I just want to give an enthusiastic thumbs up to Perry Mason’s first season on HBO. We watched the finale tonight and it was excellent.
I don’t want to give away even a shred of this story, but suffice it to say that the time period (the 1930s) is well portrayed with fantastic set design and the story is complicated enough to sustain a whole season’s worth of intrigue. Matthew Rhys (from The Americans) is a picture-perfect Perry Mason though different than Raymond Burr in pretty much every way. Della Street’s character is played superbly by Juliet Rylance and Paul Drake is played by Chris Chalk, a choice I found unexpected and enjoyable.
Veronica Falcon is another unexpected presence in the series as Perry’s girlfriend/truthteller and the interplay between Rhys and Falcon makes for some of the most amusing/deeply gratifying moments in the drama.
John Lithgow and Tatiana Maslany also have big roles in this series. They are both forces of nature on the small screen.
This is not Perry Mason like you ever saw him in the 1950s. This is how Perry Mason becomes who he becomes and how he gathered together his winning team. This Perry starts out as a down-on-his-luck PI whose life has hit the skids. This is not the sleek Perry in his posh office with Delia and Paul and lots of clients.
I would highly recommend this series to anyone who wants a fresh look at these characters from a completely different point-of-view. Also, if you like period dramas and have a soft spot for Los Angeles, then you’ll get a kick out of how the city is portrayed in the 1930s.
Here’s to HBO’s Perry Mason! I can’t wait for Season 2.