Fool Me Once review: another Harlan Coben mystery series

Michelle Keegan in Fool Me Once

Fool Me Once stars Michelle Keegan as a former army officer who is a suspect in several murders. It’s typical Harlan Coben in that there are many plot twists and surprises, some red herrings, and an unexpected ending. It’s set in the UK in the posh homes and schools of the wealthy.

Fool Me Once stars Michelle Keegan as Maya, as I mentioned, but the true outstanding performance in the series is from Adeel Akhtar playing the detective Sami Kierce. Aktar is phenomenal as the troubled cop with health issues, a wedding to plan, and a baby on the way.

Maya’s sister Claire (Natalie Anderson) is murdered in her own home. Shot once in the head in what the police decide is a robbery attempt.

Later Maya’s husband, Joe Burkett (Richard Armitage), is murdered in a dark park at night. Maya is with him and reports that two young men on motorbikes attacked them and shot him. She holds him in her arms as he dies.

Det. Kierce and his partner, Marty (Dino Fetscher), don’t quite buy this story and question Maya numerous times.

Joanna Lumley in Fool Me Once
Don’t mess around with Judith.

Maya’s husband was a member of the wealthy Burkett family who had many business interests, including pharmaceuticals. The family matriarch, Judith (Joanna Lumley), looked at Maya with suspicion like the police did. She was interested in spending time with Maya’s young daughter.

Before losing their son Joe, this family lost another son about 20 years ago. He was lost at sea during a drunken party on the family yacht. The police ruled it an accident. Joe told Maya it was suicide. Neither of those were the truth.

Claire’s husband and kids were close to Maya. Eddie (Marcus Garvey), the husband, was often willing to help Maya with her daughter. She needed help because she took off like a one woman detective agency to learn what exactly had happened to her sister, her husband, and some other characters who may have been murdered. In eight episodes, there is time for many plots and subplots. Maya’s investigations uncovered them all. This gave many opportunities for plot twists and surprises as the story wore on.

One of the more interesting subplots involved a whistleblower, Corey the Whistle (Laurie Kynaston). He was looking for evidence to bring down the entire Burkett empire by exposing their corruption. At first, Maya though of him as an enemy. He turned out to be something else.

The fool me once poster features Adeel Akhtar, Michelle Keegan, Joanna Lumley, and Richard Armitage head shots above an imposing building. At the bottom is a woman kneeling over a wounded man.

Sometimes Harlan Coben mysteries are perfection, and sometimes they are annoying. This is one of the better ones. The plot and subplots hang together well. The surprises are always a logical and welcome twist in the proceedings. The performances are very good with Adeel Akhtar turning in stunning work. I think mystery buffs will enjoy it.

Fool Me Once is streaming on Netflix.

4 thoughts on “Fool Me Once review: another Harlan Coben mystery series”

  1. Good twists and turns … great thrill ride ! Also fun to see Jessica Taylor as a producer ( Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax) and shot in the north of England so several familiar faces and locations. Check out the posh school…

  2. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone involved in the production of Fool Me Once for the enormous contribution you’ve made in helping me do what I have contemplated doing for months — cancel my Netflix subscription!

    I suppose there’s more that I should (and could) say about this series, but as I consider the time and energy — not to mention the word count — it would take to say it, I am filled with a sense of overwhelm. I’ll simply sum up my seven and a half hour experience of Fool Me Once this way: completely uncompelling and utterly unentertaining.

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