Pookie Chang is originally from Chicago, Illinois but has lived in San Francisco for at least the last decade. As an SFPD Homicide Detective, Pookie works a shift from noon to midnight. His shift overlaps his partner’s by seven hours as Bryan Clauser works from 5pm to 2am. During the overlap, Pookie and Bryan work together; otherwise, they work solo. They have been partners for 6 years.
In the rough draft podcast version of the novel, the author frequently refers to this character with the nickname of “Pookie” Chang. However, in episode 12, the character's true first name, Lawrence, was revealed by the SFPD Archivist, Maggie O'Donnell. Pookie's partner, Bryan Clauser, affectionately refers to him with the nickname of "Pooks". Other characters in the novel refer to this character with the nickname of "Pookie" almost exclusively.
Pookie is 36 years old and described as being of half Korean and half Chinese descent. In episode 9, Bryan refers to Pookie as being pudgy.
Pookie is an amiable person with a winning personality. He is well liked among his colleagues and often got to a very personal level with them as evidenced by his relationship with John "The Black Mr. Burns" Smith. 10 years earlier, when John had joined the force, Pookie was hassling him and gave him the affectionate nickname of "The Black Mr. Burns". Pookie also enjoyed anyone “gave him shit” as seen with the way he handled murder witness Tiffany Hyne.
Pookie shows tenacity in his work and often follows hunches or resorts to unusual methods in order to research cases. This is displayed in his use of Mr. Biz-Nass, a local fortune teller who Pookie used several times for assistance with his police work. He regarded Mr. Biz-Nass as an expert in the activities and history of the San Francisco occult.
Pookie is also a fierce friend to his partner, Bryan. He respected and trusted Bryan’s instincts knowing that once his mind was made up he was certain. However, there was a deeper reason for Pookie’s trust in Bryan. Years earlier, Bryan saved Pookie’s life when he was being held hostage. This trust is what causes Pookie to try to figure out the connection between Bryan’s dreams and the murders instead of turning Bryan in as the main suspect.
Pookie is also exhibits a habit of using the same case folders until they disintegrated as he thought this was earth smart.
On a more personal note, Pookie loved eating at the Victoria Pastry Company in San Francisco and frequented the pastry shop with his partner, Bryan. For all of his redeeming qualities, Pookie is described by Bryan as the biggest homophobe in the department to which Pookie immediately and emphatically confirms. Also when stressed out, Pookie is described as also driving “like a one eyed retard on Red Bull.”
Pookie had the uncanny ability to remember names and events. Not only did he remember many of the names of the people who worked in the police department, he also remembered their family member’s names as well as obscure facts about their lives. This skill constantly amazed his partner and made Pookie very popular in the department. Listed below are a few examples of Pookie’s skill:
- Asked Officer Dorrigo about Skipper’s leg (the officer’s dog)
- Reminded Sammy about his kid’s birthday
- Asked Officer Stewart Hood about how his mother placed in a recent cook-off contest and asked for more of her hazelnut cookies
In addition, it is well known among his colleagues that Pookie is the originator of the "Chang-Bang", a vaguely described sexual position involving a bar stool and hula-hoop.
In Scott Sigler's The Rookie there is mention of a football player named "Pookie" Chang (perhaps a distant relative).