From The Sopranos to Boardwalk Empire, when it comes to noir HBO knows how to raise the stakes. Case in point: rebooting Perry Mason with a 21st century lens, but staging the iconic character against the Great Depression in Los Angeles. It’s a complete dusting off and polishing up of the Erle Stanley Gardner-created IP.
In the series created by Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones, we see Mason’s rise — as sublimely portrayed by The Americans‘ Matthew Rhys — from gumshoe P.I. to burgeoning attorney. He squares off with corrupt city officials and a demagogue Christian Evangelist, Sister Alice McKeegan (played by Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany), as he tries to learn who brutally snatched and murdered Charlie Dodson.
‘Perry Mason’ Star Matthew Rhys Talks Rotary Phones, Trilby Hats And Season 2
In “Chapter 3,” which Fitzgerald and Jones co-wrote, wily district attorney Maynard Barnes (Stephen Root) goes public with a shocking new development on the case in order to get an advantage over Mason’s attorney-mentor E.B. (John Litthgow). Mason and his right-hand man Strickland (Shea Whigham) get unauthorized access to physical evidence with help from Virgil (Jefferson Mays), Mason’s connect at the city morgue. Later, Mason attempts to extract information from a withholding Drake (Chris Chalk), who’s weary of Holcomb (Eric Lange) and Ennis’ (Andrew Howard) watchful eyes. Della (Juliet Rylance) notices a change in E.B., who seems uncharacteristically out of sorts.
The episode, directed by two-time Emmy winner, Boardwalk Empire EP and Sopranos scribe Timothy Van Patten, is the latest in Deadline’s It Starts On the Page series, which highlights the scripts that serve as the creative backbones of the now-underway TV awards season. These scripts are being submitted for Emmy Awards consideration this year and have been selected using criteria that includes critical acclaim, selecting from a wide range of networks and platforms, and a mix of established and lesser-known shows.
Perry Mason, which was renewed for a season season, is EP’d by Amanda Burrell, Robert Downey, Jr. Susan Downey, Fitzgerald, Van Patten, Jones, Rhys and Josepsh Horacek.
Here’s the script: