Fool Me Once ending explained: Who killed Joe in the Netflix show?

5 January 2024, 15:48 | Updated: 5 January 2024, 15:57

Fool Me Once is available on Netflix now
Fool Me Once is available on Netflix now. Picture: Netflix

By Jenny Mensah

Harlan Coben's latest thriller, has had the nation gripped, but what did we find out at the climax of the show and who killed who?

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Fool Me Once was only released on New Year's Day but the Netflix series has already been prompting plenty of conversation.

The latest thriller to come from the world of Harlan Coben, which stars Michelle Keegan as Myra Stern, sees her grapple with the murder of her husband Joe Burkett (played by Richard Armitage).

However, all is not as it seems and the show's various twist and turns keep audience guessing to the very end. There's lots of complicated interweaving plot lines, but what actually happens in Fool Me Once?

Get our rundown of the show's climax, including who killed Joe and why.


Watch the trailer for Fool Me Once

Is the husband still alive in Fool Me Once?

Fool Me Once begins with Joe's funeral, leading us to presume that Maya's husband is dead. However, by the end of the first episode, Maya's friend gifts her with a digital photoframe and nanny cam, where she sees her deceased husband visit her daughter Lily. This leads us to believe that Joe could still be alive, but it soon becomes clear that it was a deep fake orchestrated by Luka (Frederick Szkoda) and Izabelle (Natalia Kostrzewa), who were hired by Joe's mother, Judith Burkett (Joanna Lumley), who has suspicions over Maya's involvement in her son's murder. As the series develops, we realise that Joe is indeed dead and Maya knows it.

Who killed Joe in Fool Me Once?

The Netflix series begins on the premise that Maya and her husband Joe were attacked by robbers, who shot him before getting away. However, the crime was still unsolved with DS Sami Kierce (Adeel Akhtar) investigating the murder when we join them on episode one. As the show develops, it unravels that Maya in fact killed her husband Joe to avenge for the murder of her sister Claire, who Joe killed to protect his family's business and dodgy dealings.

The final episode sees Maya tell Shane ( Emmett J Scanlan) that she suspected Joe of killing her sister Claire. As it turns out, her sister had tracked down Corey the Whistle, who had footage of Maya disobeying orders and killing civilians in the army. To protect Maya, she agreed to help Corey investigate Joe's family the Burketts, who have engaged in some pretty horrendous deeds, including global corruption in the pharmaceutical industry. Joe kills Claire when he finds out she has information which could bury his powerful family and he stages her death as a robbery gone wrong. He assumes that he's gotten away with it, but Maya suspects Joe of being responsible for Claire's death, due to a bullet which was used from a gun which only she and Joe had access to.

When she confronts Joe about her sister's untimely death, she becomes his next target and risks being killed herself. However, being one step ahead of him, Maya switches the weapons to ensure that she's the one holding the only functioning firearm.

How does Fool Me Once end or climax?

The climatic point of the series includes a big showdown in which after revealing all to her friend and confidante Shane, Maya heads to the Burketts' estate to confront Judith and her late husbands' siblings Neil (James Northcote) and Caroline (Hattie Morahan).

A heated head-to-head sees both Maya and Joe's family admit to all their wrongdoings and Judith suggests making a deal, which would see them bury everything and blame her dead son for everything that has been leaked so far. Before Maya can consider the offer, she's shot repeatedly by Joe's brother Neil as Judith and Caroline look on in horror.

Maya lays on the floor dying, but gestures to the same digital photo frame in which her nanny cam was disguised, suggesting she'd caught all the family's illegal activities and admissions from their own mouths and - with the help of Kierce and Corey - had livestreamed it to the rest of the world.

How does Fool Me Once end?

The epilogue of the series flashes forward by 18 years where were learn that the Burketts have been imprisoned for their crimes. Kierce is now back to full health after realising that the Burketts' medication was responsible for his near-fatal deterioration and his hallucinations of is murdered wife. He now has an adult son.

We learn that Maya requested her daughter Lily would be looked after by Claire's husband Marcus (Eddie Garvey). They are at the hospital where a grown up Lily has just had a baby herself. Perhaps in the least shocking part of the series, Lily has a little girl, who she chooses to name Maya after her late mother.

Michelle Keegan talks about new thriller Fool Me Once

All eight episodes of Fool Me Once are now available to stream on Netflix


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