Fool Me Once tries too hard to be suspenseful and sexy . The effort shows. The narration strains at the seams to get our attention.

Fool Me Once Review: And There Lies The Truth

Fool Me Once(Netflix, 8 Episodes)

Starring Michelle Keegan, Dino Fetscher, Richard Armitage, Joanna Lumley

Directed by David Moore, Nimer Rashid

Rating: ** ½

Fool Me Once tries too hard to be suspenseful and sexy. The effort shows. The narration strains at the seams to get our attention. The plot is an intriguing one-liner: a woman’s husband is killed, but she sees him alive on her nannycam with their little daughter.

That’s it! This plotline must have been shared among all the shareholders, lengthening a short film of twenty minutes to an excruciating eight episodes of agonizing twists and turns which will make no sense even to those viewers who keep rewinding to find out if they missed something.

There is plenty that is wrong in Fool Me Once(quite a selfdeprecatory title,that!). For one, it is overleaden with plotting devices. Clearly, the writers didn’t have enough confidence in their basic idea, or they knew it couldn’t be stretched to eight episodes. Hence while Maya Stern(Michelle Keegen, pretty but not quite the actor to shoulder a whole series) is looking for clues for her “dead” husband’s whereabouts, locking horns with her mother-in-law(Joanna Lumley) who insists she has buried her son with her own hands, the truth lies writhing on the floor.

This absurd series goes from illogical to downright preposterous and then some silly too.

The levels of subterfuge that the plot lays out for Maya don’t match up with the plotting mechanism which develops major snags long before the journey is over. For one, too many coincidences are used to join the dots. Characters pop up without rhyme or reason with a what-are-you-doing-here kind of response from others that matches up exactly with what we feel, but doesn’t justify the sheer absurdity of the co-incidences.

Sami Kierce (Adeel Akhtar) plays the detective who goes around looking so pained and bewildered he could be a refugee from Afghanistan seeking asylum in a series where the pain is not only manageable bur ludicrously uncorroborated. I like Sami’s partner Marty McGregor (Dino Fetscher). He plays the young upstart trying to impress his veteran partner with punchlines to jokes that were never funny in the first place.

The series suffers from a similar sort of self-delusion. It believes in its own coiling-uncoiling narrative. But cannot convince us that any of this could happen. We never get to like let alone empathize with any of the characters. The heroine Maya is so obstinate she reminds us of a child who orders everything she likes on the menu and then cannot even digest a portion of the food.

Likewise the series. It looks leaden with potentially interesting twists and turns but cannot pull of that whammy it had planned.