The second season of HBO’s “Perry Mason” follows Perry Mason as he accepts a fresh case in 1930s Los Angeles. One year after the events of the first season, Mason becomes involved in a murder investigation-related mystery including a kidnapping. Along the process, he battles his own demons as well as dishonest politicians and strong businessmen. As Mason’s colleagues, particularly Della Street and Paul Drake, deal with their own difficulties and tensions, the season also digs more deeply into their private lives.
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Continuing from Season 1, where Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) defended the Dodson family for the kidnapping and murder of their child. Perry along with her associate, Della Street (Juliet Rylance) and private investigator Paul Drake (Chris Chalk) are now taking up petty cases of financial fraud.
Soon, Perry and Della meet the Gallardo family, whose sons – Rafael (Fabrizio Guido) and Mateo (Peter Mendoza) are arrested as a suspect in the murder of Brooks McCutcheon (Tommy Dewey).
Now as Perry Mason takes the case to prove the Mexican brother innocent. Mason, along with his colleagues needs to deal with the insufficiency of money, as the Gallardo family is too poor to pay for the lawyer and prosecution. Along with that, Mason will also have to deal with this complicated case, as there are too many people and their motives are also involved. Now we follow on to the series and see how Perry and his colleagues solve the case and unclear the mystery as it unfolds in every episode.
The writers and director of Perry Mason continue their successful stint this season as well. The writers bring in a new and interesting story while keeping the characters connected to their pasts. Executing the atmosphere beautifully, where we see the retro United States of America but also certain social aspects as well.
Overall, the series remain wonderful. This season carries on the intensity that they created in the first season. Although I feel that the first season was much more intense, dark, and unnerving compared to this season, as the first season dealt with the death of an infant.
As this season deals with the death of a fairly young adult Brooks McCutcheon, who is a spoilt brat of a rich family, lead by Lydell McCutcheon (Paul Raci). As Lydell is tied up in various different business opportunities, he also has a competition with Camilla Nygaard (Hope Davis). Both the entrepreneurs seek business opportunities with the Japanese business men and seek to build a fortune.
Now as we progress further in the story, showrunner develop the mystery beautifully. Although the mystery remains confusing, but the writers keep on solving it for the viewers gradually. The cinematography and color grading remains really good, as it was in the first season. And we will discuss more about the things I liked and disliked further in the section below.
5 things I liked about Perry Mason Season 2:
This season was not all bad. There were many things I liked about the season 2. Well, without any further delay, let’s get onto the things I liked.
- The surroundings and environment that the showrunners, writers, directors, and even the channel – HBO has built in this entire series is incredible. It is not easy to get century old cars and that too are running at good speed. The entire atmosphere and the surroundings, considering the streets, dresses, behaviour of people has been executed to perfection.
- The acting of each and every character remains on point with the storyline and the importance their character plays for the overall story. Whether the character comes in as a victim, witness, suspect, love interest, or foe for the lawyer, the casting is always according to the requirements in Perry Mason.
- At the end of this season, we see Perry getting arrested for forgering the murder weapon. It is good to see that law remains same for everyone even in the story. We see that Perry is not a god, even he did something wrong and had to pay the price of it even though he earns his livelihood from practicing the law.
- The character development of Della Street, Perry Mason, and the Mexican brothers – Rafael and Mateo was wonderful to watch. Della is working with an emotionally unavailable guy to make it big in her life and reach some success. Perry Mason is struggling with the death of Emily Dodson (Gayle Rankin) from his previous case. And the Mexican brothers struggle to keep their family afloat from poverty and suffer from the racism of being Mexican. Writers show how these characters fight everyday to try to make their lives better bit-by-bit.
- The way we see how a case is manipulated by the externals forces of Camilla Nygaard and various other manipulations she pulls was quite realistic. This makes the audience think about how this might even happens in our society as well. Not everyone might get proper justice, and many people are even prisoned for fake allegations.
5 things I disliked about Perry Mason Season 2:
And now we come to the part where we discuss about the things that I disliked about this season of Perry Mason.
- The mystery in this season was not good enough compared to the previous season. Even though Camilla played a huge role in the case from backend and pulling strings. We hardly get any screentime of her and yet the ending of the trial is decided by revealations of the crimes she got committed through her butler, Melville Phipps (Wallace Langham).
- The ending of the season could have been better. At the end we see Perry in the prison, serving time for forgering the murder weapon for 4 months. Della Street moves in with Anita Pierre (Jen Tullock). Rafael is free of his charges but Mateo has confessed to his crime and will be serving 30 years in prison. Meanwhile, Paul Drake will be working for a rich man to do the work he asks. But somewhere or other, we don’t get the content we received in Season 1. Yes, the writers portray their as a life which is not fair and justifying, but still there is no moment of satisfaction after watching the entire season on a particular trial.
- The aspects of racism and homophobia were not shown realistically as it was in that era in the United States of America. I guess the entire world knows how strong the sentiments were of Americans in the years the series is situated in. Yet, the writers just take a lighter note on the social issues and constructs of that era and casually deny what the reality was and how people were treated if they did not belong to certain brackets what the American society accepted.
- A few things were not properly explained by the show writers. Things I am still confused about are- why Paul Drake was following the car in the last couple of episodes this season, why did Paul’s wife, Clara Drake (Diarra Kilpatrick) go into that house where we saw a stranger overdosed getting overdosed on drugs and passing out, and few more aspects like these. It could have been my negligence that I don’t remember the causes as well. But these scenes hardly had any impact on the main storyline.
- The character buildup and backstory of characters like Anita, brother of Clara Drake, the buildup and story of Ginny Aimes (Katherine Waterston), screentime and backstory of Camilla Nygaard, were disappointing. The writers should have included these characters more into their story as they had certain kind of impact to play in the lives of our main protagonists.