s the one constantly digging up the buried case and investigating it, it’s unlikely that he killed Brenda.
On the other hand, Brenda matched with a stranger on an online dating site the night before her death. The identity of this mystery man remains a secret that has the potential to become something much more. We also know someone visited Brenda moments before she died. This stranger could possibly be the Tinder hook-up returning. The narrative also suggests a past entanglement between Brenda and Leonard, which hints at the possibility that Leonard might have shown up at her house that night.
Throughout the show, Brenda eagerly advises Nandi to end her marriage with Leonard and even encourages her to sleep with Jacob. Was Brenda simply driven by her belief that Nandi deserved better that incited these encouragements? Or did she have other reasons to want Nandi’s marriage with Leonard to be over? A possible relationship between Brenda and Leonard would increase the likelihood of Leonard being Brenda’s killer and provide a rounded conclusion to the show’s narrative.
Unless a brand new character takes center stage for Brenda’s death, one of the discussed suspects seems like the best bet with the given information. The last bit of speculation can also come from outside canon events. Since ‘Fatal Seduction’ is a remake of ‘Dark Desire,’ another Netflix series, should the show decide to go down the same route, Brenda’s death could be revealed to have been a suicide all along.