Fool Me Once star Dino Fetscher has opened up about the reason his character in the gripping Netflix thriller was so “important” for gay representation.
The eight-part Netflix adaptation of Harlan Coben’s best-selling book follows ex-soldier Maya Stern (Michelle Keegan) who, after witnessing the murder of her husband Joe (Richard Armitage), embarks on a mission to see his case solved.
Though Maya takes matters into her own hands by investigating the mystery herself, the official police probe is led by DS Sami Kierce (Adeel Akhtar) and his junior, Marty McGreggor (Dino Fetscher).
Marty comes out as gay very subtly when, discussing a date he went on, he reveals it was with a man. By way of response, his co-worker pokes fun at his obsession with health and fitness, joking that he hopes the lucky guy “likes protein shakes.”
“Working with someone as well established as [DS Sami] Kierce and the reveal of me coming out to him really moves our story forward and bonds us and builds that trust,” Fetscher reflected on his character’s journey in an interview with BBC News.
The way this scene unfolded was “important” to him in constructing positive LGBTQ+ representation, helping to move the needle forward in depicting gay characters onscreen.
“I think it’s important as well to explore the issues around being gay/queer. That’s something that’s done a lot in drama, but I think it’s also really important for it just to be something that this person is, and it’s not the focus,” he reflected.
“I think there’s been so much in the past, so much of the focus has been on things like coming out, all those kind of struggles which are important, but it’s nice to see someone happy, a beautiful soul, good at their job, a really great person who just happens to be a gay person or queer person.”
Naturally, Fetscher, who has previously appeared in Russel T Davies shows Cucumber and Years and Years, undertook a lot of research about what it means to “be queer in the police” to prepare for his role.
“It’s so much better now, but it would be, I think, untruthful to say it doesn’t have its challenges, especially for men,” he reflected.
But it wasn’t all research that prepared him to take on Marty’s character: Fetscher himself is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and was crowned Mr Gay UK, an annual beauty contest for gay men, in 2008. He later moved into acting, and was nominated for Celebrity Rising Star at the British LGBT Awards in 2017.
In an interview with Attitude Magazine in 2015, he revealed that, when he came out to his family as a teenager, he was “really lucky” as they “were all totally fine.”
Fool Me Once is available to stream on Netflix now.