Fool Me Once: Is the Thriller Show Inspired by a True Story?

Image Credit: Vishal Sharma/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Fool Me Once’ is a British thriller series that follows a family that’s been hit by twin murders and the aftermath of trying to deal with it and all the tumbling secrets it brings forth. While Maya Stern is struggling to come to terms with the murder of her husband Joe, her niece and nephew Abby and Daniel are looking to uncover the truth behind their mother’s murder. One can’t help but question whether there’s a connection between the two deaths. However, when Maya decides to install a nanny cam in her infant daughter’s room, she finds an unexpected and shocking intruder at home: her husband, whom she thought was dead.

As Maya begins to dig deep into what is the truth and what isn’t, she ends up unearthing a deep-seated conspiracy that leaves audiences questioning the blurring line between deceit and reality. Created by Harlan Coben, the show is driven by a stellar cast comprising talented actors who bring the multi-layered characters to life through their electrifying performances and the gripping narrative that keeps one hooked right till the end. Thus, it is natural for many to wonder whether it is based on a true story or if it is a work of fiction.

Food Me Once Has Been Adapted From Harlan Cohen’s Book

‘Fool Me Once’ is not based on a true story. It is a television adaptation of celebrated author Harlan Coben’s 2016 novel of the same name. The script for Coben’s eighth collaboration with Netflix has been developed for the screen by the author himself, with Danny Brocklehurst serving as the head writer alongside a team of skilled writers comprising Charlotte Coben, Yemi Oyefuwa, Nina Metivier, and Tom Farrelly. While the mystery series isn’t a story that’s based on reality, its fictional but thoroughly engaging narrative and well-written characters elevate the pragmatic factor, naturally leaving the audience questions regarding its relation to reality.

Image Credit: Vishal Sharma/Netflix

‘Fool Me Once’ plays with the themes of mystery and thrill and leaves one intrigued as to what happens next. Since the show’s creator is also the author of the source material, the story is more or less similar to the book. However, in one significant disparity, the setting of the story has been moved from the US to the United Kingdom. In a statement, Harlen Coben reiterated, “Fool Me Once’ is a pulse-pounder — a shocking story of how secrets and deceit have the power to bring people together while simultaneously tearing them apart.”

The series, albeit fictional, deals with themes that are quite common and heard of. Several real-life instances, such as the case of a husband faking his death to get the police to catch the wife for trying to get the husband killed to ensure that she gets her divorce in a more permanent way or a man faking his death only to show up at his funeral so he can teach his family a life lesson are just a couple of instances that have occurred in reality and have a stark similarity to the plot of ‘Fool Me Once.’ There is also a story of a well-known romance writer who decided to spread the news of an apparent suicide caused by bullying, only to return two years after spreading the death hoax! As unbelievable as it sounds, these have happened in reality, which is why fans have been thrilled to see such a sensitive topic being dealt with so intricately.

Even though Maya Stern’s husband isn’t killed by her, he does fake his death and leaves Maya stunned to find him alive, making it obvious that whatever step was taken by Joe, Maya had absolutely no inkling of it. The character of Maya Stern, as the distraught wife with secrets of her own, looking for answers to the truth, does wonders in building the tension, while the portrayal of Judith Burkett, as a mother who seems to know much more than she is letting on, leaves you enchanted. With a master writer at play and a stellar cast bringing the project to life, the fictional story manages to captivate audiences, like all the previous collaborations between expert storyteller Harlen and Netflix.

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