Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 2 Summary
Perry predictably gets involved in the murder of Brooks McCutcheon in an episode with a little more action, wickedness, and forward motion than the premiere.
This recap of Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 2, “Chapter 10” contains spoilers.
Perry Mason practiced civil law for about one episode before remembering his true calling, which as we all know is criminal defense, ideally in the most high-profile cases. Perry might dictate otherwise; He might rant about the media, the prejudice system, the meat-pushing money men, and demanding favors everywhere he goes, often at the expense of the people he cares about. But Perry Mason in court and in front of the press is the most smug we’ve seen him in the two hours of the HBO show’s second season. He is at home.
Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 2 Summary
Who is blamed for Brooks’ murder?
We still don’t know who killed useless oil heir Brooks McCutcheon, but we do know it wasn’t the Gallardo brothers Mateo and Rafael, two Mexicans, who have been charged with the crime on the basis of incredibly thin evidence and a deeply racist system that bends over backwards to prosecute them anyway. It’s a career-boosting case for DA Hamilton Burger, and he’s put his best man on the job – Thomas Milligan (an outraged Mark O’Brien).
Everyone knows, or at least seems to suspect, that the Gallardo brothers didn’t. The problem is convincing people that they should care, 1930’s Los Angeles doesn’t exactly value the lives of non-white people. Perry and Della Street are initially reluctant to take on the case, ostensibly because they no longer practice criminal law, but probably also because it’s hopeless on paper but remains magnetized as two of the only people in the City of Angels with a moral compass , they quickly intervene – at first without telling each other.
Why are Perry and Della taking the case?
I like the different approaches of Perry and Della; The former breaks into the impounded parking lot where the car Brooks was shot in is being stored, while Della curls up with Burger at a charity event to try to silvertongue him into a plea deal. They are different approaches with the same end goal – to find a justification for dealing with the case. For Perry, false trajectories poke holes in history; For Della, the certainty with which two innocent men face falling for someone else reminds her that she has a responsibility to the truth. They both decide to take on the case, even finding a convenient way to fund the defense by putting greedy grocer Sunny Gryce on a monthly cash advance while they scout for him “easy targets” in the neighborhood.
The only missing piece is Paul Drake as a detective, especially since he’s still aching from the job with Pete Strickland that Perry threw his way to outfit a relatively innocent guy. Perry’s openness about it – he thought Strickland would play it straight – and his uncertainty about what’s in store are both enough to compel Paul to join the team. Last but not least, he respects honesty.
“Chapter Ten” has some of the forward drive, action and evil that there is the premiere was missing. You got Perry to do real detective work. They also sneaked Perry and Paul aboard Brooks’ gambling boat, which we learn was falling apart and was in considerable debt to various contractors, jumped by Detective Holcomb’s goons and publicly escaped. And we have Brooks’ father’s gunman, Crippen, crushing the head of the ship’s only remaining supplier in a vise like a ripe watermelon.
I think this is the kind of show that is better than people think but will never get the recognition it probably deserves. It’s a lavish banquet of superb actors delivering mark-perfect performances, and it’s also a twisted, conspiratorial whodunit with great historical detail and just the right amount of moral sensibility. It was intended to be a mega-hit, but it remains a popular but not particularly widespread piece of entertainment that lacks some of that prestige flair. Maybe now this The last of us stopped eating up all the attention, it will make a little more space for itself.
You can stream Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 2 “Chapter 10” exclusively on HBO and HBO Max.
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