Charlie Cale weaves in and out of “Poker Face.” The real mystery is not the murder, but when and how Charlie will amble into the mystery, and how she’ll inevitably solve it. It’s a “howcatchem,” rather than a whodunit. She’s more of a Philip Marlowe than your run-of-the-mill detective. Her rolling stone status gives her a gritty and meandering quality reminiscent of New Hollywood anti-heroes, much like Elliot Gould’s characters in Robert Altman’s “The Long Goodbye” or “California Split.” Still, her sixth sense gives her otherwise passive character the perfect excuse to get involved. Almost everyone is charmed by Charlie, and so is the audience. She often finds herself a step behind, but she’s incredibly perceptive and charismatic. Johnson accredits the character’s je ne sais quoi to Lyonne herself. Here’s what he told NPR:
“Well, that’s Natasha. She’s funny, and she’s also incredibly wise. I mean, and I’m talking about in real life, not the character, my friend Natasha. She’s, you know, she’s lived a lot of life. She’s been through a lot of stuff. She’s got a lot of wisdom under the hood. And yeah, and just — and this is similar to Charlie Cale You know, you underestimate her at your peril.”
And if you ask Lyonne, the actress aimed to create an interiority to all her characters. “It’s so fascinating to watch a human being in process, ruminating, that we trust that to hold an audience’s attention,” Lyonne explained to Time. Rather than allow herself to play a female character that’s “defined by an outer life,” she prefers her characters be led by “their inner beat.” Charlie definitely fits the bill — the character has almost no outer life at all, and she’s as interesting as they come.