Sami Kierce In ‘Fool Me Once,’ Explained: Was Nicole Real? How Did Kierce Survive?


Netflix’s series, Fool Me Once, portrayed DS Sami Kierce as an old-school righteous cop who was willing to go the extra mile to find out the truth about Joe Burkett. And while the murder itself was kind of twisted, it was Kierce’s tragic past and troubled mind that intrigued us more. Long before the events of the series, Kierce had a lover (spoiler alert) who was none other than his partner in the police force, Nicole. Yes, she was the same woman whom Kierce constantly saw in his hallucinations. But what eventually happened to Nicole, and why did Kierce start imagining her? Well, let’s dig into the layers of the character to find the answers that haunted Kierce throughout the Fool Me Once series.

Spoiler Alert

What had happened to Nicole?

Kierce, Nicole, and Pam (Kierce’s senior) had known each other since the academy. After getting their police badges, Kierce partnered up with Nicole to solve crimes on the streets of Winherst and eventually fell in love with the woman. The two even got engaged and were planning to marry soon before a tragedy struck. Nicole was killed in the line of duty, and her death pushed Kierce off the grid. The man lost his peace and turned his world upside down to put Nicole’s killer behind bars. However, even though he caught the perpetrator, Kierce never got his sanity back. He eventually became an alcoholic to overcome his grief. 

As we met Kierce at the beginning of the series, he had been sober for more than three years but had been taking some Lambur Pharma medications, probably to keep his addictions away. Now we don’t know who prescribed him these medications or when he started taking them, but it was these drugs that caused permanent damage to his brain. Due to the side effects of these medications, Kierce started hallucinating about his dead fiancé Nicole, which implied that the man still clung to his tragic past and hadn’t moved on. Kierce’s troubled mind was playing tricks on him, and in order to blur the line between reality and fiction even further, the police officer made himself believe that the present version of Nicole was not his dead fiancé but a close friend. As mentioned earlier, Kierce was an old-school righteous man who was extremely loyal to his current fiancé, Molly. And perhaps it was the reason why he considered his dead fiancé as a good friend instead of a lover. 

Kierce was slowly losing his grip on reality, but he didn’t know the cause of it. Above all, he had been in denial of his illness and was constantly postponing his medical checkup so that he wouldn’t lose his job. Kierce was aware of the fact that if Pam or any other officer found out about his mental illness, then he would have to return his badge. In such a scenario, he wouldn’t be able to investigate Joe Burkett’s murder and solve the case that he had become obsessed with. It wouldn’t be wrong to speculate that he only told Nicole about his blood tests because, somewhere at the back of his head, he always knew that she wasn’t real.

Amidst such delusions, Kierce, being a rational man, always knew that whatever he was doing was wrong. It was perhaps the reason why he created Nicole—so that the woman would help him differentiate between right and wrong. Nicole not only stopped him from killing himself but also persuaded him to come clean with Molly, who, being his future partner, had the right to know the truth about his illness. Furthermore, it won’t be wrong to say that Nicole acted as Kierce’s alter ego, who had been protecting him from time to time. The inspector was evidently lonely, and that could be the reason why he revived his dead fiancé.

How Did Kierce Find the Truth About His Condition?

The revelation struck Kierce when Corey told the officer about the side effects of Lambur Pharma drugs that he had been consuming for a long time. It was at this moment that Kierce realized the root cause of his brain damage and the reason for his frequent blackouts. As Kierce pondered further, he came to the realization that the version of Nicole with whom he had been interacting for the past few days wasn’t real. She was a figment of his imagination caused by his brain damage, and he needed to stop taking those medications if he wanted to stay alive for Molly. In simple words, Kierce had to leave behind his addiction and his tragic past if he wanted to secure a future with Molly.

Why did Kierce let Maya go?

Kierce might deny the fact, but he was obsessed with his job. After Nicole’s death, the man spent the rest of his days catching criminals, and it was because of his years of experience that he knew from the very beginning that Maya Stern was lying to him. He knew that Margaret Corner, where Joe was murdered, was the perfect spot to commit the crime as the area had no CCTV camera in the vicinity. And only someone as smart and skilled as Maya Stern could have planned such an execution. But even though Kierce suspected Maya, he was extremely lenient towards her because he knew the Burketts well. Kierce wasn’t interested in catching the killer as much as he wanted to find the motive behind it, and in the end, it all fit well. The Burketts were indeed the root of all evil; they had not only been exploiting their power to evade punishment but also slowly killing people all around the world just to feed their greed. Judith, the leader of the pack, had also tried to turn Maya against the righteous cop but Kierce ultimately proved his innocence telling Maya that he never took a single bribe from anyone. 

In the end, it was Corey, the whistleblower, who revealed to Kierce about the Burketts’ Pharma scam. And the police officer couldn’t ignore those facts as he was one of the victims of such a scam. Initially, Kierce blamed his addiction for damaging his brain, but it turned out that it was these drugs that made him sick. It was at this moment that Kierce found out the real murderer in Joe’s case, who was none other than his wife, Maya. But Kierce was suspended from duty because of his negligence, and therefore he wasn’t legally authorized to arrest anyone. When Kierce arrived at Maya’s house, he made an unlikely decision to let Maya go because Kierce knew that there was no one else who could stop the Burketts except for Maya Stern. The police broke the law for the very first time, not because he didn’t believe in it. He broke the law because he knew that it was the only way to bring down the Goliath. However, Kierce wasn’t aware of the fact that Maya was going to sacrifice her own life to bring the family’s dark secrets to light. If he had known that such a tragedy would befall her, Kierce might not have let Maya leave without him.

How Did Kierce Survive in the End?

When Kierce visited the hospital, the doctors told him that he had developed severe brain damage, but they didn’t know the real cause of it. However, it was through Corey Rudzinski that Kierce found out that Lambur Pharma’s pills were the real reason behind his hallucinations and frequent blackouts. Kierce stopped taking those medications as soon as the revelations hit. Now, the ending of Fool Me Once took us 18 years into the future, where we saw that Kierce was still alive, and his wife Molly had given birth to a healthy boy who has become a grown man now. Apparently, Kierce survived because he stopped taking the medications, as a result of which his brain healed over time, letting him live a natural life. He was finally able to marry Molly and start a family with her, something he always wanted to do. But he probably didn’t return to the police department, as the man knew he was unfit for the job. Perhaps he took an early retirement to spend the rest of his days with Molly. As for Nicole, I don’t think she ever visited Kierce again.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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