By Josh Taylor
If you are like me and loved Glass Onion last year or you are just a fan of the mystery genre as a whole, I have really good news for you! Rian Johnson, the writer, and director behind Glass Onion and Knives Out is bringing his style of storytelling to television with Poker Face.
As part of the NBC Winter Press Tour, I had the opportunity to hear about the new Peacock streaming show. Johnson, star Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll, Orange is the New Black), and Benjamin Bratt (DMZ, Coco) were on hand to talk about what to expect from this new show. Johnson stated, “The intention with this show, the thing that got me excited about it was the idea from the start of doing a case-of-the-week mystery show, like the kind of stuff I grew up watching as a kid.” Pulling from shows like Murder She Wrote, Columbo, and Magnum P.I. “Part of the joy of my character, Charlie Cale, is she’s really ageless. Like when I look at Angela Lansbury, I picture being whatever that age is. 21 I assume,” Lyonne joked. “Innately I’m someone who has a very good read on people, something you might call street smarts, but certainly it would be more fun to have it in the way that Charlie does.”
The show’s premise sees Charlie capable of knowing when someone is lying and takes to the road in her Plymouth Barracuda meeting lots of new faces along the way. Joking again, Lyonne said, “The car is great. It’s not super efficient to drive. Sometimes the windshield wipers don’t work.” Despite Johnson stating that Poker Face is a mystery-of-the-week show, there are elements that are part of an ongoing arc, which includes Benjamin Bratt’s character Cliff Legard. “He has a military background. He is given the responsibility of protecting the Frost Casino Empire, which includes going after and taking care of Charlie,” Bratt says. “That amounts to, in essence, the ticking clock that the show really needs to keep Charlie on the road.”
The show’s 10-episode run also boasts a wide variety of guest stars that include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stephanie Hsu, Adrien Brody, Nick Nolte, Rhea Perlman, and countless others. Bratt discussed why people lined up to work on the show with Johnson saying, “The architecture of what he writes is flawless. He’s very specific about giving each character their own voice, almost more importantly, their moment in the story.”
The 10-episode run isn’t something Johnson just wrote and is ready to let go of. Like his other major franchise currently spiraling off of Knives Out with detective Benoit Black, Johnson stated that “The show wasn’t conceived as a limited series. There are an unlimited number of stories to tell. Poker Face is a smorgasbord of possibilities of different worlds we can dip into.”
Poker Face premieres with four episodes on January 26, 2023, and is exclusively streaming on Peacock. New episodes will debut weekly.