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‘Fool Me Once’ Review: What Makes Harlan Coben’s Series So Successful?

The New Harlan Coben Series taking Netflix Audiences by Storm.

Michelle Keegan as Maya Stern in 'Fool Me Once'. (Credit: Netflix)

‘Fool Me Once’ has captivated Netflix audiences since its release on the first of January. Now reaching Netlifx’s most-watched list, ‘Fool Me Once’ isn’t the first Harlan Coben series to draw attention.

What is ‘Fool Me Once’?

Fool Me Once is a Harlan Coben drama series based on the 2016 novel. The short series follows Maya Stern, an ex-army recruit dealing with the murder of her husband and Father to her daughter, Lily. When she gets gifted a nanny cam to watch over her daughter, she discovers Joe alive and looking after Lily. Maya’s quest for answers sends her on a dangerous path as she uncovers a web of secrets related to her husband’s family, and she begins to question everybody she once trusted.

Who stars in Fool Me Once?

‘Fool Me Once’ cast. Credit: Netflix

British soap star and ‘Our Girl’ actress Michelle Keegan stars as Maya Stern, alongside Richard Armitage who starred in ‘The Hobbit and ‘Obsession’. Joanne Lumley steals the show as the matriarch of the Burkett Family, Lumley is best known for her role in the long-running series ‘Absolutely Famous’. Supporting actors include Adeel Akhtar as the lead investigator Sami Kierce alongside Marty McGregor as a supporting investigator.

Fan reactions to Fool Me Once

Since its release, ‘Fool Me Once’ has received widespread attention and praise across social media. The series had one of the largest debuts on Netflix, with 37.1 million accounts tuning in. Fans of the show have turned to social media platforms to discuss the plot twists, characters, and dramatic narrative that kept them engaged.


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♬ Mysterious – Andreas Scherren

Harlan Coben’s masterstroke

To the surprise of several Fool Me Once fans, Harlan Coben has many Netflix series that have garnered success. All based on pre-existing novels, ‘Safe’, ‘Stay Close’ and ‘The Stranger,’ follows a similar formula and share the Coben-style suspense of ‘Fool Me Once.’

Despite the majority of Coben’s series being filmed in the UK, Coben and his stories are originally set in the USA. An interview with Harlan Coben revealed that he believes ‘Fool Me Once’ works better as a British adaptation, specifically noting the class distinctions between Maya Stern (Michelle Keegan) and Judith Burkett (Joanna Lumley)

“In the American version, yes Maya came from a different background than Joe, but in the UK you have that class thing that we don’t have as much in America. It made for some really cool scenes. I also think there’s something that really seems to work in the hybrid of the American and the British that we put together [in the shows],” he says. “If you don’t hear the accents, some might say this is a British show and some might say it’s American.

Nadia Khomami

Why are Harlan Coben series’ so successful?

Coben himself admitted his series work well for Television, predominantly due to their captivating plots, the early twists, and the compelling emotion reflected in each of his shows.

Despite the show having several twists and turns throughout the episodes, the final reveal in the last episode was a turning point for audiences.

With all of the Cobens series having impressive Netflix performance, the success must be rooted in the Coben formula that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats and returning for more upon the release of each series.

What’s next for Harlan Coben?

Netflix has made a deal with Coben to adapt 14 of his books. With seven already completed, Coben has hinted at his next series ‘Just One Look’ starting production with Netflix Poland.

Fans can be sure to expect quite a few more series returning to their Netflix screens with the shocking plot twists they know and love.

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Hello! My name is Rachel, I'm from Manchester and I'm a Journalism student at Cardiff University! I love writing anything related to popular culture and entertainment.

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