Poker Face, Peacock’s Columbo-esque “howcatchchem,” starring Natasha Lyonne and written by Rian Johnson, became one of 2023’s surprise hits when it premiered its first season earlier this year. So it won’t be surprising to see it pick up orders for next season soon. But is there an end?
When Poker Face was renewed for Season 2 at Peacock, it was clear that this new hit series had some legs and the stamina to use them. In Season 1, Lyonne’s human polygraph Charlie Kyle escapes across the country from a mysterious and formidable foe, solving more murders than the average person tends to encounter on any given road trip case. But while the season 2 setup introduced a new antagonist to fuel Charlie’s quest to continue, it kept things the same, opening the door for more of the same addictive episodic stories. Which begs the question, how long can Johnson and Lyon last?
At a recent Deadline event, the pair spoke about several topics involving Poker Face, including their hopes for the future. “We want to keep doing that, and I feel like it’s very well-built so there’s an overarching story, but it’s kind of like the story of whether Sam’s going to come home in Quantum Leap,” Johnson said. “It really doesn’t matter, It’s just an engine to keep her going, to keep her going, to keep doing these little mysteries and get exciting people involved.” Our goal is to keep doing that as much as possible.
Poker Face is a change from Johnson’s typical formula, but keeps the trends seen in Knives Out and Glass Onion. That said, it provides viewers with a lovable central character to keep coming back to through all the different mysteries. “I realized that what these shows have in common is that they all have a charismatic star at the center,” explains Johnson, referring to how a show like Columbo centered on a comfortable character inspired Pokerface. “Of course, I’m chasing mysteries, but I’m mostly watching Hangout with Peter Falk every week. There aren’t many people who can do that today. So when I watch Russian Dolls To Natasha, to meet her, and we became friends, and I knew Natasha was someone who could do that.
Sometimes seen as an underrated actress, Lyonne’s poker face made her shine in the role and directed an episode of “Orpheus Syndrome.” It turned out to be a collaboration between Lyonne and Johnson. “Almost everything with Poker Face is Rian’s fault,” Lyonne joked. “I was in Puerto Vallarta trying to sleep. Then Rian sent me a documentary about Phil Tippett, and we kind of went for a vision, and from there it developed into what Nick Nolte was going to be, a sad story and a very appealing man’s title, ‘Orpheus Syndrome,’ it’s important.’
Johnson has said that the future of Poker Face is endless, and after hearing that, it’s easy to believe. There’s clearly a lot of passion behind this series, so keeping Johnson and Lyon going for as long as possible sounds like an ideal situation. Here’s hoping they keep the addictive formula they captured so well in season 1.
Poker Face is available on Peacock.