A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive messages about doing the right thing even if it isn't convenient, and trying to make people who commit crimes face consequences. Criminals do terrible things, but their actions are clearly presented as wrong.
Positive Role Models
Main character Charlie has flaws but is trying to do the morally correct thing, even when there's a lot at stake for her personally. Many of the guest characters are terrible role models and commit crimes.
Main character Charlie is a counterstereotypical assertive and brave female (and is also more crude and rough around the edges than leading ladies usually get to be). Benjamin Bratt, who's of Latino descent, plays a character who kills as part of his job and is pursuing Charlie. Episodes will highlight characters of diverse backgrounds, but then Charlie will move on.
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Violence & Scariness
Every episode starts with a murder/suspicious death. Strong on-camera violence, including shooting at close range and visible wounds and blood. A suicide scene that is somewhat comedic in tone. Lots of verbal hostility and threats. Plots include mature themes like domestic violence and child pornography.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Pilot episode has a scene including many photos of male anatomy. Plots include mentions of mature themes like domestic violence and child pornography.
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Many uses of "f--k." Charlie frequently talks about being able to detect "bulls--t." "D--k," "ass," "bitch," etc. Threats of physical harm and verbal hostility throughout.
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Products & Purchases
Alcohol brands, particularly beer, are featured throughout. Subway figures prominently in one episode.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Charlie smokes and drinks frequently -- when we first meet her, she starts her day with a beer -- apparently without consequences. Other characters are shown drinking to excess, sometimes becoming violent when drunk. Charlie is shown driving under the influence. Many characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Poker Face is a murder mystery drama created and directed by Rian Johnson (Knives Out) and starring Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll) and a bevy of A-list guest stars. The series is great, and best suited for mature teens. Every episode starts with a murder/suspicious death that Lyonne's character, Charlie, unravels using her ability to detect "bulls--t." Violent murders take place with a variety of weapons. In the first episode, a character dies by suicide and the event is somewhat comedic in tone. Sexual content includes pictures of male anatomy, and plot lines include domestic violence and child pornography. Strong language is present throughout, including casual F-bombs and every other variety of curse words. Main character Charlie abuses alcohol and drives under the influence, and does not face consequences for either. Many other characters also drink to excess.
Is It Any Good?
While it may seem odd to call a show featuring heinous crimes and strong themes "fun," Poker Face is super entertaining. As in her Orange Is the New Black role, Lyonne plays an extremely likable blue-collar antihero with a heart of gold. The show has a similar structure to old-school crime series Columbo, where the murder is revealed to the audience at the beginning of each episode. So, each episode's plot is less about "whodunnit" and more about seeing how Charlie figures it out and tries to find justice. With 1970s styling, excellent guest star roles, and a hefty dose of tongue-in-cheek humor, Poker Face is a great watch after the kids go to bed.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.