For years, Robert Downey Jr. hoped to bring Erle Stanley Gardner’s pulp fiction lawyer Perry Mason to the big screen. Famously portrayed by Raymond Burr in a long-running TV series, Mason was always expected to be Downey Jr.’s exit ramp from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Then he got called into duty for five more post-Iron Man 3 MCU movies.
The Perry Mason movie didn’t work out, and maybe that’s for the best: Downey Jr. and his wife and producing partner Susan Downey eventually brought the project to HBO, where it became a star vehicle for Matthew Rhys (The Americans) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black). Yes, please.
Created by Rolin Jones (The Exorcist) and Ron Fitzgerald (Westworld), and directed by Timothy Van Patten (Game of Thrones), the series winds back time to 1931 in Los Angeles. Here’s the official synopsis:
While the rest of the country struggles through the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong. Based on characters created by author Erle Stanley Gardner, this drama series follows the origins of American fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
Along with Rhys as Mason and Maslany as an influential preacher who hires him for a murder case, Perry Mason co-stars John Lithgow, Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Stephen Root, Gayle Rankin, Nate Corddry, Veronica Falcon, Jefferson Mays, Lili Taylor, Andrew Howard, Eric Lange, and Robert Patrick.
Perry Mason debuts Sunday, June 21, at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO, HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max.