We’re pretty used to reporting on reboots around here, but here’s one even we didn’t see coming. Perry Mason, the Raymond Burr-starring legal drama that originally aired from 1957 to 1966, is getting remade.
The new version of the series will go back even further in time than the original, putting the titular criminal defense lawyer in 1931 Los Angeles. Here’s how the series’ press release describes the reboot:
Perry Mason is set in 1931 Los Angeles. 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 Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited 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.
Two thoughts. First: That’s a lot of exclamation points. 1931 Los Angeles must have been a very exciting place. Secondly: Is this child kidnapping the Lindbergh baby? That very famous kidnapping took place in March of 1932, so the time window is pretty close. But it’s more likely the show features a fictional kidnapping that was merely inspired by the Lindbergh baby. That’s our take, anyway.
Matthew Rhys will play Mason in the series, while other cast members include John Lithgow and Tatiana Maslany. There have been previous attempts to revive Perry Mason, who first appeared in the 1930s in a series of detective novels by Erle Stanley Gardner. After the successful first TV series, the 1970s saw the poorly received The New Perry Mason, which lasted just one season on the air. The ’80s and ’90s then saw a number of made-for-TV movies starring original series star Burr. These films proved to be quite popular and helped solidify the character’s legacy.
It’s hard to say how the new version, which is slated to be a limited series on HBO, will hold up, but the network has released the first image of Rhys in the role to try and build excitement. And we can say he certainly looks like he could be investigating crime in the 1930s.
Perry Mason will premiere on HBO next year.