19 Oddball Mystery Series For Fans Of "Poker Face"

Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne have returned to the small screen with Poker Face, an old-school "murder of the week" mystery series with a fresh coat of paint courtesy of the eccentric and comical sensibilities of the aforementioned producer and star.

Natasha Lyonne walks down a hallway with flip sunglasses and a blue jacket
Natasha Lyonne walks down a hallway with flip sunglasses and a blue jacket


But once you've finished it, there are plenty of other mystery series that helped lay the weird and sardonic blueprint for Poker Face which you can watch at this very moment. So, if you're looking for a bingeable whodunit after you've finished Poker Face, these 19 off-beat mystery series are all guilty as charged.

1.The Resort

A man and woman examine a room full of post-it notes

Creator: Andy SiaraCast: William Jackson Harper, Cristin Milioti, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Skyler Gisondo, and Nina BloomgardenGenre: ComedySeasons: 1Episodes: 8Rating: TV-MA

Produced by Mr. Robot mastermind Sam Esmail, The Resort stars The Good Place’s William Jackson Harper and Palm Springs’ Cristin Milioti as a couple whose rocky relationship is rejuvenated (and, ultimately, tested) when they stumble upon a 15-year-old missing persons case to which they may hold the key to solving. Unveiling a deep and expansive lore behind its otherwise boy-meets-girl mystery, The Resort is one wild ride worth taking (and a relatively short one, considering the show’s eight-episode initial run).


2.Kolchak: The Night Stalker

A middle-aged man in a white suit and hat holds a cross against a foggy and surreal background

Creator: Jeff RiceCast: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage, Ruth McDevitt, and Carol Ann SusiGenre: HorrorSeasons: 1Episodes: 20Rating: N/A

A cult classic television series that directly influenced genre hybrid series such as The X-Files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker surrounds Carl Kolchak, an intuitive investigative reporter who happens upon a number of strange and potentially supernatural cases around the Chicago area. Anchored by a stellar performance from Darren McGavin of A Christmas Story fame, The Night Stalker also helped launch the careers of The Sopranos creator David Chase as well as Back to the Future filmmakers Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, and was nearly rebooted by Disney as a big screen property from Johnny Depp and Edgar Wright.

Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Veronica Mars

A blonde woman with a long-lens camera is shocked while reporting her findings over the phone

Creator: Rob ThomasCast: Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Ryan Hansen, and Tessa ThompsonGenre: DramaSeasons: 4Episodes: 72Rating: TV-14

The breakout series for performer Kristen Bell as well as acclaimed television writer Rob Thomas, Veronica Mars is a Californian noir series that combines small town mysteries with high school drama, all through the literal and figurative lens of the titular private investigation wunderkind. Also produced by Hollywood bigwig Joel Silver, Veronica Mars was initially canceled in 2007 before its cult popularity blossomed, resulting in a $5.7 million Kickstarter for a feature film, which was released in 2014, and a revived fourth season on Hulu in 2019.

PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy

4.Only Murders in the Building

A trio of apartment tenants stare inquisitively from behind a door frame

Creators: Steve Martin and John HoffmanCast: Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Amy Ryan, and Cara DelevingneGenre: ComedySeasons: 2Episodes: 20Rating: TV-MA

This popular and critically beloved Hulu original came seemingly out of nowhere in 2021, showcasing a trio of eccentric neighbors (Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez) who decide to start a true crime podcast investigating the murder of another tenant in their building. With each character harboring their own difficulties, secrets, and neuroses, Only Murders in the Building also packs enough laugh-out-loud punches and jaw-dropping twists to make it one of the most bingeable options in the streaming space, period.

Craig Blankenhorn / Hulu / Alamy

5.Search Party

A woman hallucinates four different versions of herself sitting in a near empty room

Creators: Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, and Michael ShowalterCast: Alia Shawkat, John Reynolds, John Early, Meredith Hagner, and Brandon Michael HallGenre: ComedySeasons: 5Episodes: 50Rating: TV-MA

A boldly unpredictable and often hilarious series that often bounces between genres and mysteries, Search Party revolves around a quartet of New York City hipsters who decide to search for an ex-acquaintance who has gone missing, but must decide if their wild theories are the cold, hard truth or their imaginations getting the better of them. Featuring a career-best Alia Shawkat and a scene-stealing John Early, Search Party is a more chaotic and darker alternative for those who feel Only Murders is too toothless and straight-laced for their liking.

HBO Max / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy

6.American Vandal

A young man holds up a cell phone with incriminating text messages
A young man holds up a cell phone with incriminating text messages


Creators: Dan Perrault and Tony YacendaCast: Tyler Alvarez, Griffin Gluck, Jimmy Tatro, Calum Worthy, and Travis TopeGenre: ComedySeasons: 2Episodes: 16Rating: TV-MA

An underrated true crime documentary parody that also doubles as a satisfying and occasionally hysterical mystery series, American Vandal examines and litigates major high school pranks with the same serious tone and twist-laden storytelling as the likes of Making a Murderer and The Thin Blue Line. Featuring some of the most talented young actors working today as the various suspects and investigators in each story, American Vandal notably earned a Peabody Award in 2018 and racked up Primetime Emmy, WGA Award, and Critics' Choice Television Award nominations during its relatively brief tenure.

7.Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

A man in a yellow jacket yells at another man wrapped in a shower curtain
A man in a yellow jacket yells at another man wrapped in a shower curtain

BBC America / IDW Entertainment

Creator: Max LandisCast: Samuel Barnett, Elijah Wood, Hannah Marks, Jade Eshete, and Fiona DourifGenre: Science FictionSeasons: 2Episodes: 18Rating: TV-14

Despite being forever associated with a deeply problematic individual, this BBC America series is primarily adapted from the works of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Douglas Adams, whose influence permeates every frame of this peculiar mystery series. Part Doctor Who, part Sherlock Holmes, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is chockfull of quirk and charm thanks to its exceptional cast and mysteries that interweave with the more dense sci-fi elements effortlessly.

8.Mapleworth Murders

An angry woman in a green overcoat yells a death threat
An angry woman in a green overcoat yells a death threat

Broadway Video

Creators: Paula Pell and John LutzCast: Paula Pell, Hayley Magnus, John Lutz, J. B. Smoove, and Fred ArmisenGenre: ComedySeasons: 1Episodes: 12Rating: N/A

Orphaned by the late streaming punchline Quibi and eventually acquired by the Roku Channel, Mapleworth Murders essentially operates as a parody of Murder, She Wrote with the irreverence of any Lorne Michaels production. Eventually winning a Primetime Emmy Award in 2021 for the scene-stealing turn from J. B. Smoove, Mapleworth Murders also hosts an impressive roster of guest stars, including Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Patton Oswalt, Andy Samberg, and Wanda Sykes.


A man in an overcoat debates the details of a mystery

Creators: Richard Levinson and William LinkCast: Peter FalkGenre: DramaSeasons: 10Episodes: 69Rating: N/A

The gold standard for small screen murder mysteries, Columbo flips the script of the genre by redefining the narrative as a “howcatchem” as opposed to a “whodunit” as you largely follow the killer’s attempt to get away with the crime with Lieutenant Columbo literally (and figuratively) drawing closer and closer to them. But perhaps the real reason why Columbo remains so timeless and endlessly watchable is that the story is so compelling and the performances are so engaging, especially that of series’ anchor Peter Falk in the titular role, that you’re likely to miss the character putting the mystery together, which makes the reveals as surprising for the viewer as it is for the culprit.

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Twin Peaks

A man in a three-piece suit stands in a red draped room next to a blonde woman on a leather chair

Creators: David Lynch and Mark FrostCast: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sherilyn Fenn, Ray Wise, and Sheryl LeeGenre: DramaSeasons: 3Episodes: 48Rating: N/A

A series that changed everyone’s perspective on televised murder mysteries, Twin Peaks is one of the most influential series of all time, offering a distinct visual style, a roster of bizarre yet compelling characters, and a mind-melting mythology that is still referenced and memed to this day. Though Twin Peaks can be more intense, surreal, and disturbing than most titles on this list, David Lynch and Mark Frost’s ensemble mystery series is often considered to be essential viewing in the genre and, for some, pop culture in general.

Lynch/Frost Productions / Moviestore Collection Ltd / Alamy

11.Bored to Death

A pair of well-dressed gentlemen examine a concerning situation in a diner

Creator: Jonathan AmesCast: Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Burns, and John HodgmanGenre: ComedySeasons: 3Episodes: 24Rating: TV-MA

A modern noir series through a quirky modern comedic lens, Bored to Death stars Jason Schwartzman as a journalist who moonlights as an unlicensed private investigator, often turning to his odd yet loyal best friend (Zach Galifianakis) and morally dubious editor (Ted Danson) to help get to the bottom of his inquiries. Also notable as the small screen debut of prolific writer Jonathan Ames (whom Schwartzman plays in a fictionalized version on the show), Bored to Death benefits from the looser reigns of HBO's premium cable content as well as a fantastic cast of recurring scene-stealers who will keep you glued to the screen.

HBO / Cinematic Collection / Alamy

12.Russian Doll

A red-haired woman stares through a glass door

Creators: Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy PoehlerCast: Natasha Lyonne, Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, and Chloë SevignyGenre: ComedySeasons: 2Episodes: 15Rating: TV-MA

Though it’s not a “whodunit” or a traditional mystery-of-the-week series, Natasha Lyonne’s previous serialized spectacle still played as a captivating mystery about a game developer who becomes stuck in a time loop on her 36th birthday that repeatedly ends with her death, sending her on an inescapable journey to figure out what is really happening. Nominated for various Emmy awards, Russian Doll also served to establish Lyonne as a viable lead performer in a mainstream project after her supporting turn in Orange Is the New Black helped launch her comeback.

Netflix / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy


A pale blonde woman eats a brain out of tupperware with chopsticks

Creators: Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-WrightCast: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, and Aly MichalkaGenre: DramaSeasons: 5Episodes: 71Rating: TV-14

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas also shepherded this horror-comedy series that follows a medical examiner who unfortunately becomes a zombie, but turns her postmortem affliction into a gift when her newly acquired powers allow her to help solve murders throughout Seattle. Starring Ghosts’ Rose McIver and Midnight Mass’s Rahul Kohli, iZombie offers a more sordid affair for a mystery program while being silly enough to remain relatively inoffensive, outside of the fairly regular brain consumption scene.



An anxious man attempts to address a classroom

Creator: Andy BreckmanCast: Tony Shalhoub, Bitty Schram, Jason Gray-Stanford, Ted Levine, and Traylor HowardGenre: ComedySeasons: 8Episodes: 125Rating: TV-PG

Putting a unique modern spin on the intricate small screen mystery show, Monk surrounds a widower detective dealing with post-traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which complicates his crime-solving process but likewise helps him in locating specific clues and retaining specific memories. Headlined by a career-best Tony Shalhoub as the titular character, Monk handles both dramatic and comedic beats with finesse, approaching the more potentially troublesome elements with respect and gravity while still finding time to address some of the organic humor within the juxtaposition.

ABC / AJ Pics / Alamy


A pale man in a large black jacket sits oddly on a leather couch as his friend conducts an internet search

Creators: Mark Gatiss and Steven MoffatCast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Rupert Graves, Louise Brealey, and Andrew ScottGenre: DramaSeasons: 4Episodes: 13Rating: TV-14

After finding much success with his contemporary reboot of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat teamed with The League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss to introduce a new vision of Sherlock Holmes, interpreting Holmes's exceptional powers of observation and stunning intellect in the modern world while assembling various pieces of Holmes's lore in a practical new way. Though the series is largely comprised of 13 feature-length episodes (with the door open for more in the future), Sherlock was a critical and commercial smash, winning a number of BAFTA and Primetime Emmy Awards during its initial run.

BBC / AJ Pics / Alamy

16.Police Squad!

Kathryn Leigh Scott, Leslie Nielsen, and Alan North pose for a promotional photo

Creators: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry ZuckerCast: Leslie Nielsen, Alan North, Peter Lupus, Ed Williams, and William DuellGenre: ComedySeasons: 1Episodes: 6Rating: N/A

From the creative team behind Airplane!, Police Squad! was a hysterical spoof of police procedurals that showcases the sensibilities of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker at the height of their comedic power. Debuting Leslie Nielsen in the now-iconic role of Frank Drebin, Police Squad! takes aim at the likes of a number of classic mystery series, including Columbo, but despite being canceled after six episodes, the series found new life on the big screen via The Naked Gun trilogy.

Paramount Television / Courtesy Everett Collection

17.Pushing Daisies

A trio of individuals stare curiously at a dead body on a morgue slab

Creator: Bryan FullerCast: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Ellen Greene, and Swoosie KurtzGenre: ComedySeasons: 2Episodes: 22Rating: TV-14

One of the most acclaimed series from visionary television storyteller Bryan Fuller, Pushing Daisies follows Ned (Lee Pace), a man with the ability to revive the dead with his touch but kills someone nearby as a result, who is recruited by a private investigator (Chi McBride) to help solve cases by resurrecting murder victims for critical information before splitting the reward money, a gambit that is complicated when his childhood sweetheart is murdered. Featuring many of Fuller’s repeat collaborators, including Hannibal’s Raúl Esparza, American Gods’ Kristin Chenoweth, and Wonderfalls’ Beth Grant, Pushing Daisies is often considered to be one of the top “canceled too soon” television series and won various Primetime Emmy awards during its criminally brief run.

ABC / Maximum Film / Alamy

18.Murder, She Wrote

A confused woman stares at two men while working a case near a dock

Creators: Peter S. Fischer, Richard Levinson, and William LinkCast: Angela Lansbury, William Windom, Tom Bosley, Ron Masak, and Louis HerthumGenre: DramaSeasons: 12Episodes: 264Rating: N/A

Rarely does lightning strike twice in the entertainment industry, but it certainly did just that when the creators of Columbo whipped up a second instantly iconic murder mystery series in the mid-1980s starring Angela Lansbury in Murder, She Wrote. Surrounding the amateur investigations of mystery writer Jessica Fletcher, many of which occur around the fictional Maine town of Cabot Cove, Murder, She Wrote ran for more than 260 episodes between 1984 and 1996, and has had such a lasting presence in popular culture that video games were developed based on the property in 2009 and 2012 while the show is still a frequently binged title on streaming platforms.

Universal Television / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy

19.The Afterparty

A man with writing on his face concernedly examines his surroundings during a police investigation

Creator: Christopher MillerCast: Sam Richardson, Tiffany Haddish, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, and Dave FrancoGenre: ComedySeasons: 1Episodes: 8Rating: TV-MA

One of the more ingenious twists on the murder mystery format, The Afterparty essentially presents the beloved subgenre with a Yojimbo-esque narrative twist that traverses through genres and framing devices with hilarious results. Developed by 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, The Afterparty will keep you guessing while you laugh throughout its eight-episode first season, but if you dig the series’ central conceit, you won’t have to wait much longer for the impending second season on AppleTV+.

Columbia TriStar TV Productions / Album / Alamy

What titles would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.