Landing on Sky Max, Poker Face sees filmmaker Rian Johnson collaborate with Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonne for a small-screen detective series that takes its cues from mystery-of-the-week classics like Columbo.
Lyonne stars as a poker player that’s so good at spotting bluffers, she’s quickly banned from pretty much every casino going. After witnessing a crime, she hits the road and promptly finds a new outlet for her lie-detecting skills by cracking a series of stand-alone cases whilst on the run, each populated with intriguing characters played by famous guest stars.
Debuting on Peacock in America back in January, Poker Face has already gathered glowing reviews and secured a second series. With its future in the bag, it’s probably time we got to know a few of its key players.
Poker Face character guide
Charlie Cale | Natasha Lyonne
Lyonne plays the series' star Charlie Cale, a cocktail waitress with a spot-on ability for noticing when someone isn’t telling the truth. When we first meet her, she’s banned from most gambling spots and soon sent on the run from a local kingpin after she accidentally witnesses a murder. Jumping into her Plymouth Barracuda, she sets off across the States where she encounters different people, each with a new case to solve.
Cliff LeGrand | Benjamin Bratt
Benjamin Bratt plays Cliff LeGrand. He’s the head of security at Frost Casino where Charlie gets embroiled in the case that ultimately sends her packing towards future adventures. He’s a dodgy guy and is ordered by his boss, the owner of the Frost casino, to track Charlie down after she escapes.
Sterling Frost Jr. | Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody appears as Sterling Frost Jr. the son of Cliff’s boss and casino owner Sterling Frost Sr. He’s the manager of the casino and determined to prove his worth to his corrupt father.
Sterling Frost Sr. | Ron Perlman
Jr’s father is played by Hellboy actor Ron Perlman. Sterling Frost Sr. is ruthless and has a score to settle with Charlie, if only he could track her down.
Natalie Hill | Dascha Polanco
Played by Dascha Polanco, Natalie is Charlie’s best friend and together, they work at Frost Casino. When Natalie makes a dark and disturbing discovery, Charlie’s first case is set into motion - the one that eventually leaves her on the run.
Taffy Boyle | Lil Rel Howery
Lil Rel Howery plays Taffy Boyle, the co-owner of a popular barbeque restaurant that Charlie visits in episode three. Pretty soon though, Taffy is at the centre of another case that Charlie is determined to crack.
Ruby Ruin | Chloë Sevigny
Ruby Ruin first appears in episode four of Johnson’s mystery series and she's played by Chloë Sevigny. Ruby is the lead singer of a heavy metal band called Doxxxology who will do anything to secure a hit - including murder, as Charlie quickly discovers.
Ava Graves | Jameela Jamil
Episode six sees an appearance by Jameela Jamil who plays Ava Graves, the wife of a wealthy actor who’s lured out of retirement by his former co-star and nemesis for one final show. However, when disaster strikes on stage, Charlie steps in to solve the case.
Keith Owens | Tim Blake Nelson
Tim Blake Nelson plays an ageing racecar driver named Keith Owens in the seventh episode of Poker Face. He’s pulled into a competitive dispute with a younger racer that veers on and off the tracks, forcing Charlie to get involved and try to figure out who caused a potentially deadly crash.
Arthur Liptin | Nick Nolte
In episode eight, Charlie meets Arthur, the co-founder of a visual effects company played by screen icon Nick Nolte. After Arthur’s co-founder partner meets an untimely end, Charlie soon discovers that there’s more to this death than meets the eye.
Trey Nelson | Joseph Gordon-Levitt
It wouldn’t be a Johnson project without an appearance from his secret weapon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The Looper star has appeared in all of the director’s films so far and plays Trey Nelson in Poker Face, a wealthy guy under house arrest after being caught in insider trading crimes.
Poker Face debuts on Sky Max on Friday, 26 May.