Is Joe Dead in Fool Me Once?
This article contains spoilers for Fool Me Once's season finale.
At the beginning of the series, audiences first meet Michelle Keegan's Maya Stern while she is at the funeral of her late husband, Joe Burkett. The rest of the show frames the plot as a murder mystery, with Maya seemingly having no idea who killed her husband.
But, in that same debut episode, the supposedly dead Joe Burkett is seen on nanny cam footage playing with Maya's daughter, Lily.
It turns out that while the whole situation seemed impossible, there was a logical answer.
Toward the end of episode 7, Maya confronts both Luka and Izabelle, where she learns the two of them manipulated the image so that Joe would show up.
The whole trick was achieved thanks to some good old-fashioned deepfake technology tacked onto Luka's face, who was the man actually there in the video. Joe remains very much dead and is not miraculously alive.
As for why they did it in the first place, the duo was hired by Joe's mother, Judith, due to her suspicions of Maya being the one to kill her husband. Turns out, she was onto something.
Joe Burkett's Death Explained
While Fool Me Once framed the entire narrative to make it seem to audiences that Maya had no idea who killed her husband, Joe, in reality, she was the one who pulled the trigger.
The reasoning for this shocking betrayal is in response to a twisted move on Joe's part—he's the one that killed Maya's sister, Claire, who was close to bringing down the entire Burkett company (aka Joe's family).
After some investigating, Maya discovered the bullet that ended her sister's life was fired from a gun only Maya and Joe had access to.
After confronting Joe about her sister's death, he attempts to kill her with the very same gun. Little did he know, she switched the weapons ahead of time, leaving Maya with the only one with a working weapon.
While she successfully guns down the man who killed her sister, there are witnesses to her crime.
However, Maya does not get the chance to be caught.
Instead, her confrontation with the Burkett family turns into a suicide mission. Maya tricks Caroline, Neil, and Judith into admitting all their wrongdoings, including their global corruption in the pharmaceutical industry.
Neil goes on to repeatedly shoot Maya, ending her life. Before she bites the dust, though, she is able to point to a familiar digital photo—one which, thanks to a hidden camera, was livestreaming the entire confrontation, exposing the Burketts once and for all.
Fool Me Once is now streaming on Netflix.