The upcoming HBO drama Perry Mason was discussed during day one of the ATX TV virtual festival, according to Deadline. The annual festival celebrates and showcases numerous projects in the television industry, Perry Mason is one of them. The series consists of eight episodes and debuts on HBO June 21.
Perry Mason is based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s series of detective books under the same name. Emmy winner Matthew Rhys (The Americans) plays the well-known criminal defense attorney Perry Mason in 1930s Los Angeles. Rhys is also a producer for the series alongside co-creators and executive producers Rolin Jones (The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow) and Ron Fitzgerald (Weeds), executive producer Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes), executive producer and director Tim Van Patten (The Master) as well as co-stars Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), John Lithgow (The World According to Garp), Juliet Rylance (The Knick), Chris Chalk (Gotham), and Shea Whigham (Homecoming).
Downey shared that the American film production company Team Downey spent almost ten years developing this project. Deadline reports her statement: “We played around with it as a feature, but quickly realized that, in a great way, there was so much material. Like we couldn’t contain it in two hours. So we decided to pivot. And at the time we had our deal at Warner’s, and that’s all under the same parent company as HBO, and brought it over there and started developing it as a TV show.”
The creators wanted this adaptation to be different and weave in characters that weren’t exclusive to the Perry Mason universe, but from different works of Gardner. There are going to be more inclusive with characters, namely featuring strong female characters such as Maslany’s character Sister Alice. She is the leader of the Radiant Assembly of God and acts as a spiritual conduit for God.
The series is set in a booming L.A. meanwhile the rest of America is still recovering from the repercussions of the Great Depression. Reported by Deadline, Rhys speaks on what viewers will expect in the new iteration saying, “[they will be] introduced to an enormous amount of his backstory from his time as a world war one veteran, his family problems, his inherited land problems, the encroaching maternity of the new Los Angeles emerging. He has a lot on his shoulders.”
Watch the official trailer below: