Crime thriller ‘Fool Me Once’ kicks 2024 off with a bang

“Fool Me Once” is Netflix’s latest crime thriller. Picture: Instagram

“Fool Me Once” is Netflix’s latest crime thriller. Picture: Instagram

Published Jan 5, 2024


The year is just about a week old and there is already a show that is dominating headlines, conversations and viewers’ leisure time.

“Fool Me Once”, a crime thriller which was released on Netflix on New Year’s Day, has viewers on the edge of their seat as the riveting series continues to capture the attention of people from across the globe.

In fact, the eight-part offering from the renowned American writer Harlan Coben is trending among the most viewed shows in most parts of the world.

This includes in the US, UK and in South Africa, where it secured the top spot for the number one most watched television programme on the streaming platform, for most of last week.

“Fool Me Once” centres around the Stern family, whose world is rocked when their patriarch Joe – played by Richard Armitage – is brutally murdered.

His widow Maya, who also happens to be an ex-military officer, is grieving the loss of her beloved husband. She is deeply traumatised but trying to keep it together for the couple’s daughter as she also tries to continue with her family and work life.

But after Maya installs a “nanny cam” in her home to keep an eye on her daughter, she gets the shock of her life when she sees her dead husband visiting their child.

The series’s narrative then dramatically continues to unfold from there and throughout the shocking thriller, viewers are taken on a roller-coaster ride of emotions as they witness her seeking to uncover just what is going on.

In the series, viewers also witness Maya juggling sole custody of her daughter, while attempting to focus on her job training helicopter pilots, all while dealing with Joe’s prickly and moneyed family.

For those who have not yet had a chance to watch “Fool Me Once”, this is not the show to “background binge”. This phenomenon is when people turn on the TV, find a show to watch, put it on, and then proceed to do a variety of household tasks while barely watching the programme.

If you choose to do so, you will not fully benefit from its twists, turns and intricacies that are sure to have you hooked to your television screen.

And while Maya, played by Michelle Keegan, is no stranger to television screens, “Fool Me Once” is one of her biggest roles to date.

She rose to TV fame in “Coronation Street” and went on to have starring roles in “Our Girl”, “Brassic” and more recently, “Ten Pound Poms”.

Meanwhile, Armitage, who plays Keegan’s husband, is no stranger to Coben thriller fans.

He previously starred in two of the renowned writer’s previous shows, “Safe” and “The Stranger”. He is also known for his roles in “The Hobbit”, and more recently, “Obsession.”

But Joanna Lumley, who plays Judith Burkett, Joe’s mother – who in the series portrays a very wealthy woman from a privileged upbringing and is often at odds with his wife, Maya – is possibly the most well known to viewers.

Lumley is acclaimed for her role as Patsy Stone in “Absolutely Fabulous” and has starred in numerous shows and films over the years. More recently, this includes “Finding Alice”, “Paddington 2” and “Motherland”.

“Fool Me Once” also also stars Adeel Akhtar who plays Detective Sergeant Sami Kierce, who is in charge of investigating Joe’s murder.

Meanwhile, Coben has also emerged as a fan favourite for regular Netflix viewers. The prominent writer struck an unprecedented deal with Netflix back in 2018 to adapt 14 of his novels for the streaming service.

The first of which, “The Stranger”, which as previously mentioned, also starred Armitage and was adapted by “Brassic” creator Danny Brocklehurst, who also happens to be responsible for “Fool Me Once”.

Another interesting fact about the show is that one of its key locations has an explosive history of its own in another popular drama.

It turns out that the Burkett family home is the real-life location of Arley Hall in Cheshire, England. It’s pulled double duty elsewhere – as Tommy Shelby’s stately manor in “Peaky Blinders”.

“They really thought they could fool us with Tommy Shelby's house,” the Netflix UK account wrote on Instagram, accompanied by a side-by-side look at the two establishing shots of Arley Hall from each series.

“Fool Me Once” is currently streaming on Netflix.