Perry Mason is an attorney who specializes in defending seemingly indefensible cases. With the aid of his secretary Della Street and investigator Paul Drake, he often finds that by digging deeply into the facts, startling facts can be revealed. Often relying on his outstanding courtroom skills, he often tricks or traps people into unwittingly admitting their guilt.
Among the 14 cases that conclude Perry Mason's
compelling third season is something of a Very Special Episode. In "The Case of the Prudent Prosecutor," district attorney Hamilton Burger (William Talman), usually outwitted and outplayed by Perry Mason, can at last smile and tell his adversary, "You know, I think I won this case." Of course, this time he had Mason on his side, defending an old friend who once rescued Burger. "I'll defend him," Mason kids, "even if he did save your life." We hope Burger enjoyed his moment of triumph. It would be the only one this season. Mason (Raymond Burr) is at the top of his game in case after seemingly hopeless case, untangling twisted plots with his unflappable aplomb. Suffice to say, if youre a secretary who discovers a dead body in a remote cabin, or a gambling dens cigarette girl with a gun and marijuana in your purse, your first stop should be Masons office. Perry Mason
is classic TV noir, with dark doings and shady characters that subvert the sunny Southern California setting. The quintessentially convoluted "The Case of the Gallant Grafter" involves corporate intrigue and divorce, and throws in a blackmailing secretary for good measure. These episodes, originally broadcast in 1959-60, are further evidence why Perry Mason
was the longest-running legal series on TV, and Mason was one of popular cultures most enduring characters (created by Erle Stanley Gardner, he first appeared in a 1933 novel, and later branched out to movies, radio, and even comic books). Little fazes this guy, no matter how grisly the murder or how stacked the evidence is against his client. We anxiously await the moment that comes in most every episode around the 48-mins. mark in which the real killer is compelled to confess in court under fire of Masons withering cross-examination (oft-times, they arent even on the stand when they proclaim their guilt!). Among the familiar faces in these episodes include a very saucy Barbara Bain in "The Case of the Wary Wildcatter," and future Academy award-winner Louise Fletcher as the unfortunate secretary "The Case of the Mythical Monkeys." Fifty years later, Perry Mason
is still a not-guilty pleasure. --Donald Liebenson