Poker Face: Why is Charlie on the run?

POKER FACE -- “Dead Man's Hand” Episode 101 -- Pictured: Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale -- (Photo by: Phillip Caruso/Peacock)
POKER FACE -- “Dead Man's Hand” Episode 101 -- Pictured: Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale -- (Photo by: Phillip Caruso/Peacock) /

Poker Face is Peacock’s new crime drama which stars Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale, a card shark forced to go on the run. In each town, Charlie finds herself getting involved in a new mystery. But just why is Charlie on the run? That answer comes in the show’s fun pilot.

The pilot, “Dead Man’s Hand,” has Charlie working at a casino run by Sterling Frost Jr (Adrian Brody). In a talk, Charlie reveals that years before, she had used her amazing skills as a “living lie detector” to make a fortune winning card games. Sterling’s father figured it out, blackballing Charlie from gambling but also offering her a job. Sterling Jr. decided to use Charlie’s gift to scam Kazmir Caine, a major high-roller.

Charlie agreed but was soon distracted by the murder of her friend Natalie (Dascha Polanco). Using her skills at noticing details, Charlie figured out that Natalie had discovered some crime Caine had committed and made the mistake of bringing it right to Sterling, who promised to take care of it. Instead, he had his head of security, Cliff (Benjamin Bratt), kill Natalie and her boyfriend and make it look like a murder-suicide.

Charlie confronted Sterling, who said it didn’t matter as he owned the cops in the town and wondered if Charlie was recording this. Charlie said she wasn’t….but did record the earlier talk where Sterling talked about ripping off Caine. Which she then sent to Caine so not only had he left but would spread the word to other high-rollers, meaning the Sterling casino was now blacklisted as crooks.

The shocking turn that makes Charlie run in Poker Face

Sterling was shocked as Charlie mocked him on what his father’s reaction would be to his son ruining the casino’s reputation. Even Cliff had to laugh at Charlie’s work. But both stopped laughing when Sterling turned around and threw himself off the balcony.

Charlie barely escaped a gun-toting Cliff before sending the evidence she had to the cops, FBI, and even Oprah Winfrey. She then got a phone call from Sterling Sr. (Ron Pearlman), who said no matter what it took, he would hunt Charlie down and make her pay for his son’s death.

Thus, the series has Charlie trying to keep under Sterling Sr.’s radar. Episode 2 had her getting money from an ATM, and only four hours after Cliff tracked her down. A clerk Charlie helped told Cliff that Charlie was headed to L.A. to buy her some time.

However, Episode 4 had Cliff tracking Charlie down after she was caught on video clashing with some heavy metal fans. She managed to escape again, but Charlie knows she can only stay a step ahead of Cliff, even as she gets involved in local mysteries. Thus, the chase of Charlie is the focus of Poker Face and adds to the fun thrills of the show.

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Poker Face streams new episodes Thursdays on Peacock.