Fool Me Once Creator Confirms Why the Show Abandons the Book's New Jersey Setting

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Fool Me Once

The author and creator of Fool Me Once addressed one of the biggest changes between the book and the trending Netflix series. 

Based on author Harlen Coben's 2016 book, the streaming giant's British thriller stars Michelle Keegan as Maya Stern, a widow who spots her supposedly dead husband on a nanny cam inside her home. 

But despite Coben's involvement with the Fool Me Once series, the show is set in the United Kingdom while the author's book takes place in his home state of New Jersey. 

Why Netflix's Fool Me Once Isn't Set in New Jersey

When asked by CBS Mornings why Netflix's Fool Me Once is set in the UK and not the Garden State, Harlen Coben explained he already has an established team across the pond, and so "we just take the story" and "we move it over:"

“I have this great team over there. This is the fourth show we’ve done. Some of you maybe saw 'The Stranger' on Netflix or 'Stay Close.' And so, working with this team is just a lot of fun and so we just take the story, we move it over, and I think that hybrid makes it richer, you know? You see this cool house in sort of a little 'Downton Abbey'-ish. And so a combination of the American story with the hybrid of the British sensibilities, I think it makes the series a little bit better.”

As for the described "cool house" and the Downton Abbey aesthetic, Fool Me Once's production relied on locations in Manchester, Salford, Oldham, and Cheshire, England. 

Netflix's Fool Me Once

As to whether a TV adaptation allows the show creator more creative freedom, the author confirmed as much but also credited the change in setting, saying, "Yeah, you do, I think. Overseas, you can hide a little bit more there.”

Why Fool Me Once's Changes Works

Harlen Coben's decision to stick with his UK team and change settings may not have been creatively motivated. However, it sounds like the location swap allowed for further creativity and, according to him, actually "makes it richer" and "the series a little bit better."

While audiences discovering Coben's book are sure to be surprised by its New Jersey narrative, the change could help the author's book sales, especially if Fool Me Once fans are curious about additional changes and how it reads as an American story.

All eight episodes of Fool Me Once are streaming now on Netflix. 

- In This Article: Fool Me Once
Release Date
January 01, 2024
Adeel Akhtar
Michelle Keegan
Richard Armitage
- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.