Sunday night saw the highly-anticipated return of Perry Mason to TV, though it was a far cry from the legal stalwart played by Raymond Burr for decades. Instead, HBO has gone back to the character's dimestore detective novel roots, long before he was preceded by his legacy in the courtroom for rooting out the truth.
Set in 1931 Los Angeles, Perry Mason stars Matthew Rhys as the will-be lawyer, who's currently scraping by working as a private detective. While Rhys' Mason still has the fundamental commitment toward fighting for the innocent, he's a far cry from Burr's sharp-dressed, sharp-witted attorney. His wrinkled, disheveled appearance stands out in sharp contrast against the pinstripes and pressed pleats of a bustling old Hollywood. Not to mention his dubious methods of investigation and penchant for blackmail.
Fundamentally, this is a Perry Mason who's not in control, as was evidenced when he overplayed his hand with movie studio executives. While HBO's Perry Mason is a show where everything old is new again, this is definitely not the character that some audiences will know and love. With that in mind, here's a look at what viewers had to say after the premiere.
Watching the new Perry Mason on HBO Max. I don't think I'm going to be able to sleep after that reveal at the end of the trolley scene from tonight's episode. So haunting.— Liam Dacko (@liamdacko) June 22, 2020
Oh shit, am I about to get heavily invested in this Perry Mason thing on HBO.— Zach (@BearClawGaming) June 22, 2020
First episode of Perry Mason on HBO was definitely worth the watch...— Max Lambright (@MaxLambright) June 22, 2020
Watching the HBO version of Perry Mason.Why do all modern classics remakes have to resort to degeneracy?And what is HBO's fascination with penises?— Jeff Lasley (@jeffrlasley) June 22, 2020
Perry Mason getting the (very R rated) HBO treatment isn’t something I knew I even wanted, but I am thoroughly enjoying this.— Graham M. Paschall (@grahamputation) June 22, 2020
That new Perry Mason show on HBO is pretty damn captivating. Check it out if you’re into old world noire detective stories.— Mario Candelaria (@TheOtherMarioC) June 22, 2020
This is what I honestly think...these guys had an idea for a noir show but HBO or some exec wouldn't do it unless they had an extra hook...so here comes the idea to make it Perry Mason's origin story.— Peter Wader (@Pksoze) June 22, 2020
7 minutes into Perry Mason (hbo) and we already have a full frontal/flopping dick.
This isn’t the Perry Mason I grew up with.— IdolKnights (@idolknights) June 22, 2020
HBO version of Perry Mason could just have easily have been titled "Sam Spade, the Early Years." No obvious connection with the Raymond Burr series other than the title.— LW (@Ouch49) June 22, 2020
Shows like @HBO’s Perry Mason make me miss Philip Seymour Hoffman massively. He could have done any of these parts amazingly. Among so many others.— Toni Marlowe (@tonimarlowe) June 22, 2020
Perry Mason airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Episodes will also be available to stream on HBO and HBO Max.prev