Poker Face, a new Columbo-esque detective show from Knives Out director Rian Johnson, arrived on Peacock in the US on Thursday 26 January. Debuting to rave reviews, it’s since been been renewed for a second season.
The series, which stars Natasha Lyonne as an investigator with a knack for telling when people are lying, finally has an officially confirmed UK release date: it's set to arrive on Sky Max and NOW TV this May.
Here’s everything you need to know about Poker Face.
What’s it about?
Poker Face is a case-of-the-week mystery series, which creator Rian Johnson has described as particularly inspired by Columbo and its ‘howcatchem’ rather than ‘whodunnit’ structure. (Meaning the episode often begins with the crime being committed, and the audience knows who the murderer is - it’s not about working out their identity, but figuring out how to catch them.)
The series follows Charlie Case, a former casino worker who has an almost preternatural ability to tell when people are lying – pursued by individuals who intend to force her to use that skill for nefarious purposes, Case goes on the run, moving from city to city in her ‘69 Plymouth Barracuda and solving crimes along the way.
Who stars in Poker Face?
Natasha Lyonne stars as Charlie Case, a casino worker with an unusual ability to tell when people are lying. You’ll recognise Lyonne from lead roles in series like Russian Doll and Orange is the New Black, as well as from films like But I’m A Cheerleader, American Pie, and Ad Astra.
Poker Face features a number of different guest stars playing criminals and victims, with a new supporting cast introduced in each episode. Some notable guest starts include Adrien Brody (See How They Run), Charles Melton (Riverdale), Chloë Sevigny (Russian Doll), Clea DuVall (High School), Jameela Jamil (She-Hulk), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick), Megan Suri (Never Have I Ever), and Simon Helberg (Annette, Florence Foster Jenkins).
They’re also joined by David Castañeda (The Umbrella Academy), Ellen Barkin (Switch), Judith Light (American Crime Story), Luis Guzmán (Wednesday), Ron Perlman (The Capture), Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once), Tim Blake Nelson (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) and Tim Meadows (The Goldbergs). John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats will also appear in one episode, which stars Chloë Sevigny as a heavy metal singer; Darnielle has written the songs for that instalment of Poker Face, which is neat.
Who writes and directs?
Poker Face was created by Rian Johnson, a director best known for his films Knives Out, Glass Onion, and The Last Jedi. Johnson has produced each episode of Poker Face, and will direct and script a number of episodes individually also.
Johnson is joined by writers Nora Zuckerman & Lilla Zuckerman (Fringe), Christine Boylan (Castle), and Joe Lawson (Bojack Horseman, the Geico Cavemen adverts) amongst others. Natasha Lyonne and Janicza Bravo (Kindred, Them) will also direct episodes of Poker Face.
Is there a trailer?
Yes, there are! You can watch the full-length trailer right here.
There’s also an earlier version of the trailer, which is slightly shorter but includes different footage, which you can see right here.
When and how can I watch it?
In the US, Poker Face will be available to stream on Peacock from Thursday 26 January. The first four episodes will be released at once, with the remaining six being released weekly thereafter. The series will conclude on Thursday 9 March 2023.
In the UK, Poker Face will air on Sky Max from Friday 26 May. The full series will also be available to stream as part of a boxset on NOW TV.
How many episodes are there?
Poker Face is made up of ten episodes, each of which will be around an hour long (the first episode is 68 mins, the third a more manageable 55, etc).
Is there going to be a second series?
There is! On 15 Feb - a little under three weeks since the series began - Peacock announced that the series would return for a second season. Further details are yet to be announced, but as ever we’ll update this piece with the relevant information as and when it’s available.
What do Poker Face reviews say?
In our Screen Babble podcast episode about Poker Face, we praised the series for its stylish direction and throwback style, but mainly for the charisma of Natasha Lyonne's performance - a bit part of why the show is worth watching is her sheer star power.
Why should I watch it?
It’s one to check out if you’re a fan of things like Columbo or Murder, She Wrote – episodic detective shows that see a new case introduced and solved each week, almost a throwback in the current television landscape.
Of course, it goes without saying too that fans of Rian Johnson’s Benoit Blanc films Knives Out and Glass Onion would also enjoy Poker Face, as would fans of Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll.