The A to Z of Perry Mason

24 June 2020
Everything you need to know about Perry Mason.
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There’s a brand new show coming soon to M-Net channel 101, called Perry Mason. It’s a miniseries laced with crime, drama, and mystery and we’ve got the lowdown – from A to Z – right here.

Adapted from the Books
Erle Stanley Gardner created the character of Perry Mason. His first appearance was in the 1933 novel, The Case of the Velvet Claws. Since then the character has appeared in more than 80 novels and short stories.

Brought to you by HBO
HBO gave us The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Westworld, Insecure, True Detective, Big Little Lies, and so many more brilliant shows. In 2020, one of their latest releases is a miniseries adaptation of Perry Mason. Love all things HBO? M-Net Binge channel 114 (the home of HBO!) is still open.

Chris Chalk
Fans of Homeland, The NewsroomGotham, and When They See Us will recognise this talented actor. In Perry Mason, he plays Paul Drake. In the books, the character is a private detective. In the miniseries, he’s a beat cop.

In this adaptation, Perry Mason is a private investigator - not a lawyer, like he is in the books. Or perhaps this adaptation has him be both - we'll have to wait and see. There are also two other detectives - Ennis and Holcomb - and we’d bet a dragon’s egg they won’t be as competent as Mason.

Eight episodes
There are eight episodes of intrigue and suspense to look forward to in the new miniseries.

Indiana Jones isn’t the only man who can pull off looking good in a fedora. The miniseries adds roguish charm to the hard-boiled Perry Mason with this good-looking headpiece. But it’s more than just the hat – all the costumes promise to look gorgeous and period-appropriate.

Great Depression
Speaking of the period, the series is set in the 1930s, in the midst of the Great Depression. Given what Covid-19 has done to the global economy, audiences may just find it relatable.

But hold up! Despite the grim era, the series is set in Los Angeles and Hollywood delivers a lot of glitz and glam as it remains seemingly impervious to the rest of the nation’s hardship.

In the Courtroom
If you love courtroom drama, there promises to be plenty of that courtesy of Elias Birchard “E.B.” Jonathan.

John Lithgow
E.B. Jonathan is an attorney and he’s played by the great John Lithgow, whom we know and love as Dick Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun, as well as movies like The World According to Garp, Footloose, and Shrek.

If you were wondering what the story, and more specifically the mystery, revolves around, then it’s this. A kidnapping – and that of a child no less!

Los Angeles
As we mentioned above, the show is set in LA and it looks like the production team has gone to incredible lengths to build the city of the 1930s. More on that further down!

Matthew Rhys
Starring as the title character is Emmy-winning actor Matthew Rhys. M-Net fans will recognise him from his role as Philip Jennings in The Americans, which came to an end after six successful seasons.

With its hardboiled antihero, a dark crime at its core, and what looks to be a very unique femme fatale, Perry Mason is set to satisfy fans of all things noir.

Olympic Games
We’re not sure if these factor into the story or even the background at all. But given that the 1932 Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles, there might be a mention or two.

Preview Episode 1
Perry Mason starts on Tuesday 28 July at 22:00 on M-Net channel 101. If you can’t wait until then, DStv Catch Up is giving you the chance to watch the first episode between 22 June and 5 July. Click here to watch. 

Quite Different
Even though there are detectives and dramas and crimes and cops, this is not quite the same Perry Mason from the books. It’s also quite different from last century’s TV series, which ran from 1955 to 1967.

Robert Downey Jr.
The award-winning actor and superhero was slated to play the character of Perry Mason. Having played a detective and lawyer several times during the course of his career made him a shoo-in for the part. However, he had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts but stayed on board as an executive producer.

Will there be an original score? Songs from the 1930s? Will they somehow work in the theme tune from the previous series? We don’t know yet, but we can’t wait to hear. Just listening to the music in the trailer already has us excited. Watch it below.

Tatiana Maslany
The Orphan Black actress stars as Sister Alice McKeegan. A “celebrity preacher”, as Maslany calls her, we expect interesting things from this character who seems to be inspired by Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, a real-life evangelist who was massively influential in 1930s Los Angeles.

Under the Fedora
We already covered the fedora, along with our excitement about the costumes and the music. But what about the production design? Perry Mason is set almost 100 years in the past, which means recreating a whole different Los Angeles. Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew as they discuss the sets, the costumes, recreating LA, and making a whole new Perry Mason.

Veronica Falcón
The Mexican actress plays the role of Lupe. She is one of many talented supporting cast members. Also keep your eyes peeled for Six Feet Under’s Lili Taylor and Barry’s Stephen Root. It also features Robert Patrick who has an impressive list of movies and series under his belt, and whom many will recognise as the nasty T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

World War
Considering the time period and the battlefield snippets (watch below), it looks like Perry Mason saw action in World War I. And with the world struggling through the Great Depression, we know that World War II is around the corner.

X Marks the Spot
Mark your calendars. Perry Mason starts Tuesday 28 July at 22:00 on M-Net channel 101. Remember: you can preview the first episode before then, on DStv Catch Up.

You Can’t Miss it
Even if you miss it, DStv Catch Up will have you covered!

Despite the Great Depression, 1930s Los Angeles was marked by change and new prospects due to the burgeoning film and aviation industries, the oil boom, the Summer Olympics, and the zealous revival of evangelical Christianity. But all this change was just a veneer as shiny as Hollywood’s celebrity smiles, hiding a darker underbelly of corruption and injustice. With its noirish elements and conflicted central character, we can only imagine that the new Perry Mason seeks to scratch at this shiny surface to reveal the beast beneath.

Perry Mason starts on Tuesday 28 July at 22:00 on M-Net channel 101.
Preview the first episode on DStv Catch Up.