Matthew Rhys to play title character in HBO’s Perry Mason limited series


Matthew Rhys will take on another lead role after his Emmy-winning six-season run on The Americans — famed defense attorney/investigator Perry Mason.

The limited series from Team Downey, Robert Downey Jr’s production company with his wife, Susan, will explore the classic character’s origin story, according to Deadline. Perry Mason has been set up at HBO and is being written, executive produced and showrun by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald.

The series is set in Los Angeles in 1932, right after the Great Depression. While the rest of the country is still struggling to recover, Los Angeles is thriving. Amidst the oil boom, the Olympics, and the growing motion picture business, a child kidnapping goes very wrong. When Perry Mason, a struggling private investigator haunted by his war experiences and broken marriage, becomes privy to the case, his search for answers reveals the city’s seedy underbelly while possibly representing his own redemption.

The project has taken a long and winding path to the screen. Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey, who developed the project, originally intended to reboot Perry Mason with a feature film. The film ended up at Warner Bros. six years ago with Downey Jr. in the lead role.

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The project then became a series for HBO in 2016, with Downey Jr. again attached to star and True Detective‘s Nic Pizzolato as a writer. However, Pizzolato dropped out so he could work on True Detective‘s third season and Downey Jr’s film commitments prevented him from starring.

Now that Jones and Fitzgerald have taken over as writers, and Rhys is set to star, the series should start filming as soon as a director is found.

Downey Jr. welcomed Rhys to Perry Mason with a tweet quoting the character and himself. He writes, “‘Now it seems to me the place to start is at the beginning.’ Perry Mason. ‘And it seems to me the beginning of any great project is casting my new best friend Matthew Rhys.’ Robert Downey Jr., Executive Producer.”

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While the reboots and remakes keep on coming, this one is a little more surprising than most. While Perry Mason was a popular character in the past, he is less known today. Created by Erie Stanley Gardner and played by Raymond Burr for decades, the character hasn’t been seen on TV since the 1990s.

However, an origin story with a younger version of the character could prove successful, even if a percentage of the audience isn’t familiar with earlier Perry Mason iterations.

Are you looking forward to seeing Matthew Rhys play Perry Mason? Have your say in the comments.