Perry Mason (miniseries)
|Based on||Perry Mason|
by Erle Stanley Gardner
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||2 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||56–64 minutes|
|Original release||June 21, 2020 –|
Perry Mason is an American period drama television miniseries based on the character of the same name created by Erle Stanley Gardner which premiered on June 21, 2020 on HBO. The series was developed and written by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald and stars Matthew Rhys in the title role.
In 1932, the Great Depression grips the United States but Los Angeles is prospering thanks to an oil boom, the film industry, the summer's Olympic Games, and a massive evangelical Christian revival. Down-and-out private investigator Perry Mason is retained for a sensational child kidnapping trial and his investigation portends major consequences for Mason, his client, and the city itself.
Cast and characters
- Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason, a private investigator
- Juliet Rylance as Della Street, the loyal and driven legal secretary of E.B. Jonathan
- Chris Chalk as Paul Drake, a beat cop
- Shea Whigham as Pete Strickland, Mason's work partner
- Tatiana Maslany as Sister Alice McKeegan, a preacher and leader of the Radiant Assembly of God
- John Lithgow as Elias Birchard "E.B." Jonathan, a struggling attorney and regular employer of Perry Mason
- Nate Corddry as Matthew Dodson, a grocery store owner whose 1-year-old son, Charlie, is kidnapped
- Veronica Falcón as Lupe Gibbs, a pilot who is in a sexual relationship with Mason
- Jefferson Mays as Virgil Sheets, an attendant at the city morgue and a friend of Mason's
- Madeline Zima as Velma Fuller, a young up-and-coming actress
- Gayle Rankin as Emily Dodson, the mother of Charlie Dodson, a 1-year-old child who is mysteriously kidnapped
- Lili Taylor as Birdy McKeegan, Alice's mother and advisor
- Andrew Howard as Detective Ennis, a LAPD detective
- Eric Lange as Detective Holcomb, a LAPD detective
- Robert Patrick as Herman Baggerly, a powerful man who hires E.B. and Mason to investigate the kidnapping
- Stephen Root as Maynard Barnes, the district attorney for Los Angeles
- Justin Kirk
|No.||Title ||Directed by||Written by ||Original air date ||U.S. viewers|
|1||"Chapter 1"||Tim Van Patten||Teleplay by : Rolin Jones & Ron Fitzgerald||June 21, 2020||0.884|
|In late 1931 Los Angeles, private investigator Perry Mason is assigned by his friend and mentor, E.B. Jonathan, and at the behest of mogul Herman Baggerly, to the case of Charlie Dodson, a baby boy who was kidnapped and had his eyes stitched open before his death under mysterious circumstances. Mason quickly becomes suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the case, especially the $100,000 ransom. Mason himself struggles with drinking, separation from his estranged wife and son, and his attempted blackmail of Hollywood executives which goes poorly. Meanwhile, as Mason gains intel, corrupt detective Ennis visits Charlie's kidnappers and kills all three of them.|
|2||"Chapter 2"||Tim Van Patten||Rolin Jones & Ron Fitzgerald||June 28, 2020||0.799|
|Detectives Holcomb and Ennis, as well as Los Angeles district attorney Maynard Barnes, accost Charlie's father Matthew with evidence planted by Ennis and the revelation that Baggerly is Matthew's father; Matthew is placed under arrest. Mason and Baggerly begin to distrust each other; Mason due to Baggerly's non-divulging of his fatherhood, and Baggerly due to Mason's "blue ticket" discharge from the military. Adept police officer Paul Drake, who found the bodies of two of the kidnappers, is questioned by Holcomb and Ennis, who treat him with bigoted condescension. Mason tracks a series of mysterious phone calls made by Charlie's mother Emily to a man named George, finding him dead of apparent suicide and letters proving an affair with Emily. At Charlie's funeral, following an emotional and largely improvised sermon by evangelical preacher Sister Alice, Emily is publicly arrested as a result of Mason's findings.|
|3||"Chapter 3"||Tim Van Patten||Rolin Jones & Ron Fitzgerald||July 5, 2020||TBD|
|4||"Chapter 4"||Deniz Gamze Ergüven||Steven Hanna & Sarah Kelly Kaplan||July 12, 2020||TBD|
|5||"Chapter 5"||TBA||Eleanor Burgess||July 19, 2020||TBD|
|6||"Chapter 6"||TBA||Kevin Hynes||July 26, 2020||TBD|
|7||"Chapter 7"||TBA||Howard Korder||August 2, 2020||TBD|
|8||"Chapter 8"||TBA||Rolin Jones & Ron Fitzgerald & Kevin Hynes||August 9, 2020||TBD|
On August 15, 2016, it was reported that HBO was developing a drama series based on the Perry Mason stories written by Erle Stanley Gardner. The production was expected to be written by Nic Pizzolatto who was also set to executive produce alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Joe Horacek. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of Team Downey. On August 25, 2017, it was announced that Pizzolatto had dropped out of the production in order to focus on the third season of True Detective and that he was being replaced as the project's writer by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald.
On January 14, 2019, it was announced that HBO had given the production a series order. It was further announced that Jones, Fitzgerald, Susan Downey, and Amanda Burrell would serve as additional executive producers, that Matthew Rhys would serve as a producer, and that the production was in the process of hiring a director. Jones and Fitzgerald serve as showrunners for the series as well. In March, Tim Van Patten was announced as director and executive producer.
Alongside the initial development announcement, it was confirmed that Robert Downey Jr. would star as the titular Perry Mason. On July 25, 2018, it was reported that Downey had dropped out of the role due to his feature film schedule and that a search for his replacement was ongoing. On January 14, 2019, it was announced that Matthew Rhys had been cast to replace Downey. Tatiana Maslany joined in April. John Lithgow was added to the cast in May. In June, Chris Chalk and Shea Whigham were cast in lead roles, with Nate Corddry, Veronica Falcon, Jefferson Mays, Gayle Rankin and Lili Taylor set in recurring roles. Juliet Rylance, Andrew Howard, Eric Lange, Robert Patrick and Stephen Root joined in July. Justin Kirk would be added in October.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 76% based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 7.28/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Brimming with top notch performances and dripping in style, Perry Mason's compelling mystery more than makes up for its somewhat messy story." On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Ben Travers of IndieWire said the series is "built with confidence, patience, and a voice calibrated for today's audiences" and gave it a "B+", writing: "Perry Mason stands as an astounding visual feat for its specific framings as well as its overall world-building. There are striking images of a pitch-black profile and lavish outdoor shots of real Los Angeles locations. In some shows, intimate conversations between two people can clash with the grander scenes... Mason has the intuition (and the budget) to not just balance visual opulence with smaller, private moments, but to blend them."
|1||"Chapter 1"||June 21, 2020||0.1||0.884||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|2||"Chapter 2"||June 28, 2020||0.1||0.799||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
- 2019 Television Report (PDF) (Report). FilmL.A. p. Page 20. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
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- Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (March 22, 2019). "HBO's 'Perry Mason' Limited Series Gets Green Light With Tim Van Patten Directing". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 25, 2018). "HBO's Perry Mason Reboot Looking For New Actor For the Lead, Robert Downey Jr. Remains Executive Producer". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
- Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (April 12, 2019). "Tatiana Maslany To Star In HBO's 'Perry Mason' Limited Series From Team Downey". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
- Petski, Denise (May 7, 2019). "John Lithgow To Star In HBO's 'Perry Mason' Limited Series From Team Downey". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
- Petski, Denise (June 28, 2019). "'Perry Mason': Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Nate Corddry Among Seven Cast In HBO Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
- Petski, Denise (July 23, 2019). "'Perry Mason': Juliet Rylance, Andrew Howard, Eric Lange, Robert Patrick & Stephen Root Join HBO Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
- Petski, Denise (October 14, 2019). "Justin Kirk To Recur In HBO's 'Perry Mason' Limited Series From Team Downey". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
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- "Perry Mason (2020): Season 1 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- Travers, Ben (June 18, 2020). "'Perry Mason' Review: HBO's Swank Noir Is One of the Most Beautiful Series Ever Made". IndieWire. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- This amount represents the total qualified expenditures for the California Film & Television Tax Credit and excludes other non-qualifying costs