Perry Mason: Chapter 1
June 21, 2020 8:01 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Perry Mason and Pete Strickland are hired by an attorney to solve a perplexing case: the brutal kidnapping of a one-year-old whose parents were targeted for a $100,000 ransom. (HBO, prequel-reboot)
posted by oh yeah! (14 comments total)
 
Content warning - if you find harm to babies particularly upsetting in fiction, you're going to want to pass on this series.

I watched this out of my 'watch all the pilots' reflex, but, I don't think it's for me, too much the Gritty Reboot TM. While I am curious to know the solution to the whodunnit, I don't know that I'm curious enough to watch the whole season.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:08 PM on June 21


I'm here for the cast and the production seems solid, but the Variety review seemed pretty right on to me. I like this kind of show but I'm not sure why this has to be Perry Mason instead of Joe Detective. Maybe the last two episodes will just be Matthew Rhys cramming for the bar exam?
posted by whir at 9:23 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I like this kind of show but I'm not sure why this has to be Perry Mason instead of Joe Detective.

Well, would we all be talking about it if it wasn't?

I haven't seen this yet but I'm really excited about it. The original is one of my dad's favorite shows and we watch it a lot when I'm home for Christmas, so I'm looking forward to discussing this new one with him. Plus I used to work in legal aid, and it has long bothered me that even with all the crime shows there have ever been, almost none of them have been told from the perspective of the defense attorney - except Perry Mason. Plus plus, I loved The Americans.

If this show accomplishes nothing more than introducing a new generation to the character of Perry Mason and giving Matthew Rhys a paycheck, I'm satisfied.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:57 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Well, would we all be talking about it if it wasn't?

I think this is the problem, though. "Perry Mason" is just mainly being used to brand the new show, so that people's pre-existing fondness for the old show brings them in. But it doesn't require the new show to actually include the things people enjoyed about the old show. Just calling your Gritty Sad Man Protagonist "Perry Mason" doesn't mean he's going to have any of the Perry-Masonness of the original.

But they want people to talk about their new show and their new "stern and broken man using work as a way of beating down demons" (sigh), so, rubber-stamp the old IP on there, save two-thirds of the marketing budget.
posted by theatro at 8:53 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Plus:

Plus I used to work in legal aid, and it has long bothered me that even with all the crime shows there have ever been, almost none of them have been told from the perspective of the defense attorney - except Perry Mason.

The "Perry Mason" character in this new show is a private detective. NPR refers to him as a "seamy, slovenly private eye". Frankly, those are a dime a dozen on TV and in the movies.
posted by theatro at 9:21 AM on June 22 [6 favorites]


I'm here for the cast and the production seems solid, but the Variety review seemed pretty right on to me.

Seconding this. I'm riding this train to the end if only because I would watch Matthew Rhys and Tatiana Maslany read a telephone book but the story has the vibe of something I've seen several times before. That being said, a few scenes of Matthew Rhys picking locks, sneaking photos and doing front-and-follow is exactly what I need in my life right now.

Visually, this was amazing. All the sets and wardrobe looked so lived-in; the wear and tear on the Mason farm, and Perry's grimy clothes in particular. Even without the closeups of the dirt caked round his fingernails I still don't think I'd want to get within a metre of this guy. (Relatedly, the shots of the morgue attendants washing down autopsy tables with bare hands made me a little queasy.)

The scenes of Perry and Walter Taffet rifling the morgue inhabitants' wardrobes for a suitable tie, and Perry wedged behind the single bed after Lupe's energetic finish were nice bits of expectation subversion.

“I think it was pumpkin pie.” (She’s going to get a yeast infection.)
Ugh. So much this.

Do my eyes deceive me, or was Skinny Pete one of the guys who got shot?
posted by myotahapea at 10:00 AM on June 22


No Ham Burger?
posted by Sphinx at 1:37 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I think James Cole splintered in just in time to get double crossed.
posted by snofoam at 8:15 PM on June 23


I would love to see Matthew Rhys not have to pretend to be American for once.

I find that the camera “Perry Mason” uses is a Kodak Vollenda 48.
posted by chrchr at 10:08 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


It drives my crazy that they never show him advancing the film on his camera.
posted by Quonab at 12:19 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


This is... exactly my jam.I did look away during the part where he took pics of the kid, but that was it.

I think this is very well-timed. Love stories about solving crimes but tired of copaganda? Hopelessly attracted to world-weary dudes still trying to be heroes? This is for you.

(So far. It could disappoint later).
posted by emjaybee at 6:10 PM on June 25


It drives my crazy that they never show him advancing the film on his camera.

Actually, I think they did show precisely that in the fat guy's pumpkin pie scene.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:45 PM on June 27


After watching, it feels like maybe this series is meant to be the story of how he decides to become a defense lawyer. Particularly in the scene where he was giving expert testimony and got so frustrated with everyone's incompetence.

I have a weirdly specific soft spot for interwar period detective shit so I was happy enough with this, but my roommates were meh on it. In particular one said "if you're gonna show the close-up of that baby you gotta earn it and they didnt."
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:10 PM on June 30


Finally watched Chapter One and yeah, it's been done before but damn, gorgeous shooting and Matthew Rhys is perfect for the part. I'm in.
posted by Ber at 8:46 PM on July 1


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