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SYFY WIRE Poker Face

Will Poker Face’s Charlie Cale Get An Origin Story? Rian Johnson & Natasha Lyonne Weigh In

Lyonne and Johnson have spent "a lot of time" discussing a potential origin for Charlie's lie-detecting power.

By Josh Weiss
Pictured: Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in POKER FACE Season 1 Episode 6

An official origin story for Charlie Cale's unique ability to detect lies isn't off the (poker) table. 

Sitting down with Deadline to discuss the hit Peacock series, Poker Face lead and executive producer Natasha Lyonne revealed that she and creator/EP Rian Johnson have spent "a lot of time" discussing a potential backstory for the murder-solving protagonist. All we really know about Ms. Cale right now, is that she has an estranged sister named Emily (played by Clea DuVall in the Season 1 finale).

"I don’t even know if we want to talk about it here because who knows if that’ll be the thing we ultimately want to commit to in a second season, but we did spend a lot of time just talking about a core injury or something, or when was the moment where Charlie decided this is a double-edged sword and this is also something that can make my life crumble, so I’ve got to sort of keep it, but put it aside," Lyonne said.

The goal, Lyonne later explained, is not to be "reductive" and distill life's inherent complexities — or, as she put it, "a series of sh**ty events that lead you to have a personality change" — into a single event.

RELATED: Poker Face Creator Rian Johnson Has No Endgame in Mind for Hit Peacock Series

"I think we will inevitably get into that," added Johnson, hinting that Charlie's talent for sniffing out human BS will most likely be tied to her father. "I feel like both of us were also wary of doing the equivalent of a superhero origin story where suddenly you do the flashback to the thing that’s the equivalent of being in the gamma-ray chamber, but emotionally. I guess for me, I’m willing to take the time to get to that, to figure out the version of it that’s nuanced enough and interesting enough. That’s the other tricky thing, figuring out a way to explore that in the context of a Poker Face episode, I think. But anyway, it’s exciting to think about it."

"One of the things I love about working with Rian is that confidence and resistance to traditional storytelling, essentially," Lyonne concluded. "You’re such a master of the classic form, it’s like you make it your b****, and it’s like you know the information enough to know that it might not actually be the most fun thing for the audience to find out this backstory in this first season. I love that. It makes it so fun for me that you have the confidence of storytelling to say, 'It’s going to be baked into the DNA.' You know so much about a person by the way they carry themselves and the things they do and don’t say."

The complete first season of Poker Face is now available to stream on Peacock. Thanks to the loose nature of the anthology format, you can jump in anywhere. Don't know where to begin? Click here for SYFY WIRE's rundown of the best five episodes released so far!

Want to check out more gumshoe work while you await Charlie's small screen return? All seasons of Columbo and Murder She Wrote are also streaming on Peacock!