Last week attorney Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) said that he would be sticking strictly to civil cases. Well, that didn’t last long. This week’s episode of Perry Mason picked up the pace as the murder investigation of Brooks McCutcheon is officially in motion and in Mason’s hands.
“Chapter 10” starts right where “Chapter 9” left off, and two suspects have already been arrested: brothers Mateo and Rafael Gallardo. The Gallardo’s mother shows up at Mason and Street’s office and demands that Mason take on her sons as clients after having witnessed the way he was able to clear Emily Dodson’s name. Thus, the main plot of Season 2 begins.
“Chapter 10” does a fantastic job of exploring themes of justice and race in 1930s America, which were also central to the first season. While Mason initially refuses to take on the Gallardo brothers as clients because he cannot deal with another potential tragedy like the Emily Dodson suicide. Mason can’t help but feel a sense of guilt and responsibility for what happened to Dodson. he was his client; his first-ever client, to be exact.
However, at the same time, Mason and Street feel drawn to the case. The two of them, a closeted lesbian trying to find her place in a male-dominated profession in the 1930s, and Mason, a former low-level private investigator, and deadbeat father turned lawyer, feels it is their duty to represent the Gallardo brothers after discovering that they may be innocent as Mason quickly discovers holes in the murder theory.
This episode also does a great job of balancing the characters’ personal lives and dilemmas with their work life. Della Street attempts to balance her impending feelings for Anita St. Pierre (Jen Tullock), a woman she meets in “Chapter 9” and begins to develop feelings for. Mason, attempting to juggle his life as an attorney and his relationship with his son and ex-wife, the latter of which, along with his son’s teacher, don’t seem to approve of him or his work.
There also seems to be lingering sexual tension between Mason and Strictland (Shea Whigman), which is interesting considering that in the previous season, it was implied that Mason was possibly bisexual. It’ll be interesting to see if the show decides to explore this possibility more as the season(s) progress.
In a time where misogyny and racism persist, Mason, Street, detective Chris Chalk, and Pete Strictland, Mason’s work partner, and friend are some of the good ones you can’t help but root for. Despite his many flaws, Rhys brings a sort of pathetic lovingness to Mason that only he can do, solidifying his title as the saddest man on television, a title he holds like a badge of honor.
Feature image courtesy of Merrick Morton/HBO
Perry Mason Season 2 airs on HBO Mondays at 8 p.m. CST.
'Perry Mason' 2x02 - 9/10