“Ludik” revolves around Daan Ludik, a man who started his furniture business from scratch and has become a famous figure in South Africa. He had his face on the billboards. He advertised his furniture on television and the radio. He was the perfect example of rags to riches story, and everyone around him respected him for his stature. Daan was married twice. His second marriage was with Anet, and they had a son named Danie. Daan also had a daughter from his first marriage, Louise. To Daan, his family was his priority, and he went to great lengths to protect them. While his life seemed simple from afar, he had secrets that could destroy him. The six-episode series is about how Daan tries to fix his life when everything around him seems to be falling apart.
‘Ludik’ Season 1: Plot Summary – What Is The Series About?
While Daan Ludik had a successful furniture business, he was also a secret smuggler of diamonds. He used to hide the diamonds in his furniture and transport them. Up until now, he had a solid reputation, and no one doubted his smuggling. But the words soon reached the wrong players, and his brother-in-law, Swys, was kidnapped in the process. The kidnappers wanted Daan to smuggle their goods for them using his transportation. The life of Swys was at stake, and Daan could do anything to keep his family alive.
As it turned out, the man who wanted Daan to transport arms for him was Arend Brown. Brown was a criminal as well as a philanthropist. He needed a person like Daan (a small fish in the ocean, as he described) to move his shipment for him. Daan confirmed the deal, knowing that it was his only way to bring home Swys. In the meantime, he had asked his secretary, Rina, to find dirt on Arend to blackmail him if need be. The sudden chaos was affecting his diamond smuggling business, and he asked his associate, Lil, to deliver half of the diamond to his client, Farhad. It would buy him time as well as leverage. Daan sends his trusted driver, Charles, to cross the border with the guns hidden in his furniture. After reaching Zimbabwe, Charles texted him that he had been taken off the route. The road was blocked, and men started firing bullets. Charles got off the truck and attempted to escape, but he was shot, and he fell into the river. Later, we get to know that Charles survived and found his way back to Ludik. Arend allowed Swys to go free, as was the deal. Daan took Swys to the hospital, where he was discharged after treatment.
While Daan struggled to trace Charles, the police started investigating the case. They had spotted an empty truck, and what made it all the more suspicious was the blood that was found around it. Even though Daan wanted to frame it as a furniture robbery, Brigadier Davies doubted that there was something more dangerous at play. After the information he received from the police, Daan rushed to Arend Brown’s house and demanded an answer for the trouble he was in. Arend explained that the truck was ambushed by a family in Zimbabwe, the Nkala family. The family was run by John Nkala, but after his recent death, his son took over the business. Arend had a healthy relationship with the father, but the son, Albert, was a lunatic in his words. The young man wanted to rearrange the system, which led to a power struggle and, ultimately, the truck ambush. Arend promised to propose a deal to make up for his loss. Daan was getting involved in a business that was way more dangerous than he had assumed it to be. It was not just Arend, who was, in a way, controlling him, but also the police, who doubted him. Daan was so caught up in his professional life that he barely had time to focus on his wife and children, making them doubt their worth in his life.
How Did Daan Ludik Spend His Childhood? Who Was Swys?
Daan Ludik’s father was a pastor at the local church. The family was not financially affluent, but Daan had the mind of a businessman from a young age. He stole eggs from their farm and sold them at a higher price to his father’s loyal customers. He was able to convince his buyers to pay more for the quality of their eggs. Daan continued to trick his father, convincing him that the chicken did not lay eggs, and managed to collect enough money to buy himself a necklace. He treasured it enough to wear it all his life. Apart from the eggs, he, his sister, Linda, and her lover, Swys, would steal candies from the local store and sell them in their village. He was always a trickster who had his eyes on the reward and went to a great extent to build the life he had always dreamt of. As a young boy, Daan had seen his father secretly meet the neighbor’s wife. He sought comfort there when his wife was bedridden.
The husband had learned about his wife’s affair with Daan’s father, and he threatened him with committing adultery. The man punished his wife for her actions, and that was when Daan’s father sheltered them. He allowed Swys to later marry his daughter, Linda, out of love for his mother and not because he considered Swys the right match. Swys struggled to hold himself together after Linda’s death. He used to be an alcoholic and had been clean for fifteen months. Swys always felt neglected by those around him. He was laughed at for his weaknesses, and only Daan truly appreciated him. After being kidnapped, he was determined to find the ones who were responsible for it and seek revenge on behalf of Daan. To numb his pain, he started drinking alcohol once again and snorted cocaine to focus on his revenge plan.
It was not just Swys whose life decisions negatively affected Daan but also his elder brother, Heins, who was a closeted homosexual. Even though Heins was married and had a son, Markus, he had a different life away from home. He was in a relationship with DJ Jakes and had plans to run away from the country with him. They hatched a plan together to get money out of Daan. DJ Jakes sent a video exposing Heins’s sexuality to Daan’s daughter, Louise. He wanted money in exchange for secrecy, but Daan was not ready to pay for it. He instead physically assaulted DJ Jakes and denied his pay. DJ Jakes was admitted to the hospital, and he refused to continue his relationship with Heins. Heins was frustrated. He could no longer live with his family and was ready to do whatever it took to get back with his partner. When his son discussed how he had saved money to train to become an MMA fighter, Heins knew he had a way out. He stole the money from his son’s account and bought tickets for them to escape, but his partner was not moved by his action, and he was left alone at the airport waiting for his lover.
How Did Ludik’s Lifestyle Affect His Son?
Ludik’s son barely communicated; he kept mostly to himself and was afraid of his father. Even as a young boy, he knew how powerful his father was, and he was intimidated by it. He felt like a disappointment most of the time. His mother, Anet, tried her best to provide him with the right environment that would help him open up. The school had decided to hold him back for a year due to his social anxiety, and that bothered Daan.
The school nurse advised the parents to understand their son instead of pushing him to be tough. Daan did not agree with her, stating that he would not treat his eleven-year-old son like a child. The more the nurse stressed the importance of a safe space for their son, the more it angered Daan. He refused to accept advice on parenting from a nurse, and he asked Anet to stop meeting with her. Daan was comparing his childhood with that of his son, which was why he could not tolerate Danie’s weakness. He did not believe it was important for them to address the issue and instead wanted to overlook it.
Anet was tired of her husband’s behavior. She had fallen in love with him when she worked at a car dealership store. Even though they had an age difference, she was attracted to his kindness. But marriage was not a bed of roses with Daan, and she started to feel neglected over time. He was caught up in taking care of two businesses, leaving her alone to deal with their son’s mental health. Anet started to fancy the school nurse since she was the only person who seemed to understand what she was going through. Meanwhile, Danie fought back the bullies at school, and he was finally appreciated by his father for showing his strength.
‘Ludik’ Season 1: Ending Explained: How Did Daan Ludik Clean Up The Mess?
Daan had to take care of the police, Farhad and Arend. His delay in delivering the remaining promised quantity of diamonds to Farhad made him furious, and he demanded to know the reason behind the delay. Daan blamed it on the border war and promised to deliver it to him as soon as the police would stop poking around his business. Farhad granted him time only because he trusted their relationship. Meanwhile, the police made a breakthrough after studying the toll gates, which indicated that out of the six toll gates that the Ludik trucks were supposed to go through according to their route, they went through only five. This meant that they took a detour for some other business. The map indicated that the area had diamond mines, and Brigadier Davies was confident that Daan Ludik could be a diamond smuggler.
Arend sent his trusted man Bells to offer money to Daan for providing them with border contacts and transport. Ludik had some other plan in mind. He wanted to develop a partnership with Bells to destroy Arend. He did not wish to get caught up in the war between Arend and the Zimbabweans. He requested Bells to inform him about the location of the gun storage. He planned to inform Albert Nkala about the guns that Arend promised to deliver but made a deal with another bidder. In return for the gun information, he asked Albert to use his police contacts to close the furniture robbery case that was opened against him. The sudden close down of the case made the Brigadier all the more suspicious. As Ludik continued building his plan to frame Arend, he asked Bells to plant a bag of diamonds in Arend’s house. Daan knew that the Brigadier was studying the routes, so he arranged his plans in such a way that they would ultimately lead to Arend and pose him as the culprit. Now that Daan and Bells were working together, Bells exposed the rat who lived with Daan and passed information about him to Arend. It was his secretary, Rina. Arend helped Rina gather information about her husband’s death, whose body was never found. Arend had promised to help her, and she betrayed Daan, hoping to find answers. She later regretted her decision and chose to take a step back.
Daan created a false identity named Wikas Kruger with the help of his associate Lil. The police would trace the approvals and routes and would eventually end up in the diamond mines searching for Kruger. According to information on the internet, Kruger would appear dead or untraceable to the police, and Lil made sure of that. All mine workers were informed about Kruger, and they had to lie to the police about seeing the man around the mines. While Bells drove to plant diamonds in Arend’s house, he was caught up with Markus and Swys. The two had been drinking, taking drugs, and preparing to seek revenge from Bells for kidnapping Swys. They tied him up and punched him till he was bleeding and weak. Bells lied to Swys about Arend’s location, and he left to kill the man. Markus had found the diamond in Bells’ car and kept it with him. The Brigadier was assisted by a police sergeant, Moyo, who preferred luxury over morals. Arend tipped the sergeant, confirming that Daan Ludik was not as simple and truthful as he seemed to be. His trucks carried more than just furniture. Arend could anticipate that Ludik was playing games, especially with Bells going missing for hours.
Daan managed to track Bells, though the diamonds he had given were missing. Markus lied to Daan, stating that he did not find any diamonds in Bells’s car. Bells was left free, and he visited Arend’s house. He passed the information that Daan’s driver was still alive. Bells warned Arend that he was waging war by stealing from the Ukrainians on the border and hiding the guns of the Zimbabweans. But Arend did not care; he wanted to continue to reap profit off violence. In the meantime, Swys stole a gun from Daan’s office chamber to shoot Arend dead.
The police were picking up the baits that Ludik had laid, and everything was going as planned except for the bag of diamonds. Ludik had disclosed to Albert Nkala the location where his guns were stored. Now the Nkalas owe Ludik a favor. Meanwhile, Daan informed the police about Swys’s disappearance, and he explained how Arend Brown had been blackmailing him into delivering goods. The police now started doubting that it was Arend who was involved in the entire diamond smuggling case and Daan was just the medium. Arend got himself involved in a massive shootout when the dealers from whom he procured guns refused to give him the quantity he demanded without payment. Bells informed Daan how the Nkala had not only taken the guns from the storehouse but also killed people there. Daan’s plan was for Bells to take the gun shipment that Arend wanted him to transport and then return to him, and he would help Bells stay in hiding.
Sergeant Moyo went to the car shed where Markus worked to gather information on Swys, but Markus’s defensive behavior made him doubtful. He searched him and found the bag of diamonds. Markus explained that he stole it from Bells, who worked for Arend. Moyo visited Arend and handed him the diamonds, proposing how he could shut the case, which at the moment looked bad for him, and in return, he wanted yearly payment. Arend agreed and asked the officer to allow him to keep the diamonds. Arend was now determined to get rid of Daan, realizing that even Bells was working for him. He informed Farhad about Daan’s involvement in the arms business, which angered him. Farhad sent his man to murder Daan and his family, but Daan managed to tackle the threat. Daan made a deal with the Nkala to send the arms the next day to them in return for their payment for the current and previous shipments. Albert was not keen on paying for the previous load since Arend had stolen from them, but Daan explained that he was now running the business and he wanted payment to carry on their partnership. Swys trespassed into Arend’s house and threatened to kill him for Daan, but Arend laughed at his idiocy and did not pay any heed to the threat. But Swys was driven by madness to stand up for himself and end the lives of those who dared to bully him. He shot Arend dead. Swys finally returned home to Daan. Even though Daan was worried about Swys, he was proud of how he managed to help him.
Charles and Bells crossed the border into Zimbabwe carrying arms, but they were greeted by men with guns in their hands. From what it seems, Albert Nkala did not keep his end of the promise. Daan packed a sofa filled with cash for Officer Moyo to keep his business trade secret. He also had a video recording of the Brigadier in a compromising position with his colleague; therefore, the police were no longer his problem. Ultimately, the police found Arend’s body with the diamonds, just as Ludik had planned. The series ends with the family praying at the church together as they try to conceal their sins in front of God. What remains unknown is how Daan dealt with the Nkala family or those who attempted to steal the arms shipment. Were Charles and Bells shot dead in the process? The series does not disclose any details about what ultimately happened in Zimbabwe. Maybe there will be another season of the remorseless Daan Ludik?
“Ludik” is a 2022 crime thriller series created by Paul Buys.