The first season of HBOs Perry Mason Took a few twists and turns in the beginning, but things got into full swing especially late in the season when the title character (Matthew Rhys) became the lawyer he always did on the original radio series, TV show, and -for-TV movies. The finale of this first season not only offers a small conclusion to the mystery of the death of young Charlie Dodson, but also prepares a lot for what could happen in the future – the show has already been extended for the second season – for Perry and the Rest of the interesting cast of the series.
So what actually happened in the end? Perry Mason Season 1
Good question. It was an eventful hour, to say the least. We can start with the biggest takeaway: Emily Dodson has been released from the murder charge against her for the death of her young son Charlie – at least for now. After a rousing final statement from Perry Mason (and one less from his opposition, DA Maynard Barnes (Stephen Root)), the jury got bogged down and unable to pass judgment. The judge then declared a mistrial. That said, no one is convicted and the slate is eventually wiped off.
It’s important to remember that the jury must be unanimous to convict – we learn that the deadlock was 9-3. Mason and his investigator Pete Strickland (Shea Whigham) discuss one of their last trench games that turned out to be a jury member at the beginning of the episode. But in a twist, two of the jurors were on their side anyway. Emily will almost certainly be charged again (since Barnes has an eye on running for LA Mayor, he will continue to want to raise his profile), but for now she is home free.
Detective Joe Ennis (Andrew Howard) may be the real killer and main villain in the story, but he never pays for his broken legal system violations – in fact, he doesn’t even show up in court on the last day, letalone take the stand – he gets in the end its comeuppance. While Holcomb takes another bribe, he prepares Ennis to be attacked by a group of men and drown in the well. He apologizes to Ennis shortly before and shortly after his death. Those tracks – since Holcomb essentially directed Ennis to kill Eric Seidel to blur both corrupt tracks, it makes sense that he let Ennis kill himself to blur his own tracks. Ennis is just too dirty to save as he’s been killing people all season and who knows how many others we haven’t seen. It’s safe to say we’ll continue to see Holcomb and Mason crossbreed, but it’s annoying that Ennis doesn’t have to stand trial for his crimes.
In the meantime, Emily’s story has a bittersweet and mostly tragic ending. She spoke on the stand that the only true love in her life was not her husband, Matthew, or the kidnapper of the Church, George Gannon, with whom she was having an affair. It was her son Charlie who was obviously taken from this earth. After the “resurrection” program from the penultimate episode wraps up with an empty baby coffin and Birdy claims an unidentified baby is a resurrected Charlie, Emily Birdy joins in. Walking around town claiming this new baby is a resurrected Charlie becomes Birdy’s newest religious program after sister Alice escapes Los Angeles.
Perry finally tracks down sister Alice on the same subject. She fled the Radiant Assembly and changed her hair color. Now she works as a waitress in a fun diner. In the final moments of the season, Mason shows her that her mother has moved on to her next religious joke (the “resurrection baby” with Emily) and the future. Mason wants to know how the baby’s body moved off the floor and whether Sister Alice really believed in what she was preaching at any one time. As he notes, a baby was killed as part of a scheme to help a church (remember, it was orchestrated by Seidel, Gannon, and a crew of crooks).
Alice rightly notes that the two are essentially peas in the same pod – the two are tired of being alone. But in the end, it’s their nature to always be alone, and there’s nothing they can do about it. “Why is that?” she asks before she gives him a kiss on the cheek and leaves. “Did you really think you could bring Charlie back?” Asks Mason. “I did it, didn’t I?” she answers. That answer is telling in many ways – “Charlie” is in every way Not back. This baby died as part of the failed abduction plan. But at the end of the day there is now a “new” Charlie, and Emily hugs that new Charlie, and the corrupt, broken world goes on spinning. No one has been charged with murder, and the real culprits are all dead. Sister Alice probably didn’t believe what she preached – but the point here is, does it really matter?
What does that tell us about the future of Perry Mason?
One of the most exciting parts of the finale is seeing Perry Mason and Associates as a fully-fledged law firm with their very first paying client. Mason is the practicing attorney, but his confidante, Della Street, will only be a “co-worker” so long – she declares that she is going to law school (in Mason’s day) and will soon be his partner in practice, name and title official . He’s now also employing Drake as an investigator, which is a good thing considering Drake surrendered his gun and badge (so it’s good to see he’s immediately finding his next big career opportunity). It will be fun to see what kind of puzzles this gang gets into in the next season.
At the same time, it’s annoying to see Mason and his friend / investigator / co-worker Pete Strickland part ways in full. The duo’s relationship got more and more frayed as the season went on, and as we see in the end, Strickland really doesn’t work with Mason anymore and instead chooses to take on the consistently-paying job at Hamlton Burger (which we know is for Barnes’ post as district attorney). Strickland was the most entertaining character to see in Season 1 (as most Shea Whigham characters do), and he’ll surely be back in Season 2. It will be fun to see these paths continue to cross, and in what mysterious case are they all embroidered again?
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