Not Your Father’s Perry Mason–And That’s Okay (New HBO Series Review)
I WAS A FAN of Matthew Rhys from having watched The Americans series and then had no choice but to rave about him in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. His typically somber and introspective character is perfect for the tone of this series. The measure, for me, of the strength of a series is how deeply I pine for the next episode and I pined (silently) like a hound for the chase.
This Perry Mason genesis story has all the things I like: it’s a period piece, it’s noir, has good casting with several plot points converging. At a time in our country when Justice and Truth are struggling to take a form we can all recognize, what better way to put them into perspective than to visit Los Angeles in the teeth of the Depression and see the city through the lens of a sensational murder scandal and trial?
Of course, important modern themes involving gender, race, and abuse of force are woven into the plot.
The difference between the pay-TV series and the TV series starring Raymond Burr (which I am old enough to recall) was so stark that I felt compelled to investigate the original stories by Erle Stanley Gardner. I am looking forward to reading a few. It reminds me of the movie, True Grit, where the remake by the Cohen Brothers was more faithful to the original story, the book by Charles Portis (which I did read).
As a side note, I watched an interview with Matthew Rhys, and listened to his lovely native Welsh accent. I am quite impressed that at no time in any of his performances did I suspect he was from the UK.