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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
Great show at heart
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What's the Story?
In POKER FACE, Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll) becomes an accidental amateur detective when her best friend Natalie is murdered and she decides to investigate. Charlie has a consistent ability to detect when someone is lying, and in her previous life used her gift to win high-stakes poker games. In the process of unraveling Natalie's murder, she makes a few enemies and must flee town before she faces the same end. On the run, she ends up using her human lie detector abilities to solve different murders in each town she travels through. Each episode features a different A-list guest star (like Adrien Brody, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Chloe Sevigny) playing offbeat characters whose path Charlie crosses.
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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about who suffers consequences for their crimes in Poker Face. In many episodes, the rich and powerful get away with their misdeeds, and the victims are people of color or lower socio-economic status. Do you think this reflects the reality of life in America? Why or why not?
Why do you think the Charlie character is so likable, even though she makes lots of mistakes? Do you think her trying to solve the murders and set things right makes up for her other moral failings?
- Premiere date: January 26, 2023
- Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Adrien Brody, Chloe Sevigny
- Network: Peacock
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 1, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Only Murders in the Building
Language, some gory images in fun NYC murder mystery.
Expert, effortlessly entertaining all-star mystery-comedy.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Sharp, layered mystery sequel; smoking, drinking, cursing.
For kids who love mysteries
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate