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Blood & Water is a South African Netflix original crime drama series developed by Nosipho Dumisa, Daryne Joshua, and Travis Taute of Gambit Films. The first season was released worldwide on 20 May 2020. It was renewed for a second season, which premiered on 24 September 2021.

The story follows 16-year-old Puleng Khumalo (Ama Qamata), who transfers to an elite school Parkhurst College when she suspects one of the students may be her missing sister Phumelele, whose kidnapping as a baby 17 years ago continues to hang over her family.


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Blood & Water provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Amoral Attorney: KB's father Matla Molapo has a vested interest in making sure the truth does not come out.
  • Ascended Extra: A number of side characters introduced in the first season get Hidden Depths in the second season, such as Reece.
  • Better Living Through Evil: Janet explains to her perplexed son Sam that the network she was roped into gave her "a house and a future" when she was desperate.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Most of the series is in English, but characters also flip in and out languages such as Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, SeSotho, and Shona.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Chris, who is canonically pansexual and apparently polyamorous, finds himself between Zama and Mark.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Puleng and KB at the party in the first episode when his cigarette accidentally burns a whole in her sweater.
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  • Double Standard: Principal Daniels appears to give Chris, whose parents donate to the school, far more chances to mess up than she gives Reece, which Chris notices and calls out.
  • Elaborate University High: Parts of the University of Cape Town campus were used as Parkhurst, namely Smuts Hall.
  • Foreshadowing: Zama says in the first episode "Rich people can't be dodgy".
  • Frame-Up:
    • Wendy, attempting to bring down Tahira's competition for Head Girl, "edits" Puleng's candidate profile on Fikile into a hit piece.
      • This turns Puleng into The Scapegoat, despite Wendy being the one with an obvious grudge against Fiks.
    • In season 2, the school counselor Janet plants MDMA in Puleng's bag when she's in the bathroom and tampers with her drug test results to get her sent to rehab and expelled.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube! This happens pretty much any time there is a public confrontation.
  • Interclass Friendship:
    • At Parkhurst, Puleng finds a friend group in Fikile and some other students.
    • In season 2, it is revealed Reece is the daughter of a single hairdresser with severe mental health issues and mostly gets by through dealing.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Chris and Reece give Wendy a spiked brownie as a "peace offering" at the school fundraiser. Principal Daniels then has one as well.
  • It's for a Book: Puleng often pulls this when she is caught snooping.
    Puleng: Uh. I was taking a picture of that frame for my... Pinterest board.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Puleng *thinks* Fikile is her long lost sister, and there are hints to back it up.
    • Outright confirmed in season 2.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Joseph Koopman tells Puleng her father questioned Phume's paternity. These suspicions prove to be correct when Fikile's DNA test results show her to be the daughter of Thandeka, but not Julius.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: KB is ashamed he got so possessive of Puleng when he learns that she was (initially) only hanging out with Wade because he was helping her with her investigation rather than because she was cheating on him.
  • New Transfer Student: Puleng at Parkhurst. She uses the excuse of wanting to get away from Meadowridge until the rumours about her father clear up.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Fikile's mom had actually managed to successfully have the DNA Test tampered with and convince Fikile Puleng wasn't her sister. However, Nwabisa tells her mother about her daughter's visit to Pollsmoor and says "It's being dealt with", which Fikile overhears. Since neither Fikile nor Sam told anyone of the visit, Fiks grows suspicious that maybe there IS a coverup going on.
  • Not a Game: Janet says this when she reveals to Sam that Brenda Jaxa was killed for talking.
  • Odd Couple: Who ever thought Chris and Wendy would be become a thing?
  • Parental Favoritism: The series opens on the Khumalos' annual honorary birthday party for Phume, which contributes to Puleng and Siya's feelings of inferiority to their sister despite having never known her.
  • Privilege Makes You Evil: This appears to be the conclusion Puleng is coming to as she realizes most of the wealthy are in on Phume's kidnapping.
  • Scenery Porn: The show makes no waste of the gorgeous Cape Town as its backdrop.
  • Scholarship Student: Puleng's middle class background and relatively normal school are no match for the wealth and elitism she finds at Parkhurst.
  • Secret Diary: Puleng keeps her investigative notes in a diary under her bed. Thandeka almost snoops but Siya and Julius dissuade her.
  • Sorry to Interrupt: Puleng's "ew" and immediate turn around upon walking in on Chris and Zama.
  • Stealing from the Till: Mr Ferreira promises not to tell on Reece if he gets a cut of her money. He then convinces her to launder the money... only to take it and run.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: A rather serious variation. Philippa has severe mental health issues that worsen as Reece notices she has not been taking her medication. Reece ends up checking her mother into a facility.
  • Wild Teen Party: Zama convinces Puleng to go to Chris Ackerman's house party in the first episode.
  • Woman Scorned: Riley takes her husband being unfaithful out on Fikile.
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