As more and more streaming services invest in what has been termed a true crime documentary boom, investigative journalist John Allan-Namu has taken his own venture, The Last Door, to Africa’s biggest streaming service, Showmax.
Narrated by Namu himself, who also serves as the series’ creator and executive producer, The Last Door seeks to reveal hidden and unacknowledged truths about infamous crimes perpetrated in Kenya.
While some are more grim than others, each has an important story to tell.
“Every story in the series is important to me, because (I hope) it will get the audience asking questions about deaths that they have felt are/were unresolved, and give the public answers to the questions they have about the crimes that we feature,” Namu says.
At the heart of it all, Namu also hopes that ultimately, the series will give closure to those left behind or those affected by the deaths of the victims featured.
Namu sat with this idea for years before he decided to bring it to the screen as a true-crime series. The story, of course, is always in the research, especially in episodes that seeks answers about crimes that shocked the nation.
“The research really depends on the story we are following,” says Namu. “Some are more complex and require a few weeks of research, seeking permission to film and actually filming while others are more straightforward. There are some stories that were filmed in bits over time.”
The Last Door premieres with “The Death of an Heiress”, an episode that sees Namu travel to the coastal town of Lamu to meet Omar Lali, the man at the centre of the mysterious death of Keroche heiress Tecra Muigai. This episode also features emotional accounts from Tecra’s sister Anerlisa Muigai and her mother Tabitha Karanja, Nakuru Senator and CEO of Keroche Breweries.
Throughout the eight-part series, these moments with family members were the toughest for Namu to deal with in the course of filming.
“It is never easy watching people break down as they speak about their loved ones. That’s always hard,” he says.
From the River Yala murders to the death of the Kianjokoma brothers, every episode of The Last Door has a special place in Namu’s heart, but the story that he feels best represents victims is that of Naneu Muthoni’s murder, which occurred when they had kicked off production for the series.
“Naneu Muthoni was killed when we’d already begun filming the show, and before long we were filming her story with her family. Their openness in the wake of such tragedy was very humbling,” Namu says.
The Last Door isn’t his first foray into documentaries that explore human interest stories and expose the ills and failings of our society. In 2020, Namu and his team released the investigative documentary series Maisha Mkanda (also available on Showmax). Maisha Mkanda S1 won Best TV Documentary at Kalasha Awards 2020 for its episode “Road to Trauma”.
All eight episodes of the series are now streaming on Showmax.