Natasha Lyonne in New Mystery

poker face
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Nothing is more true on television than the saying: Everything old is new again. poker facecreated and directed by Rian Johnson, at first glance could be cut from the stuff of modern crime fiction Ocean’s Eleven or Las Vegas. It quickly becomes clear, however, that if anything creative is to be owed, it’s classics that like it columbo.

Unlike a traditional crime thriller, Johnson immerses the audience in some of the mystery, with the narrative being more driven by how the house detective, in this case Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne), puts the pieces of the puzzle together at the end of the program.

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in Poker Face.

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in Poker Face.Credit:Evans Vestal Ward/Peacock

Also in the 1970s and 1980s, television programs such as columboand other mysteries like McMillan & wife, cannon and kojak, were not considered classics at the time or when they were created. But the passage of time and the lineage of shows that owe them a legacy have proven their importance.

The premise here is simple: a spot-on balance between real and slightly surreal. Charlie Cale is a working-class girl who just seems to be making ends meet. But she has a trick up her sleeve: a bullshit detector that’s second to none. That means she spotted liars easily.

Peter Falk as the television detective Columbo.

Peter Falk as the television detective Columbo.

In the first episode, she is drafted to handle a murder case at the casino where she works. But things don’t quite go to plan and circumstances force her out of town with a villain – law & order Actor Benjamin Bratt, in a darker role – on her trail. In that sense, it’s equal parts Agatha Christie mystery and American road trip.

Getting the execution right on a show like this is a tricky dance. poker face dives effortlessly into the gritty dust of modern small-town America. Everything about it feels contemporary. But the truth is, it’s fresh skin draped over old bones, and it’s those bones that lift the series from above average to great.

Even the title of the opening episode – Dead Man’s Hand – feels straight out of junior crime fiction. It could have been a Sturdy boys or Nancy Drew title or better yet Robert Arthur jnr The three investigatorswhich of the three franchises has always felt most at home tangled in the American suburbs. Natasha Lyonne in New Mystery

Jaclyn Diaz

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