WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. The time has come for Perry Mason to finally enter the courtroom and the results aren’t what he expects. As a recently appointed lawyer (as we saw last week), the courtroom becomes much more brutal than Mason expects. While that premise comes off as slack and dull, this episode packs a punch in terms of allowing Masons character to evolve. Not only that, but the crooked police officers may have a few more secrets in store instead of just being on the take. This episode shows me exactly what this season of television has been missing, which is something I didn’t expect. In one episode a balance is struck between the Perry Mason we know and the one we don’t.
This means that the character of Mason is facing a moral dilemma we find fascination. He faces a question: Is being a P.I and a courtroom one in the same? From his first time representing Emily Dodson in the courtroom, to his entire shaky voice fish out of water demeanor (lead to an eventual angry outburst later), shows the internal struggle he’s facing in this new role. In large part, what makes this idea so fascinating is the performance by Matthew Rhys. While I have always enjoyed his work, I feel as if this draws the character and redefines what we expect him to be. With that being said the real highlight comes from a lot of the twists and turns of the supporting players.
The two main side stories in these episodes are arguably some of the most entertaining sections of TV I have seen in recent memory. The first being Strickland finally meeting an adversary as the case progresses. Mainly, that is due to how much I am a fan of Shea Whigham as an actor. His timing and general charm is brilliant and he is making this show an overwhelming exciting experience. This subplot follows more of the comedic method, but the entirety of the whole episode comes in another big twist.
I want to highlight the performances of actors Eric Lange and Andrew Howard as crooked police officers. A particular scene involving Howard’s Detective Ennis has a huge reveal which suggests he may have been involved in the Dodson child’s murder. The reason I point out a scene like that is due to Howard’s performance. He is a quite popular character actor who has appeared in a variety of films (Limitless, Taken 3, HBO’s Watchmen) and has never gotten his fair share of credit. Giving an actor of this caliber a pinnacle plot point via his role shows how the show gives everyone their due.
In conclusion, I will say that this episode excites me the most to see what comes next. While Perry Mason is a show that has certainly never been dull, it has really struggled to hit its stride with me. However, thanks to a continuous progression of plot throughout this entire hour, I have to crown this episode as my favorite. Not only do we learn more about our characters (even the ones who we would expect to learn nothing about), it’s thrilling from start to finish. I absolutely can’t wait to see how the rest of the season wraps up!