• Network: Peacock
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 26, 2023
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Nina Metz
    Jan 26, 2023
    100
    A cut above the best. ... You need a consistent and entertaining center to keep things grounded and Lyonne’s shrugging-charismatic performance is as deft as they come.
  2. Reviewed by: Nicole Gallucci
    Jan 25, 2023
    100
    To put it simply, Poker Face is a triumph — for Johnson and Lyonne, for modern-day TV, for the mystery genre in general, and — crucially — for Peacock.
  3. Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    Jan 25, 2023
    100
    If the format is lovingly pinched from Columbo, along with some memorable plot points, the social worlds Charlie dips into are not just inspired, but also vividly fleshed out. ... Of the many bespoke touches that make Poker Face a true midwinter gift, the greatest pleasure is in watching an extraordinary character, played by an extraordinary actor, puzzle her way through the bottomless mysteries of the human psyche.
  4. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Jan 25, 2023
    100
    Natasha Lyonne comes off like the last pack of cigarettes in a world of vape pens. ... Poker Face rehumanizes and re-weirds TV crime, carving a third way between network franchises and prestige gloom. ... Here's a detective with no home, no gun, no phone, no supporting cast, a past to escape, and a doomed future. Hell of a hand, I'm all in.
  5. Reviewed by: Maggie Lovitt
    Jan 25, 2023
    100
    This series has everything — from a killer cast, deliciously clever dialogue, smartly delivered mysteries, and a creative team to die for. Peacock, it’s time to up the ante and bet on this series’ success. Poker Face has the potential to not only become the best series of 2023 but also inspire the industry to see the benefit of episodic storytelling that draws audiences into the glorious, nostalgia-filled realm of howcatchems again.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Jan 25, 2023
    91
    None of it works without a performer who knows exactly how to sell this kind of modern Columbo riff, and Lyonne completely gets “Poker Face.” She’s funny, engaged, charismatic, and perfect for the part, finding a great blend of wit and eccentricity.
  7. Reviewed by: Liz Shannon Miller
    Jan 25, 2023
    91
    You could accuse Poker Face of lacking ambition by drawing so heavily on the past, but that would be missing the point. What Johnson, Lyonne, and the Zimmermans have done is identify what was so magnetic and crowd-pleasing about Columbo and his kin, and translate it to a whole new era, in ways that feel of the moment and fresh.
  8. Reviewed by: Saloni Gajjar
    Jan 30, 2023
    90
    Poker Face begins with a luxurious pace as Charlie adapts to her surroundings, but it’s a strong start; our patience is well-rewarded in these hourlong episodes.
  9. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 26, 2023
    90
    In an era of dark drama and cookie-cutter procedurals, Poker Face plays a winning hand of smart humor amid the mayhem. [30 Jan - 12 Feb 2023, p.8]
  10. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jan 25, 2023
    90
    A work of pure pleasure. ... “Poker Face,” for all its cleverness and modern attitudes, is as straightforward as can be, made simply, and expertly, to be enjoyed — comfort food, not “elevated,” but delicious.
  11. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 25, 2023
    90
    Because shows like Poker Face have become so rare — or, at least, ones like it that are also executed this well — there is a risk of wildly overpraising it. Like any episodic drama, some episodes are stronger than others. ... But goddamn, what a relief and delight it is to see a TV show that actually wants to be a TV show, and that knows how to do that at this high a level. ... This one’s wonderful.
  12. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 26, 2023
    88
    Even though this is a procedural, it’s more elevated, more cinematic and more entertaining than most. ... Lyonne is perfectly suited to this milieu.
  13. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jan 25, 2023
    88
    The beauty part is watching the amazing Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie puzzle out the crime in clever and often hilarious fashion. Charlie might not even think of herself as a sleuth, but the likes of Lt. Columbo and Miss Marple would be proud.
  14. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Jan 25, 2023
    88
    They've eliminated violence, or tamped it down, to get back to a kinder, gentler, "Murder, She Wrote" era — one abetted with a savage wit, and hard stop to each episode. Nice to be back there again. ... As always, Lyonne is great and her new show a winner.
  15. Reviewed by: Adam Graham
    Jan 26, 2023
    83
    "Poker Face" pays homage to the shows that came before it by following in their tradition and honoring their path. And it's done in the right spirit, so that it never has to call bulls--- on itself.
  16. Reviewed by: Dave Nemetz
    Jan 25, 2023
    83
    Poker Face is a loving throwback to ’70s detective shows that works, thanks to a winning lead performance from Natasha Lyonne.
  17. Reviewed by: Rory Doherty
    Jan 25, 2023
    83
    Columbo as a dame on the road is enough to sell any mystery fanatic; we’re lucky Johnson, Lyonne, and the rest of the Poker Face team have also stacked the deck so much in our favor.
  18. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Jan 31, 2023
    80
    “Poker Face” is meant to be as comfortingly familiar as “Russian Doll” was novel and challenging. But the show still conjures as much charisma and surprise as it can inside its rather thoughtful formula.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Lawson
    Jan 26, 2023
    80
    The first season, or at least the six episodes I’ve seen, has a pleasing shagginess. It’s slickly made, but not haughty about it. ... It’s easy to watch, to dive in and out of, which is rarer in today’s TV landscape than it should be.
  20. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 26, 2023
    80
    It’s a hangout show that relies on the pleasure of Natasha Lyonne’s company, which even in the weaker installments is considerable. ... If you miss the kind of episodic storytelling that cares more about delivering a one-hour-long bundle of amusement than in keeping the viewer in suspense until the next installment, you’re likely to enjoy being around her, too.
  21. Reviewed by: Adrian Horton
    Jan 26, 2023
    80
    Poker Face may not be the harebrained, elaborate or sophisticated of murder mysteries, but it is never less than a good time.
  22. Reviewed by: Sophie Gilbert
    Jan 25, 2023
    80
    In some episodes, I got impatient for Lyonne to arrive. In others, the introductions were as thrilling as one-act plays. Johnson’s stamp as the director of the first two episodes is hard to overstate: He makes ugly landscapes seem beautiful, blocks interior scenes with an artist’s eye. ... On Poker Face, it’s easy to forgive the fact that Charlie often accidentally nudges people toward their imminent fate, or that the show’s vision seems rather cynical, with the do-gooders invariably getting bludgeoned by the devious schemers.
  23. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jan 25, 2023
    80
    Lyonne’s performance, simultaneously laid-back and wired, makes “Poker Face” worth the buy-in. ... This is a low-stakes table, but it’s a fun one to hang out at.
  24. Reviewed by: Max Covill
    Jan 25, 2023
    80
    The “Russian Doll” star is the perfect fit for this successful crime drama which mixes murder and comedy to great effect.
  25. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Jan 25, 2023
    80
    “Poker Face” is an entertaining throwback to a time when murder cases on TV weren’t quite as bloodily realistic and morally challenging. Like so many other crime shows right now, it isn’t asking you to explore your own sense of right and wrong. Instead, it’s offering you a mild diversion, in the playful manner of “Knives Out,” and an hourlong hang with Natasha Lyonne.
  26. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Jan 25, 2023
    80
    Generally, the series has a confident throwback style, with solid location shooting and the occasional ’70s flourish — an unexpected zoom or whatnot — as a reminder of the project’s origins. Maybe I didn’t love Poker Face quite as much as I wanted to, but it’s doing its odd thing with great enthusiasm and I can easily see how it could get more and more comfortable with its derivative-but-distinctive voice.
  27. 80
    It is a sturdy kind of storytelling, and sturdiness is not splashy or thrilling. But it is reliable, and the show’s structural resilience fits neatly into its underlying worldview. There’s a deep, warm sweetness inside Poker Face’s ten episodes. ... Poker Face knows itself, and it gives viewers exactly what it has promised: a criminal, a detective, a crime, and a solution.
  28. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Jan 25, 2023
    80
    Surely one of the strongest series yet to launch on Peacock, this streaming drama feels like the best sort of vintage, comfortably spread-out TV. This elegant set of mystery stories allows an established star the time and space to crack a new sort of case, that of how to evolve a familiar persona and bring fans along for the ride.
  29. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Jan 25, 2023
    80
    The confidence of the series’ storytelling is so strong—courtesy of rat-a-tat-tat dialogue, sharp characterizations and fleet plotting—that it immediately establishes its guiding groove.
  30. Reviewed by: Matthew Jacobs
    Jan 25, 2023
    80
    Charlie Cale may be too similar to Lyonne's other characters to make the impression that Jessica Fletcher or Lieutenant Columbo did, but this is a worthy use of the esteem Lyonne has generated as she hits middle age. Some episodes ramble on a bit long, but it's hard to mind when there's so much going for them.
  31. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    Jan 26, 2023
    75
    The appeal of "Poker" is in its nostalgia and simplicity. The series is unpretentious, the scripts aren't rushed and Charlie makes a rather lackadaisical hero. Those looking for the fiery chaos of "Glass Onion" might be disappointed, but the series scratches a different itch. A leisurely, yawning itch on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
  32. Reviewed by: Randy Myers
    Jan 25, 2023
    75
    Rian Johnson’s appreciation for serialized stories where the villains get their comeuppance in the end is well-served in this irresistible Peacock series that’s as funny as it is sharp.
  33. Reviewed by: Chris Vognar
    Jan 25, 2023
    75
    The writing is steadily sharp; with the whodunit part always abundantly evident, the show can focus on the intricacies of the why and the how. And the killer guest spots just keep coming. ... Watching “Poker Face” is like seeing a bunch of old friends, realizing they’re murderers, and liking them all the more for it. They’re all here to get busted by Lyonne.
  34. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    Jan 25, 2023
    75
    All this star power (with Lyonne leading the way) is enough to guarantee “Poker Face” will be, at least, an enjoyable diversion. But as the once-sharp dialogue dulls, the playful spirit fades, and the episodes overall regress to serviceable puzzle-solving, it’s hard to shake the feeling that “Poker Face” isn’t as good as it could’ve been.
  35. Reviewed by: Steven Scaife
    Jan 25, 2023
    63
    Occasionally, Poker Face feels as though it’s running up against the fundamental disconnect of its format: that murder is a serious crime that happens to a real person but also a constant vehicle for pure entertainment. ... But in the end, the series is designed to ably coast on Lyonne’s charm as she spars with its myriad guest stars—and on that front it delivers in spades.
  36. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jan 26, 2023
    60
    “Poker Face” plays a pretty small-stakes game. That might well add up to a winner by Peacock’s standards, but it isn’t worth going “All in” on it just yet.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 29
  2. Negative: 7 out of 29
  1. Jan 26, 2023
    10
    I can't believe they gender-swapped Columbo! What will RUIN Johnson and the WOKE MOB destroy next!?

    (Just kidding. Show is outstanding.)
  2. Jan 27, 2023
    2
    Serviceable acting and nothing else. I wasn't impressed and going by how few reviews it has, neither was anyone else (sorry you people givingServiceable acting and nothing else. I wasn't impressed and going by how few reviews it has, neither was anyone else (sorry you people giving it 10s, you also loved his awful star wars movies so your opinions are objectively worthless). Rian Johnson has never met an original story he didn't want to take a steaming pile of crap on, so it's not too surprising.

    Natasha Lyonne was barely competent in Russian Doll, I don't know why I thought this would be any different.

    The original Columbo ran for 10 seasons. This probably won't make it past two. Just save yourself some time and stick with the original, better project.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 27, 2023
    10
    Misogynist review bombers are out! Natasha Lyonne is fantastic. The show is effortlessly fun.