The second chapter opened a door and the third one just pulled me down a winding staircase.
If the layers are coming off, they are not coming off in thin peels but with thick history.
The last time we left our hero, Perry Mason turning the corner, he had decided to go ahead, system broken or not. And the first few moments beautifully capture how broken the city is, it is told in cross cuts between John Lithgow’s E.B and the crooked DA Maynard Barnes. It is almost played like arguments and counter arguments, only out of court and they have Lithgow visiting a barber. Now what’s a classic American crime show without a shaving scene? So far Perry Mason has been putting in the right genre signals but this episode seemed a little more brighter than the last one, still a two-tone but less noir.
Yet another classic American crime show trope is a fast talking detective and that’s what Perry says when he means “that words have a tendency to go beyond his mind and through his mouth.” Smart. But Perry has very little to do in this episode, it’s an outing for the others- Della, E.B and Paul Drake.
E.B and Della are trying to put together the case for Emily Dodson’s bail, with hope to get some sympathy from the judge- while now innocent Matthew Dodson is unable to come to terms with his wife’s infidelity. The whole scene takes place within a prison cell and gives the impression of Emily Dodson being boxed into feeling guilty, which is what reflects in court. It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking, this has been consistent in all three episodes, so far.
Remember, we wrote about Perry Mason’s character philosophy? Well he ain’t developed one yet and Della Street rightly points it to him, this is when things don’t begin to go too well for E.B who seems older than usual, time seems to have swept away while he slept, his tiredness comes through, I am afraid there is not much ahead for the lawyer.
And this is where the trio get fired out of their own case.
Does Perry Mason really believe that Emily Dodson is innocent? At least that’s what he says when he meets Paul Drake. Does Sister Alice really speak to God, as she claims and can she see an end to this case?
I don’t know, we began with a single string but there are a lot of strands out there now, the case could go any way, it is beginning to feel like a real dense crime novel now and I love it!
Who killed baby Charlie Dodson and why?
Stay tuned on Mondays with Mason until next week.