In the season finale of ‘Perry Mason,’ justice prevails in the City of Angels, and the stage is immediately set for season 2 with Femme Fatale.
This article contains information from tonight’s season 1 finale episode of the HBO series Perry Mason.
As engrossing and enthralling as this HBO noir series about the Great Depression was, with sublime acting all around — especially Matthew Rhys‘ performance as the private investigator-turned-attorney who overcompensates for his demons and mediocrity with his “eureka!
” discoveries — the Perry Mason case involving the murder of baby Charlie Dodson was quite wordy.
Certainly, we were not completely convinced that Emily Dodson (Gayle Rankin) was innocent.
Through various Byzantine rabbit holes explored by Mason, his girlfriend Friday Della Street (Juliet Rylance), and his sidekick investigator Pete Strickland (Shea Whigham), our protagonist discovered that the Radiant Assembly of God was responsible for Charlie’s kidnapping, with Detective Ennis (Andrew Howard) orchestrating all the murders, including the elimination of the church’s Elder Seidel (Taylor Nichols).
The church owed $100,000, making the song an ideal ransom for baby Charlie. His father, Matthew Dodson (Nate Corddry), is the son of Herman Baggerly (Robert Patrick), a wealthy donor to the Radiant Assembly.
Jodie Foster will star in the fourth season of the HBO anthology series True Detective, her first major adult television role.
In the late ’50s and early ’60s, Perry Mason was known for winning cases by eliciting confessions from witnesses on the stand. However, the premiere of tonight’s episode reveals that this will not be the case in the HBO reboot.
Mason envisions bringing down Ennis and linking him to every member of the Radiant Assembly of God. We believe it’s a real court scene, but it’s actually Mason being coached by Della and Hamilton Burger (Justin Kirk, Mason’s adversary in the original series).
Burger interrupts Mason’s passionate daydream by admonishing sternly, “No one ever confesses on the stand.”
According to Della, the best course of action is for Emily to take the stand and hopefully sway the jury. Emily tells them the story of how George Gannon rescued her from a terrible marriage.
However, George deceived her by calling Emily the night Charlie was abducted. She would never kill her child. “I’ve only ever loved one person in my life, and it wasn’t Matthew or George; it was my son. On the witness stand, she tells Mason and the jury, “He was my heart.”
Mason rests his case, telling the jury that when he began investigating Charlie’s death, he too desired vengeance.
Mason tells the jury, “If I thought for one second that Emily Dodson was guilty, I would walk her to the gallows myself.” A mistrial ensues, but, as we later discover, Strickland’s bribery of a juror proves beneficial.
Perry Mason is co-created by Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones, the former of which is a Westworld co-EP and the latter of which is a Boardwalk Empire co-EP, with Tim Van Patten serving as Mason EP and director of five episodes.
However, tonight’s season finale serves up a hefty portion of red meat and dessert, as we witness the demise of Ennis (Andrew Howard). Mason is able to get a good swipe in on Ennis outside the courthouse, but ultimately it is Ennis’ partner Detective Holcomb (Eric Lange) who has him drowned in a fountain at a California mission.
Meanwhile, Emily joins the remaining members of the Radiant Assembly of God, now led by the mother of Sister Alice McKeegan (Tatiana Maslany), and Birdy (Lili Taylor). Emily drinks their juice, participating in their hoax that they actually resurrected Charlie from the dead, despite the fact that she knows it is not hers.
And in tying everything up neatly, tonight’s season finale revealed what happened to Sister Alice after she fled the botched attempt to raise Charlie from the dead (his coffin was empty during its reopening).
Mason locates Sister Alice in a coastal mission town where she is working as a waitress, thanks to the findings of Paul Drake (Chris Chalk), who has left the police force and is now employed by Perry.
As suffocating as the Charlie Dodson case was at times during the previous season, the Sister Alice storyline and how a church of purported healers shook the city gave Perry Mason a greater sense of drama.
The entire plot of Sister Alice was inspired by Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, a Canadian Pentecostal evangelist from the early 20th century who pioneered the use of radio in religious services and employed theatrical techniques in her weekly sermons at the Angelus Temple.
Even Sister Aimee vanished, claiming she was kidnapped. Sister Aimee arrived just as the Temple was preparing a memorial service for her, and her return to Los Angeles drew 30,000 to 50,000 people, more than President Woodrow Wilson’s visit to the city in 1919.
Mason informs Sister Alice that he knows what transpired: that the church was involved in the kidnapping of Charlie Dodson and that Ennis assembled a crew. Mason continues to wonder how the infant’s body was exhumed from his grave.
“A baby was sacrificed to prop up your church…and you still believe?
” asks Mason of Sister Alice. She continues to believe in the power of God, whereas Mason lost all faith during the Great War.
“Did you really believe you could resurrect Charlie?
” he inquires.
“I did, didn’t I?
” responds Sister Alice as she walks away.
While some critics have complained that the HBO series doesn’t pay enough homage to the original Raymond Burr show, it does capitalize where it can on some iconic characters and cases in the Erle Stanley Gardner-created IP.
Consequently, the series creators don’t leave us guessing where season 2 will go (HBO just renewed the show due to phenomenal ratings). Tonight, a new client, Eva Griffin, entered Mason’s office. She is a woman who claims to be Mrs. Eva Griffin, according to Della. She appears fake to me. I researched every Griffin in the city directory. There are many Griffins, but none of Eva.”
Eva Belter (aka Griffin) is photographed leaving an illegal gambling club with a politician in Gardner’s first Mason mystery, The Case of the Velvet Claws. Fearing she will be blackmailed, she seeks Mason’s assistance, but she appears dishonest and attempts to implicate him. Her murdered husband is the extortionist. Della describes her in the book as “all velvet and claws.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Did the Perry Mason Television Show Have the Tenth Season?
In November of 1965, CBS made the announcement that the show Perry Mason would not be renewed for a tenth season, but that all thirty episodes that had been commissioned for the ninth season would be filmed (black and white filming continued until March 1966).
Where Can I Find All Nine Seasons of the Television Show Perry Mason?
There is at least one episode of the Perry Mason television series starring Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale that can be viewed online for free on Paramount+, as well as episodes that can be viewed online for free with a subscription to Philo, fuboTV, and two other services. A total of 271 episodes spanning 9 seasons comprise this crime and drama series.
How Many Episodes Are There in the Ninth Season of the Perry Mason Television Show?
In the ninth season of the Perry Mason television show, there are 30 episodes.
Despite the excellent performances and sumptuous period photography, Season One is more focused on what it isn’t than on what it is. There’s a recent trend in TV — one that began with Netflix but has since spread to other streaming services and, eventually, cable networks like HBO — to treat your entire first season as a premise pilot, explaining in detail how these characters come together to do whatever it is they do.
This ignores the fact that the vast majority of premise pilots are clumsy and more trouble than they’re worth, and that the best approach is to get as quickly as possible to tell stories with that premise. Extending the process — and using a court case that could have been resolved in a couple of episodes, if at all — only adds to the frustration.
That brief glimpse of Mason, Street, and Drake as colleagues and relative equals was more exciting than the majority of the season’s tortuous backstory combined. A show in which Matthew Rhys gets to be a full-time lawyer and banters with Rylance and Chalk sounds like a lot of fun to watch — even if the series eventually agrees with Ham Burger about courtroom confessions.