Tuko Macho (Web Series) (Kenya: 2016)

Director

Jim Chuchu

Cast list

Nick Salat - Ibrahim Muchemi

Kadhu - Marianne Nungo

Jonah/Biko - Tim King’oo

Mwarabu - Njambi Koikai

Tech - Ian Thiong’o

Simon “Big Show” Kinemia - Rapcha The Sayantist

Pastor Kangai - Alice Kithinji

Bertha Yego - Millicent Ogutu

Hena - Kelly Gichohi

Charlo - Hassan Masika

Kadhu - Marrianne Nungo

Sundiata - Alvina Gachugu

Credits

Producer - Njeri Gitungo

Co-Executive Producers - George Gachara, Sunny Dolat

Production Design - Sunny Dolat

Production Sound - Mars

Director of Photography - Noel Kasyoka

Editors - Jim ChuchuNoel Kasyoka

Assistant Directors - George Gachara, Njoki Ngumi

Script Supervisor - Wambui Kiura

Writers - Jim Chuchu, Njoki Ngumi & Noel Kasyoka

Script Supervisor - Wambui Kiura

Writers - Jim Chuchu, Njoki Ngumi, Noel Kasyoka

Synopsis

Episode 1:

Tuko Macho is a vigilante group in Nairobi that is doing what they can to bring criminals to justice.  Their first suspect is Charlo, a serial car thief, whom they capture and imprison. To decide his fate, they allow the people of Nairobi to vote digitally.  Unsure if they made the correct decision after Charlo delivers chilling final words, the members of Tuko Macho realize that they are already committed to what they started.

Episode 2:

After Charlo’s body was left for the police with a note reading “Tuko Macho” attached, the media begins debating the morality of Tuko Macho.  Jonah, the leader, decides to no longer go for bandits, for he only plans 2 more “trials” and wants them to aim for more important people. He decides their second subject will be Pastor Kangai, a popular pastor who was recently in the news for her part in a hit-and-run.

Episode 3:

The episode begins by showing media coverage exposing the corruption within the Nairobi Police Department. Then, the focus turns to Pastor Kangai, whose trial by the Tuko Macho receives plenty of media attention, including an appearance by her husband who pleads for the people’s forgiveness. Ultimately, though, the people decide she is guilty. Her body is found early in the morning outside the police station, and illegal protests erupt in support. The episode ends with a flashback from a few years prior, when during Jonah found himself on a truck filled with election ballots during his time in the military.

Episode 4:

The episode begins where the last one left off with Jonah and his military colleague discovering the result of the election in the newspapers. Jonah warns his colleague to get rid of the ballot he kept with him to stay alive. The episode then picks up with the Tuko Macho, who have taken a corrupt county council officer nicknamed 'Big Show' as their 3rd target. Moreover, mobs around the city have begun imitating Tuko Macho by taking justice into their own hands. However, while their popularity is spreading, investigators are slowly catching up to them, and it is revealed in the end that investigators have discovered where Tuko Macho are recording their videos.

Episode 5:

Tuko Macho has taken another Kenyan citizen, Simon ‘Big Show’ Kimemia. The public votes Big Show to be guilty and he is sentenced to death. The police investigation for the whereabouts of Tuko Macho continues and the police organize a press conference to assure the people of Nairobi that they are working hard to get to the bottom of the Tuko Macho case. A flashback to a few years ago reveals the existence of a secret that two unnamed military men share. One of the militants calls a renowned journalist, Bertha Yego, and reveals their secret; the last government election was rigged.

Episode 6:

Tuko Macho strikes again and takes its 4th victim, Dan Otieno. Caught by Tuko Macho for reckless driving, he is eventually voted by the public as not guilty and is free to leave Tuko Macho’s confinement. A flashback to a few years ago shows the unnamed militant meeting the journalist, Bertha Yego, whom he revealed his secret to. She does not believe his secret and says she needs more evidence.

Episode 7:

The cops question the latest victim, Dan Otieno, after his release from Tuko Macho and use the information to try and locate the group. Using the information they gather, they set out to find Tuko Macho. When Tuko Macho gets word of the police investigation they immediately initiate a lockdown. A flashback to a few years ago recounts the militant getting a call from the journalist. She has a solution; she would help fake a medical problem to have him dismissed from the army. It is then revealed the militant is Biko; head of Tuko Macho.

Episode 8:

Shortly after his dismissal from the military, Biko goes on the journalists’ talk show, Point of View. During his interview he reveals the truth behind the rigged elections and the military’s involvement with it. The military claims Biko acted out simply because he didn’t want to be apart of the army anymore. Biko then wins the Integrity Award for his bravery. One year later we see Biko about to enter a car garage, when two mysterious man grab him.

Episode 9:

In the opening scene, we see an unfamiliar woman meeting the two men who kidnapped Biko in the previous episode. Biko has been brutally tortured for having revealed the truth. The woman takes responsibility for the rigged election, and sneers at Biko and other activists for thinking that they can make a difference. She orders the two goons to kill him. Thinking he is dead, they throw his body into a river, and by chance his body is discovered by Tech and Hena, who bring him to Mwarabu, who nurses him back to health. When he wakes up, she asks his name, revealing that while he was unconscious they had been calling him Jonah, after the biblical feature (this explains his Tuko Macho pseudonym). The episode ends with Biko remembering the events that lead to his body being thrown into the river.

Episode 10:

In a flashback, we see Biko frustrated that blowing the whistle did not make a significant difference in the political scene in Nairobi. He convinces Mwarabu that a vigilante justice system with four criminals in which the public is the judge of innocence would be an effective way to make a difference. She hesitates but finally agrees; thus is born Tuko Macho. In the present, Biko is struggling with the lockdown that has lasted 28 days so far. On television, he recognizes the woman who had him tortured and gave the order for his murder. Her name is Bernadette Kadhu, and she is being promoted to the position of Minister for Internal Security. In her acceptance speech, she promises the nation that her first task is to handle the threat of Tuko Macho. This is too much for Biko, who decides to break the Mwarabu’s lockdown rules and capture Kadhu with Tech’s help.

Episode 11:

Mwarabu is suspicious of Biko, but he convinces her that he is obeying her lockdown orders. Biko and Tech kidnap Kadhu with the help of an insider at the wellness centre that she frequents. The police are alerted, but they aren’t sure if Tuko Macho is responsible. Mwarabu realizes that Tech and Biko are gone; she is waiting for them when they arrive at her door with Kadhu, who is unconscious. Furious that Biko broke the rules, Mwarabu sends him away.

Episode 12:

Against Mwarabu’s wishes, Tech decides to help Biko. He asks Hena for help, but she is spotted by two cops (including Salat). They chase her into a bar, where she hides in the back. Mwarabu is alerted. In order to save Hena, she tells the police the true story of what happened to Biko, and reveals where she believe he might be hiding. Salat decides to investigate the lead, while the other officer follows Mwarabu. Biko has brought Kadhu to the place where she had him tortured. Salat, armed with a gun, arrives just after Kadhu has been let go. Holding Biko at gunpoint, he admits that he wants Biko to get away, because he wants the city to believe that Tuko Macho is still watching over them. Biko runs. In the final scene, Salat leaves town. He feels that although letting Biko go might have been a bad decision as a police officer, it was the right choice for Nairobi.

Reviews

“SERIES REVIEW: Tuko Macho.” Daily Nation, 23 June 2016, www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/mynetwork/SERIES-REVIEW-Tuko-Macho/3141096-3263672-68yrmf/index.html.

"Toronto: Digital Series 'Tuko Macho' Explores Gritty Kenyan Underworld, Audience Interaction." Variety, 12 September 2016, http://variety.com/2016/tv/festivals/toronto-digital-series-tuko-macho-explores-gritty-kenyan-underworld-audience-interaction-1201857595/

"This Gotham City-style web video thriller is set in Kenta and scripted by viewers." Quartz Africa, 8 September 2016, https://qz.com/775139/kenyan-web-series-and-crime-thriller-tuko-macho-point-to-the-challenges-and-future-of-filmmaking-in-the-country/

 

Post by: Laura Azzarello, Andrew Berger, and Kate Soar