Perry Mason: Season 1 (2020)


Season 1
Perry Mason

Critics Consensus

Brimming with top notch performances and dripping in style, Perry Mason's compelling mystery mostly makes up for its messy storytelling.



Critic Ratings: 83


Audience Score

User Ratings: 407

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Air date: Jun 21, 2020

In 1931 Los Angeles, PI Perry Mason is hired by attorney E.B. Jonathan to solve a perplexing case involving the brutal kidnapping of 1-year-old Charlie Dodson, whose parents Matthew and Emily were targeted for a $100,000 ransom. After meeting with Herman Baggerly, a millionaire elder at the Dodsons' church, Perry, E.B., and E.B.'s legal secretary Della Street ponder why a family of unmistakably modest means would be extorted for such a steep price. Series premiere.

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Air date: Jun 28, 2020

Following one of her trademark barn-burning sermons, Evangelical preacher Sister Alice (Tatiana Maslany) offers the Dodsons the church's full moral and financial support -- much to her mother Birdy's (Lili Taylor) dismay. During a routine domestic intervention, beat cop Paul Drake (Chris Chalk) is rerouted to a gruesome crime scene, where he follows a confounding trail of evidence. Mason (Matthew Rhys) is left incensed by a jaw-dropping admission from Baggerly (Robert Patrick) and, after pressing Emily (Gayle Rankin) on her husband's alibi, finds himself confronted by an outraged Della (Juliet Rylance). Detectives Holcomb (Eric Lange) and Ennis (Andrew Howard) use Drake's (Chris Chalk) findings to their own advantage.

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Air date: Jul 5, 2020

In order to gain an advantage over E.B. and team, wily district attorney Maynard Barnes (Stephen Root) goes public with a shocking new development. Mason (Matthew Rhys) and Strickland (Shea Whigham) get unauthorized access to physical evidence with help from Virgil (Jefferson Mays), Mason's connect at the city morgue. Later, Mason attempts to extract information from a withholding Drake (Chris Chalk), who's weary of Holcomb (Eric Lange) and Ennis' (Andrew Howard) watchful eyes. Della (Juliet Rylance) notices a change in E.B. (John Lithgow), who seems uncharacteristically out of sorts.

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Air date: Jul 12, 2020

Mason (Matthew Rhys) and Strickland (Shea Whigham) lean on Virgil (Jefferson Mays), again, for extra-legal assistance. Following Sister Alice's (Tatiana Maslany) recovery from a frightening episode, Birdy (Lili Taylor) urges her daughter to renounce her claims about baby Charlie. E.B. (John Lithgow) faces the reality of his financial situation and takes his frustrations out on Della (Juliet Rylance).

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Air date: Jul 19, 2020

Mason and Della run a solemn errand up north, while Strickland tracks down the sergeant originally assigned to the Dodson case. Before returning to L.A., Mason drops in on his ex-wife Linda and son Teddy, hoping to make amends for his recent shortcomings. Disturbed by Emily's blind faith in Sister Alice and her new lawyer, Frank Dillon, Della sets out to find Mrs. Dodson more capable legal representation.

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Air date: Jul 26, 2020

Emily's trial begins and a damning witness testimony takes center stage, while Mason attempts to recover from a shaky start. Meanwhile, in their search for clues that might lead to an exoneration, Della and Strickland investigate a potential connection between Detective Ennis and Charlie's kidnappers. Later, Mason considers betraying Drake's trust to give his client an edge in court, and Birdy urges Sister Alice to scrap her Easter Sunday plan before it's too late.

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Air date: Aug 2, 2020

Mason puts Herman Baggerly on the stand in an attempt to expose the hidden link between the Radiant Assembly's staggering debt and Charlie's ransom. Sister Alice faces mounting pressure from the church elders about her promises for a "resurrection." Strickland loses track of a key witness, while Drake's detective work opens a new avenue in the case.

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Air date: Aug 9, 2020

In the Season 1 finale, the team receives some unvarnished critique from Hamilton Burger, while Della presents an increasingly stubborn Mason with her case for putting Emily on the stand. As the sensational trial winds to a close, Mason, Strickland, Della and Drake attempt to tie up loose ends—and set the stage for their futures.

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Critic Reviews for Perry Mason Season 1

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (38)

I don't think you'll be bored or outraged watching "Perry Mason." The cast is filled with big, broad scene-stealers, with Lithgow's moving turn at the top of that list... Just don't get too caught up in trying to tie all those moments together.

Jun 18, 2020 | Full Review…

A dull slough through L.A. noir.

Jun 17, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Matthew Rhys plays both extremes of his Perry Mason perfectly - the brooding, nonconformist of so many film noirs, as well as the emotional orator of those stirring summations to the jury.

Jun 18, 2020 | Full Review…

From the pilot to the final episode, "Perry Mason" knows itself: This Perry Mason is a rebel, and he's bringing everyone along for the ride.

Jun 18, 2020 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

A gorgeous show in terms of production design and the cast is strong from top to bottom, but writers Rolin Jones & Ron Fitzgerald struggle to find a story worth investing in for at least the first half of the eight-episode season.

Jun 19, 2020 | Full Review…

Strained at times, wandering at others, "Perry Mason" finds its footing eventually and by its end you may want to watch a second season even as you hope it's better than the first.

Jun 19, 2020 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Almost too gritty but not quite. Once you get to the courtroom battle the series wins you over.

Dec 2, 2020 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

There is something thrilling in wondering what new stories we need to tell about institutions of public life when we no longer trust that they are inherently just or righteous.

Sep 3, 2020 | Full Review…

Perry Mason has so many delicious ingredients... I'm looking forward to watching more.

Aug 18, 2020 | Full Review…

In addition to its thoughtful politics, Perry Mason is engaging and unpredictable and looks stylish as hell.

Aug 12, 2020 | Full Review…

...over-the-top violent, over-the-top gratuitously titillating and it also fails, somehow, to be gripping...

Aug 7, 2020 | Full Review…

Gritty, violent reboot spins compelling origin story.

Jul 24, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Perry Mason: Season 1

  • Jun 11, 2021
    Perry Mason's remake has nothing to say other than a formulaic detective story with cliched characters and an overdramatic tone with a lot of loose ends.
  • Feb 08, 2021
    Similar LA Noir stories have been told many times before, but who cares when it's so well done in this high-end TV mini series?
  • Jan 28, 2021
    Great story. Good pace. Dramatic tension. Vgood
  • Jan 21, 2021
    After a slow start, this got better and better with each episode. The show looks gorgeous and doesn't pull its punches. But it's the cast that elevates everything. Now that Mason is a lawyer and the writers got the kinks out, season two can be were it shines.
  • Jan 15, 2021
    The actors were very good. The series doesn't drag at all, and it keeps one hooked. The production setting, and the way each episode moves from one to the other , is quite interesting. All in all a very good watch !!!
  • Jan 06, 2021
    Turned it off after the first episode.
  • Dec 26, 2020
    A triumph for those who enjoin a charmant, violent and cathartic LA noir.
  • Dec 15, 2020
    I was looking forward to this series, because I enjoy classic film noir but it turned out awful and had too much graphic sex and violence. The darkness of this series is also depressing and there's not one likable character that makes me want to keep watching. As for Michael Rhys, I don't think his talents were well captured here either.
  • Dec 14, 2020
    Superb! Great story - keeps you in suspence all the time! The more you watch, the more riveting it gets! Fantastic acting! And yes it is profound and original! I am impressed!
  • Nov 22, 2020
    HBO's Perry Mason is the best detective series of the decade!

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