John Sibi-Okumu, has made an acting comeback, in a stellar performance as Barasa in Crime and Justice, Kenya’s first Showmax Original. The show is currently available for streaming on Showmax.
Sometimes known as JSO, Sibi-Okumu has made an acting comeback after an 8-year hiatus. He is an artist, revered for his craft and for his achievements both on stage and on screen.
JSO has over 50 years’ experience in the theatre and film industry in Kenya. Earlier on in his career, he landed his first major role in the Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Born Free. Later, he would rub shoulders with Academy winner Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) and Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List) in the critically-acclaimed drama, The Constant Gardener, where he played a corrupt minister.
In 2007, he played UN special envoy Booh-Booh in the war drama Shake Hands with the Devil about the events leading to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. And in 2010, he appeared in The First Grader, the biographical film about Kenya’s Kimani Maruge, the world’s oldest pupil, alongside Oscar nominee Naomi Harris (Moonlight).
Crime and Justice follows detectives Makena (Sarah Hassan, Plan B) and Silas (Alfred Munyua, Poacher) as they investigate crimes around Nairobi.
In the premiere episode, a pregnant mistress has been murdered and her body dumped in a forest. The main suspect is Barasa, a high-profile lawyer on a campaign trail to become a member of parliament.
Sibi-Okumu completely embodies his this role; cold, remorseful, calm, and with equal parts of arrogance and confidence. He carries it all with such control, even charisma, that can only be wielded by a man who is powerful enough to get away with anything, even murder.
It is a masterclass performance that has enjoyed positive reactions on social media, with fellow actors are taking note.
His Crime and Justice co-star Sarah Hassan (who plays Detective Makena) described him as absolutely amazing. Muhugu Theuri who plays Abuya, the victim in episode 1, said, “He’s such a force to reckon with.” Singer and actress Patricia Kihoro (Disconnect, Rafiki) has described his performance as mindblowing even though she admits she hates the character he plays. More praise has come from Nick Ndeda (18 Hours, Shuga), Auudi Rowa (This Is Life), Mwajuma Belle (Poacher) and several fans who can’t get enough of his performance.
Viewers can catch new episodes of Crime and Justice every Monday on Showmax.