2023 was the year I finally let the thriller genre sink its teeth into me, A Murder at The End Of The World and Culprits were two excellent Disney+ series that weren't my usual kind of watch. Now I'm left with another obsession in a similar mould, and it's currently the most popular show on Netflix UK.
What's interesting about Fool Me Once is that initially, I was completely uninterested, the first ten minutes didn't really grab me, the direction was a bit flat and the characters seemed fairly generic. A quick check on Rotten Tomatoes revealed a poor 41% audience score and I was quite happy to move on. After a friend's recommendation, however, I gave the Michelle Keegan-led murder mystery another chance and was pleasantly surprised.
An adaption of the Harlan Coben novel of the same name, we follow Maya, an army veteran who is now unfortunately a widower with her husband Joe having been murdered. We start with his funeral. but when he turns up on the nanny cam, playing with their daughter, Maya understandably has questions.
Given her traumatic past, both the authorities and Maya's friends and family (including mother-in-law Joanna Lumley) don't exactly believe her, and there's a lot of gaslighting that it's just grief and trauma playing tricks on her. Women trying to get people to believe them is an interesting angle, and one that obviously has important parallels in real life. It's also fresh to see a woman portrayed as a real, flawed, human. Maya is far from a Mary Sue, she has serious anger issues and resorts to physical confrontation far too quickly.
I'm only a couple of episodes in but my breakout star of the show is definitely Adeel Akhtar's Detective Sami Kierce. Akhtar is someone I mostly know through comedy and he somehow manages to bring some levity to what is otherwise a pretty deadly serious show. His grumblings at the youth of his partner were particularly funny (he has his phone number saved as "the child").
Is Fool Me Once going to be the best show of 2024? Almost certainly not, but it is worth your time this January.