Let me tell you this: If you loved the classic movie CHINATOWN, I think you'll totally dig this series. That same feeling of darkness and decay dwelling underneath the relentless Southern California sunshine is at play in HBO's PERRY MASON. Guilt is a driving force in these episodes. Here's a trailer.
I've been a John Lithgow fan ever since I saw him as the egotistical, backstabbing Broadway producer in 1979's ALL THAT JAZZ. Lithgow was one of my favorite guests on my VH1 prime time celebrity talk show in 1988. He was the first celebrity guest who sent me a thank you note after our show. I still have it. John Lithgow's performance as Winston Churchill in Netflix's THE CROWN left me awestruck. He was stunning. His performance as Perry Mason's boss is just as terrific.
On the classic TV series, Barbara Hale played Della Street, Perry Mason's whip-smart and trustworthy secretary. I loved her backstory in this miniseries. I loved how she was played by Juliet Rylance. On TV, you always got the feeling that Perry Mason and Della Street were the best of friends. One of the most fascinating element about the scripts in the first four episodes is that you don't think this hot mess of man who's a private investigator will have any resemblance at all to the famous Raymond Burr portrayal. But, with each episode, you realize that you are being set up to see how these 1930s characters became the ones known from the 1950s/60s TV series. Episodes were directed by Timothy Van Patten. He directed many memorable episodes of THE SOPRANOS.
Here's some Old Hollywood history for you. Did you ever see the gorgeous, statuesque actress Gail Patrick in the classic films MY MAN GODFREY (1936), STAGE DOOR (1937) and MY FAVORITE WIFE (1940)?