An expressionless face Rian Johnson’s drama series, starring Natasha Lyonne as a human bull*t detector, has not been picked up as a limited series, and Knives out the filmmaker said there are “endless opportunities” to continue the success.
Lyon stars as Charlie, an effortlessly cool, cheap-beer-drinking woman with a preternatural knack for solving crimes. After a casino boss seeks him out to use his abilities for nefarious purposes, Charlie goes on the run and gets involved in more crimes.
Johnson says it’s “how to catch ’em” rather than debauchery, with crime front and center in each episode.
But while there is one storyline that spins out in the ten-episode season, one involving Benjamin Bratt’s security expert, it’s ostensibly a procedural.
Lyons said he loves characters like Peter Falk’s ColumbusEliot Gould’s Philip Marlowe Long goodbye and Andy Sipowicz of Dennis Franz NYPD Blue.
Johnson added that he was inspired by series such as Columbo, Magnum PI, Rockford Files and: quantum leap, Episodic stories of the week “featuring a charismatic character”.
Speaking at NBCUniversal’s TCA press tour, Lyons said that Charlie is “floating on top of a situation trying to solve a puzzle, but he’s also the person with his nose to the stone and figuring out the noises on the street.”
Johnson has previously directed television episodes including Terriers and: Breaking Badbut that this was “very much my first rodeo” in terms of creating a series, and he was “hot,” particularly enjoying the pace of the story.
If successful, he would like to see it continue. “It was definitely not conceived as a limited series, it was conceived as something that had an architecture to continue. We’ll roll this out, see if people like it, step by step. There are endless stories to tell. As people watch more and realize how different each episode is… it’s a stem of possibilities for different worlds that we can delve into each episode and brand new mysteries in each one. There are endless possibilities for me.”
Lyons was more circumspect, but added that her character is an “element” and “we love working together. “I think we’re just having fun getting the show out. We’re enjoying the ride,” he added.
The series, which airs its first four episodes on Peacock on January 26, has a killer line-up of guest stars, including Adrien Brody, Angel Dessai, Audrey Corsa, Benjamin Bratt, Brandon Michael Hall, Charles Melton, Chelsea Frey, Cherry Jones , Chloe. Sevigny, Clea Duvall, Colton Ryan, Daniel McDonald, Dasha Polanco, David Castaneda, Ellen Barkin, Hong Chow, Jasmine Aiana Garvin, Jamela Jamil, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Judith Light, Leslie Silva, Luis Guzman, Megan Surinham, Nicholas Cirillo, Nick Nolte, Reed Birney, Rhea Perlman, Ron Perlman, Rowan Blanchard, S. Epatha Merkerson, Shane Paul McGee, Simon Helberg, Stephanie Hsu, Tim Blake Nelson and Tim Meadows.
Johnson and Lyons executive produce Poker Face with Ram Bergman, Nora Zuckerman, Lilla Zuckerman, Nena Rodriguez and Ian B. Along with McDonald’s. The Zuckermans serve as showrunners, and Maya Rudolph and Danielle Renfrew Behrens serve as executive producers. The series comes from T-Street and MRC Television.