Poker Face (TV series) - Wikipedia
|Created by||Rian Johnson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Running time||47–67 minutes|
|Picture format||4K UHD|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||January 26, 2023 –|
Poker Face is an American crime drama television series created by Rian Johnson for the streaming service Peacock. Stylized as a "case-of-the-week" murder mystery series, it stars Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale, a casino worker on the run who entangles herself into several mysterious deaths of strangers along the way.
Peacock announced the series in March 2021, with Lyonne attached and Johnson as director. Nora Zuckerman and Lilla Zuckerman were named as co-showrunners. Poker Face consists of 10 episodes and debuted on January 26, 2023. The series has received critical acclaim. In February 2023, the series was renewed for a second season.
Poker Face is a murder mystery series stylized as a character-driven, case-of-the-week mystery, with each episode adapting the inverted detective story format popularized by Columbo.
The series centers around Charlie Cale, a casino worker with an innate ability to detect lies, traveling across the United States on the run from a casino boss following a suspicious death. Along the way, she encounters colorful characters and solves homicides in a variety of settings.
Cast and characters
- Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale, a casino worker who goes on the run
- Benjamin Bratt as Cliff LeGrand, the casino head of security, who chases Charlie across the country
- Adrien Brody as Sterling Frost Jr.
- Dascha Polanco as Natalie
- Noah Segan as Sheriff Parker
- Ron Perlman as Sterling Frost Sr.
- Hong Chau as Marge
- Megan Suri as Sara
- Colton Ryan as Jed
- John Ratzenberger as Abe
- Brandon Micheal Hall as Damian
- Chelsea Frei as Dana
- Lil Rel Howery as Taffy Boyle
- Danielle Macdonald as Mandy Boyle
- Shane Paul McGhie as Austin / Hanky T. Pickins
- Larry Brown as George Boyle
- Chloë Sevigny as Ruby Ruin
- Nicholas Cirillo as Gavin
- Chuck Cooper as Deuteronomy
- John Darnielle as Al
- G.K. Umeh as Eskie
- John Hodgman as Dockers
- Judith Light as Irene
- S. Epatha Merkerson as Joyce
- K Callan as Betty
- Reed Birney as Ben / Gabriel
- Simon Helberg as Luca Clark
- Ellen Barkin as Kathleen Townsend
- Tim Meadows as Michael Graves
- Audrey Corsa as Rebecca
- Jameela Jamil as Ava
- Tim Blake Nelson as Kyle Owens
- Charles Melton as Davis McDowell
- Leslie Silva as Donna Owens
- Angel Desai as Jean McDowell
- Jasmine Aiyana Garvin as Katy Owens
- Jack Alcott as Randy
- Nick Nolte as Arthur
- Cherry Jones as Laura
- Luis Guzmán as Raoul
- Rowan Blanchard as Lily
- Tim Russ as Max
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Trey Nelson
- David Castañeda as Jimmy Silva
- Stephanie Hsu as "Mortimer Bernstein"
- Clea DuVall as Emily Cale
- Rhea Perlman as Beatrix Hasp
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Dead Man's Hand"||Rian Johnson||Rian Johnson||January 26, 2023|
Human lie detector Charlie Cale leads a dead-end existence as a chainsmoking, beer-swilling casino cocktail waitress after being blacklisted from poker tournaments by elusive casino tycoon and Nevada town namesake Sterling Frost Sr. She applies her unique gift to investigate the mysterious death of her close friend/co-worker and reluctantly agrees to help Sterling Jr. one-up a dishonest longtime casino patron.Guest stars: Adrien Brody, Dascha Polanco, Noah Segan, and Ron Perlman (voice only)
|2||"The Night Shift"||Rian Johnson||Alice Ju||January 26, 2023|
Near Albuquerque, Charlie befriends laconic trucker Marge, who is wrongfully accused of murder after security camera footage shows Marge removing a corpse from her trailer.Guest stars: Hong Chau, Megan Suri, Colton Ryan, John Ratzenberger, Brandon Micheal Hall, and Chelsea Frei
|3||"The Stall"||Iain B. MacDonald||Wyatt Cain||January 26, 2023|
Charlie learns about the poetry of wood and brisket as a new hire at the legendary Boyle's BBQ in Texas, befriends an indefatigable wild dog, and uncovers a murder plot when one Boyle brother wants out of the family business after an epiphanic viewing of Okja.Guest stars: Lil Rel Howery, Danielle Macdonald, Shane Paul McGhie, and Larry Brown
|4||"Rest in Metal"||Tiffany Johnson||Christine Boylan||January 26, 2023|
Ruby Ruin, an employee at a big-box hardware retailer, and her has-been Doxxxology bandmates are cursed by their single hit, "Staplehead", whose royalties go solely to their former drummer. Desperate for a new hit to change their lives, the band resorts to murder after hiring an idiosyncratic, passionate young drummer, who offers to contribute new material. Charlie tags along as the band's merch seller and suspects foul play.Guest stars: Chloë Sevigny, Nicholas Cirillo, John Hodgman, Chuck Cooper, and John Darnielle
|5||"Time of the Monkey"||Lucky McKee||Wyatt Cain & Charlie Peppers||February 2, 2023|
Charlie befriends subversive best friends and 1970s radicals Irene and Joyce at Mossy Oaks Retirement Home. The two feisty women take matters into their own hands when their former cult leader, who they assumed was killed years ago in a raid, arrives as a new resident.Guest stars: Judith Light, S. Epatha Merkerson, K Callan, Reed Birney, Simon Helberg, and Darius Fraser
|6||"Exit Stage Death"||Ben Sinclair||Chris Downey||February 9, 2023|
Stars of the long-running sitcom Spooky and the Cop, feuding actors Kathleen Townsend and Michael Graves reunite for a one-night-only performance of Ghosts of Pensacola. However, when Michael's much younger wife Ava dies during the performance, new dinner theater waitress Charlie must walk the line between what is real and performative.Guest stars: Ellen Barkin, Tim Meadows, Audrey Corsa, Jameela Jamil, Niall Cunningham, and Chris McKinney
|7||"The Future of the Sport"||Iain B. MacDonald||Story by : Joe Lawson & CS Fischer|
Teleplay by : Joe Lawson
|February 16, 2023|
The rivalry between declining third-generation veteran race car driver Keith Owens and hot-headed up-and-comer Davis McDowell comes to a head at the Peach Tree Speedway's Late Model Championship via sabotage and a deadly accident.Guest stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Charles Melton, Leslie Silva, Angel Desai, Jasmine Aiyana Garvin, and Jack Alcott
|8||"The Orpheus Syndrome"||Natasha Lyonne||Natasha Lyonne & Alice Ju||February 23, 2023|
A special effects artist unearths a past project to find closure from the guilt of a fatal on-set accident; when old demons resurface, Charlie is left to unravel a new deadly plot.Guest stars: Nick Nolte, Cherry Jones, Luis Guzmán, Rowan Blanchard, and Tim Russ
|9||"Escape from Shit Mountain"||Rian Johnson||Nora Zuckerman & Lilla Zuckerman||March 2, 2023|
Charlie finds herself stranded in a motel during a blizzard; in order to survive the night, Charlie must decipher the deadly tension between her questionable companions.Guest stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Castañeda, and Stephanie Hsu
|10||"The Hook"||Janicza Bravo||Rian Johnson||March 9, 2023|
Charlie finds herself in Atlantic City where she finally faces the music with Cliff, Sterling Sr., and even her sister Emily.Guest stars: Ron Perlman, Simon Helberg, Clea DuVall, and Rhea Perlman (voice only)
The project was announced in March 2021, with Rian Johnson serving as creator, writer, director and executive producer. Johnson stated that the series would delve into "the type of fun, character driven, case-of-the-week mystery goodness I grew up watching." The series was inspired by Columbo, being referred as a "howcatchem". Johnson also used Magnum, P.I., The Rockford Files, Quantum Leap, Highway to Heaven and The Incredible Hulk as influences for the tone of the series. Johnson was interested in "doing that Columbo or even Quantum Leap thing of having every episode be an anthropological deep dive into a little corner of America that you might not otherwise see." On February 15, 2023, Peacock renewed the series for a second season.
The announcement of the series included that Natasha Lyonne would serve as the main lead actress. She was approached by Johnson about working on a procedural project together, with Lyonne as the lead character. As Johnson explained, the role was "completely cut to measure for her." While the series and lead character would share things in common with Columbo, the writers sought to differentiate the lead character by having her work outside of the law.
Due to the series' procedural aspects, the episodes feature several guest stars. Johnson was inspired by the number of actors who guest starred on Columbo, wanting to deem each guest star as the star of the episode, which allowed them to attract many actors.
In April 2022, Benjamin Bratt joined the series. Instead of a guest role, his character would recur as Cliff, the head of security at a casino where Charlie works. When she escapes the casino, his character would go after her, which Bratt called “a ticking clock for the show".
According to the director of the Hudson Valley Film Commission, filming was based in Newburgh, New York, and ran from April through October 2022, in locations throughout the mid-Hudson Valley. At least one episode of the series was filmed in late August 2022 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Outdoor scenes were filmed in Laughlin, Nevada, in September 2022, with the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino depicting the fictional Frost Casino.
Poker Face premiered on January 26, 2023, with the first four episodes available immediately and the rest debuting on a weekly basis.
International sales for the series are handled by Paramount Global Content Distribution. The series is available on Citytv+ and Citytv in Canada and on Stan in Australia.
Poker Face was met with critical acclaim upon release. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 99% approval rating with an average rating of 8.5/10, based on 88 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "With the incomparable Natasha Lyonne as an ace up its sleeve, Poker Face is a puzzle box of modest ambitions working with a full deck." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 84 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Chicago Sun-Times's Richard Roeper gave a rating of 3.5 out of 4 stars and said, "The beauty part is watching the amazing Natasha Lyonne's Charlie puzzle out the crime in clever and often hilarious fashion." Peter Travers of ABC News felt Lyonne landed "the role of her career" in Charlie Cale and called Poker Face "the best joyride of the 2023 TV season." Linda Holmes of NPR felt Lyonne's "unforgettable" performance proved herself to be the "Peter Falk of her generation". Ben Travers of IndieWire gave the series a B and stated "All this star power is enough to guarantee Poker Face will be, at least, an enjoyable diversion. But... it's hard to shake the feeling that Poker Face isn't as good as it could've been." The Atlantic's Sophie Gilbert believed the show succeeded in its first episodes "by attending to the emotional cadences of overlooked people and places" but criticized the characters of later episodes for falling into tropes.
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- ^ a b Campione, Katie (February 15, 2023). "'Poker Face' Scores Season 2 Renewal At Peacock". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
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- ^ a b Petski, Denise (June 30, 2022). "'Poker Face': S. Epatha Merkerson & Judith Light To Star In Rian Johnson's Peacock Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
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- ^ Otterson, Joe (April 15, 2022). "'Umbrella Academy' Star David Castañeda Joins Natasha Lyonne, Rian Johnson Peacock Series 'Poker Face' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
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- ^ a b c Bojalad, Alec (January 25, 2023). "Natasha Lyonne's Poker Face Is Bringing Columbo Energy Back to TV". Den of Geek. Retrieved January 25, 2023.
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- ^ "Poker Face: Season 1". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved February 11, 2023.
- ^ Roeper, Richard (January 25, 2023). "'Poker Face': Natasha Lyonne unravels mysteries as she travels the country". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
- ^ Travers, Peter (February 3, 2023). "Review: Natasha Lyonne has found the role of her career in 'Poker Face'". ABC News. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
- ^ Holmes, Linda (January 25, 2023). "No lie: Natasha Lyonne is unforgettable in 'Poker Face'". NPR. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
- ^ Travers, Ben (January 25, 2023). "Rian Johnson's 'Poker Face' Is a One-Episode Wonder — with a Decent Detective Procedural to Boot". IndieWire. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
- ^ Gilbert, Sophie (January 25, 2023). "The Sly Darkness of Poker Face". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
- Poker Face at IMDb
- Poker Face on Peacock
- 2020s American comedy-drama television series
- 2020s American mystery television series
- 2023 American television series debuts
- American detective television series
- English-language television shows
- Nonlinear narrative television series
- Peacock (streaming service) original programming
- Television series by Media Rights Capital
- Television shows about murder
- Television shows filmed in Nevada
- Television shows filmed in New Mexico
- Television shows filmed in New York (state)