Joe Burkett In ‘Fool Me Once’: Did Joe Kill Tommy Dark And Claire?

Adapted from Harlan Coben’s best-selling novel, Fool Me Once is a Netflix limited series following Maya Stern, who was married to a psychopathic killer, Joe Burkett. Although Joe Burkett remained physically absent in the series, he became the most important character and a major antagonist of the show. Joe Burkett, the eldest son of the Burkett family, thought, being a rich and powerful man, he could do anything he wanted and get away with it, but eventually, Maya put an end to his evil existence once and for all. Let’s discuss Joe Burkett’s character in detail to know more about him.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Did Joe Kill Theo Mora And Andrew Burkett?

Born into the rich household of the Burketts, Joe Burkett grew up to become greedy, selfish, and inhuman, just like his mother. Since childhood, Joe had a competitive personality, owing to which he didn’t even prioritize friendship or any meaningful relationship in his life. Even though he fell in love with Maya and married her, their romance was gone, and it turned into a toxic relationship. A narcissistic and toxic person, Joe Burkett probably never experienced true love and care, not even from his family, which made him a self-centered individual with a lot of insecurities. Being the eldest son, he became the right hand of his mother, Judith, the owner of Burkett Enterprises. The family owned a pharmaceutical company, Lambur Pharma, which was not only manufacturing highly addictive medication but also falsifying the reports of the side effects. Their medicines were killing people all over the world, especially children, but whoever had tried to look into it and expose the pharmaceutical company’s wrongdoings, the Burketts had silenced them. Joe was the one who handled the silencing with efficiency because he had had experience murdering people since his childhood.


In his teenage years, when Joe Burkett used to play football with his brother, Andrew, on the same team, he always wanted to be recognized as the best player on their team. If, by any chance, anyone was slightly better than him, it angered Joe. Enraged and fueled by envy, Joe could do anything to permanently remove that competition from his life, just like he got rid of a promising football player, Theo Mora. Theo Mora suddenly became famous on the football team due to being an excellent player, which was something Joe couldn’t tolerate at all. So, one night, at the success party of their team, Joe played a prank on Theo by tying him up to a chair and using a funnel to pour liquor into his throat. Joe, being an utterly maniac and evil being, forced his other friends to continue pouring alcohol into Theo’s mouth, which eventually killed the lad. Theo, who had never touched alcohol in his whole life, was found dead the next morning. His autopsy reports revealed that he had died of alcohol poisoning.

Why Did Joe Kill Tommy Dark?

Tommy Dark was one of the casualties who had been silenced by Joe Burkett. After killing Theo Mora, Joe’s brother, Andrew, who used to be Theo’s best friend, suffered from immense guilt that robbed him of his mental peace. Andrew began to think of himself as responsible for Theo’s death, so to overcome his guilt, he chose to reveal the truth to the authorities. One day, while on a yacht, Joe and his friend Christopher were enjoying their trip. Andrew was sad and devastated, talking about telling the truth to the police. Joe couldn’t risk his own career because his brother was trying to redeem himself, so he stepped in to commit an unimaginable crime. He pushed his brother Andrew off the yacht, having no remorse for his action. However, Tommy Dark, the pilot of the yacht, witnessed Joe committing the murder, so presumably, he started blackmailing the Burketts, which worried Judith, Joe’s mother. Judith, who had only cared about her family’s reputation, began to pay bribes to Mr. Dark, but Joe eventually made sure that the Burketts would no longer have to pay Tommy Dark. Joe killed Tommy Dark in cold blood and stored him inside a freezer in Tommy’s own rental unit.


Who Killed Joe Burkett, And Why?

Joe was so inhuman and unempathetic that he even went so far as to kill Claire, his wife Maya’s sister, after she learned about the Burketts killing people with their harmful medicines. After putting an end to Claire, Joe made the crime scene look like a robbery that had taken Claire’s life. However, Maya had her suspicions about Joe when she found him emotionlessly handling Claire’s death. As Maya was abroad, Claire began to work for Joe, and thus Maya believed her sister and husband should have been close friends; therefore, seeing Joe not grieving much, Maya began to get skeptical. Joe might have been a cunning serial killer, but he made one mistake, which was not understanding the fact that his wife was way more intelligent than him. Maya found solid proof against her husband after the bullet inside Claire’s body matched the gun in Joe’s possession. As Maya one day called Joe, revealing that she knew what he did to Claire and asking him to meet her in the local park at night, Joe was already prepared with his gun, but little did he know that Maya had already swapped their guns. Joe was a heartless person, so to save his neck, he wouldn’t even hesitate to kill the mother of his child, so Maya came with protection. Probably, Maya would have hesitated before shooting her husband to death, but when Joe pointed his gun at her, revealing his evil face, Maya shot him to death.

What Was Joe’s Plan With Maya?

When Joe killed Tommy Dark, he was still with Maya, who had come back from abroad. To save his own neck and to frame Maya later for the murder of Tommy Dark, Joe took Maya’s car and used her gun to shoot Tommy. Joe put Tommy’s corpse inside Maya’s car’s trunk so that police could later find the blood in her car and accuse Maya of the murder of Dark. His actions proved that he had never known what love is or how it affects human beings. While Maya would do anything to avenge her sister’s death, Joe could only think about saving himself. Neither had Joe ever loved his wife nor had he loved his own family, as we saw him killing his own brother without hesitation. Joe’s character was nothing short of a psychopathic serial killer with a great lack of empathy. However, we cannot justify Maya’s decision to kill Joe instead of handing him over to the authorities, but it is true that people like Joe Burkett were irredeemable. Wealthy and powerful people like Joe Burkett can easily get away with anything and continue their crime, so Maya’s decision, although a hasty one, successfully puts an end to his nefarious actions.


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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