HBO has handed out a series order to Perry Mason, a limited series that explores the origins of the legendary defense attorney that was famously played by Raymond Burr in the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. The Americans star Matthew Rhys is attached to star in the title role.
Perry Mason is set in 1932, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s (Rhys) relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
It’s been a long road for Perry Mason. The project originally landed at HBO back in 2016 as a vehicle for Robert Downey Jr, with True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto penning the scripts. Pizzolatto later exited and was replaced by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald. Earlier this year, Downey opted not to star and Rhys was attached as the lead. Since then the project has had a blinking green-light, with a series order contingent on finding a suitable director. That has now happened with Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos director Tim Van Patten boarding as helmer.
The limited series is based on the characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner and is set up at Robert Downey Jr’s Team Downey. Matthew Rhys is a producer. Robert Downey Jr, Susan Downey, Amanda Burrell, Rolin Jones, Ron Fitzgerald, Joe Horacek and Tim Van Patten are the executive producers. Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald will serve as showrunners.