Warning: This post contains a spoiler for Sunday Perry Mason season finale.
We have a judgment in Perry Masongreat case for a season, and that judgment has … no decision.
After an emotional return to witness standing by Emily Dodson and a closing subversive statement by Perry, the issue of Emily’s murder ended in a mystery when the jury could not reach a verdict. (Pete paid one of the lawyers to vote “not guilty,” but two others voted that way anyway.) Emily was free to hit the road with Birdy and preach that her baby was resurrected ̵1; even though she knew the baby young was not ‘Charlie – while Pete left to go to work for Hamilton Burger, Ennis got his sweets right when his partner Holcomb drowned him in a fountain, and Perry and Della started their firm, with Paul Drake as their investigators. Oh, and Perry found Sister Alice working at a seaside dinner and they talked about how life does not end things in a regular arc for you. (Kind of like this show.)
TVLine spoke with creators / producers Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald, who co-wrote the finale with Kevin J. Hynes, to get the baton on why Emily’s trial ended as it did, the very real chemistry between Perry and Sister Alice ( you saw it too, didn’t you?) and the winning process against skeptical fans of the original series – plus, they hinted at what we might see in Season 2.
TVLINE | Emily’s affair eventually ends in a trowel. Did he play with different scenarios for the final, maybe even a “not guilty” verdict?
RON FITZGERALD | No.[[[[laugh]
ROLIN JONES | We were not quite willing to think that a man could go through that institutional power. The jury looked like that part where we thought, “Oh yes, well, this is a big win.” And a kind of suggestion that they will never try it again … that was for as many popcorn as they could swallow, I think.
TVLINE | Emily ends up traveling the country with Birdy, telling people the baby is hers when we all know it is not. Is this the closest thing to a happy ending we can expect to see for him?
JONES | Guys, when you put it that way, we sound like real noise, don’t we?[[[[laugh]
FITZGERALD | It’s just plain sad. The poor girl was so chewed by the system … I think there is a measure of happiness, but at what cost? The cost of rationality? She is so lost that she needs so much to believe in something, and someone gave her the opportunity to believe it was her baby, so she jumped into it. I think it’s more related to the topic of faith we were violating: Sister Alice’s faith, Nathan’s faith, and what you place your faith.
JONES | What we were thinking is that every viewer will have a radically different opinion of where it ends in the story, and I think we kind of just wanted to … happy ending or happy ending, we have loved an end that would follow and that would stay with you for a while. Whether you feel bored for that end or OK for that end, it seemed like he wanted to live in some boring and vague soup.[[[[laugh]
TVLINE | Well, talking about “dark, vague soup” left you with a number of unanswered questions, like what exactly happened to Charlie’s grave and body …
JONES | Ah, life.[[[[laugh]Is not it so? I do not know if it was done consciously, but Perry Mason it was so successful – and we have a lot of admiration for it – it gave the audience a very sweet piece of pie at the end, at Minute 59 every week. And I think from the beginning, in our conversations with everyone involved on HBO, no one wanted that. So something that can stay with you and stay with you helps a little, because you are not given all the answers to go, “OK, what else?” It was a dramatic strategy, at least.
FITZGERALD | And all the things that have happened over the last few months but still a lot, it has been a crazy time in history … a pet ending would just seem like a lie. The truth is that people’s religious beliefs are gained. They are armed and monetized, and the same with people’s racial ties. It seems like the world we are in today, a pet end would be so unacceptable.
TVLINE | Perry tracks Sister Alice at that seaside dinner, and they have that great conversation about trust versus evidence. Did I feel a romantic spark between those two? This made me want to see more scenes between them.
FITZGERALD | Guys, you know, that was something I personally wanted to do. It’s just kind of like I never found a landing place this season. But it always felt like it wanted to happen, you know? If we had three more episodes, there certainly would be.
JONES | Yes, this is the danger of uniting two very charismatic, attractive people on stage. They could talk about a phone book or a gentleman’s shoes, and that chemistry might be there.
TVLINE | You’ve made some big, bold choices with this reboot, and some longtime fans of the original went out of business at first. How did you balance the honor of Perry Mason heritage by creating something fresh and new?
FITZGERALD | Yes, well, since HBO is doing this, you can throw “crime of the week” out the window, right? None of their shows do that. Of course, we have never decided to destroy anyone’s love Perry Mason and Raymond Burr. These things are still there. Everyone is free to go and see them. I don’t think any of us have seen a point in trying to remake them. So it was: How does a 1932 noir make for a modern world? How do you try to make it relevant? And at the same time, if you read early Perry Mason books, he does a lot of detective work and not a lot of court stuff at all, if any. He was a very investigative lawyer.
JONES | Yes, I think one of the first tips to make an original story was: “Boy, this guy does a lot of detective work f-king to be a lawyer!”[[[[laugh]And we were like, “Oh, I wonder, did he go to law school first? Or maybe he had a different job?” There were many things in those books that led us to some very simple and very obvious choices. . And when we signed up for the concert, we knew it wouldn’t be something we could do that wouldn’t alienate hardcore fans. Showsht your favorite show, you go to bed with her, has been this lovely thing. I think what has been encouraging is that for those who have stuck with it, after we started suing lawyer, I think you can see us winning some of those people over. You can start to see some conversations about, “Oh, maybe it’s more respect than it seemed at first.” And that has been satisfying.
TVLINE | Congratulations on season 2 renewal But you got into this thinking it would be a limited series, right? So you had to uproot anything to set more seasons?
JONES | I mean, we built the story where we gathered Super Friends together, you know what I mean? So we put the three main members as far apart as possible and put them together, which can work satisfactorily for a limited series or something moving forward. But the more you move forward and make moving stories, the more things you dismiss that go, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if …?” These are just some of the junk that happens while you are building a story, and then towards the second half of it, you start writing relationships and small plot points, either from one of the two cops who does not take his destruction or Hamilton Burger Fill you start to suggest that there are tentacles going forward.
FITZGERALD | We purposely wrote the beginning of the first book, so it was there. The door is there. All you have to do is open it.
JONES | Yes, that second scene at last is literally the first two pages of the first novel. We are really leaning on the throne of [book author] Erle Stanley [Gardner] from the beginning and you want to be extremely respectful. And Erle Stanley, he was an aggressive guy. He wrote aggressively, at least plots, and I like to think that, given the settings and being HBO and everything, we did something like the kind of things he would have done if he had been here and now.
TVLINE | Can we expect Season 2 to pursue a lengthy issue again? Will it be that client who made it to the end of the finals?
FITZGERALD | Usually we are looking at novels to use them as dancing points … We were not sure there would be a second season or anything, but we knew we wanted to start in those books. So it will be from the books. We are looking to use some books in different ways. I think I would look like him [Benedict] Cumberbatch Sherlock thing, where you can see Arthur Conan Doyle’s DNA type there. It’s not Basil Rathbone![[[[laugh]
TVLINE | Shea Whigham is as great as Pete Strickland, but he ends up going to work for Hamilton Burger. Will we still see it in Season 2, just on the other end of the line?
FITZGERALD | Oh yes, Strickland will be back. He’s on the other end of the line, but he and Mason have that connection, you know. There will be things to chew on.
TVLINE | Any more suggestions you can make?
FITZGERALD | I’ll tell you this: John Lithgow asked if he would have the EB ghost in Season 2. There won’t.[[[[laugh]No EB ghost This will not happen.
JONES | When you die Perry Mason, you die.
Okay, now is the time to cast your vote: Give Perry Mason final – and Season 1 as a whole – a note on our polls, and then hit the comments to give your verdict.