Emmy Award winner Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black, Parks and Recreation) is not returning for season two of the HBO legal drama Perry Mason, as reported by TV Line. The Canadian performer captivated audiences with her portrayal of evangelical preacher Sister Alice, but a network press rep claims that the season one finale marks the conclusion of the character’s arc, according to TV Line.
In the season one finale of Perry Mason, Sister Alice forsakes her controlling mother Birdy (Lili Taylor, I Shot Andy Warhol) and the church that made them both famous for a quiet life as a waitress, according to Entertainment Weekly. In an August 2020 interview with Collider, Maslany imparted how she envisioned the finale as the conclusion of merely the beginning of Sister Alice’s story. “I think it’s the first chapter… All of the markers of her identity, her mother, the church, her faith, her connection to Emily (Gayle Rankin, GLOW), all of it is stripped away. And she’s, in a way, starting again,” Maslany explained, via Collider. Matthew Rhys (The Americans, Brothers & Sisters), who plays the title role in Perry Mason, even suggested to Collider that Sister Alice would be welcome on his legal team.
HBO’s Perry Mason, like the critically beloved CBS mystery series of the same name, is based on characters created by crime fiction novelist Erle Stanley Gardner (The Bigger They Come, The Case of the Turning Tide). Whereas the CBS series was set during the time of its own production, the ’50s and ’60s, the HBO series is set in the early 1930’s, which is the era when Gardner initially introduced the dependable Mason to readers everywhere. In a recent interview, Maslany discussed the similarities between Sister Alice and real-life Depression-era celebrity Sister Aimee Semple McPherson: “McPherson is kind of who Sister Alice is based on. [She] was a preacher in the 1930’s in L.A. and her [Pentecostal Foursquare] Church is… a twenty-minute walk from my house, which I’d never known before [Perry Mason],” via The Carlos Watson Show. You can listen to her complete interview on The Carlos Watson Show podcast below:
Although Maslany is saying goodbye to the world of Perry Mason, she is not leaving the legal genre behind altogether. In December 2020, Maslany was cast in the titular role in the upcoming Disney Plus courtroom comedy She-Hulk, based on the Marvel Comics superhero series of the same name, as reported by Deadline. Maslany will be joined by a supporting cast that includes Ginger Gonzaga (Same Difference, Kidding) and Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton, Altered Carbon), in addition to Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Welcome to Britain) and Mark Ruffalo (Dark Waters, You Can Count On Me).