“Perry Mason” is an iconic American show that multiple generations of people have watched and loved.
The legal series, which took its inspiration from the Perry Mason book series, originally aired in 1957. The show went on for nine seasons and continued to play on television years after the final episode aired in 1966. It remains to be one of the most successful legal shows in television history. However, the HBO reboot, starring Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason, has remodeled the show many of us grew up watching. The show airing June 21 is an origin story, telling the life of the notorious attorney before his success in the courtroom. Viewers will see his life as a private investigator living paycheck to paycheck and struggling with flashbacks of his time in the war. In the midst of a booming Los Angeles, a kidnapping gone wrong occurs sparking a series of events and interactions that unravel the brokenness of the city with each discovery.
The show takes place in 1932 at the end of the Great Depression and though it is a period piece, the characters’ stories and the world around them feel relatable to many of the issues we are experiencing today. Viewers will be able to see a diverse cast and the difference of realities and experiences for each main character. The show, unlike the original, made room for intersectionality and to truthfully depict racism, misogyny, and other issues that are a part of the daily lives of people throughout generations.
I was able to speak with one of the stars of the show, Chris Chalk who plays Officer Paul Drake, who was originally played by William Hopper. Chris has worked in film, television, and theater and many of us know him from his roles in When They See Us, Fences on broadway, 12 Years a Slave, and currently Perry Mason. While speaking with Chris he offers not only an insight into coming into the role of officer Drake and joining a talented group of actors, but he provides words of wisdom, humor, and honesty that many of us crave from entertainers.