Perry Mason Season 1 finale recap: What is the final outcome of Emily’s trial?

Matthew Rhys in Perry Mason Season 1 finale - Photograph by Merrick Morton / HBO
Matthew Rhys in Perry Mason Season 1 finale - Photograph by Merrick Morton / HBO /

Perry Mason Season 1 finale recap: What is the final outcome of Emily’s trial?

We finally learn what will become of Emily Dodson in the Perry Mason Season 1 finale. In the opening of the episode, it initially appears like Perry is hammering Detective Ennis on the stand, getting him to the verge of confession. But then we learn the entire thing is nothing more than a fantasy and practice run of their final days in court.

If you were anticipating that Perry, Della, Pete, Paul, and even D.A. Hamilton Burger would somehow manage to pull off a Hail Mary that would result in Ennis confessing to his crimes, well, you were likely sorely disappointed in the final hour of the season.

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Unfortunately, the case comes down to Perry having only a few more items to play — putting Emily on the stand, and closing the case. Emily does well on the stand, as well as she could. Allowing her to give her side of the story helps with the episode’s overall theme of the Perry Mason women prevailing over a society dangerously skewed against them.

Perry’s closing arguments hammer in the fact Emily’s character has been attacked from the get-go. Maynard Barnes has not been able to prove, without reasonable doubt, that she had anything to do with her son’s kidnapping and subsequent death. All he’s done is focus on the salacious details of the case, instigating an old-school witch hunt that villainizes her for not being the perfect, moral paragon of motherhood.

Ultimately, the jury winds up in a deadlock and the judge declares a mistrial. It doesn’t feel as good as an acquittal, but it does let Emily walk away from all of this as a free woman. We later find out the jury was deadlocked 9 to 3 and that Pete bribed at least one juror to make that happen.

It turns out, he didn’t need to. Perry’s profound closing arguments and Emily’s turn on the stand seem to have worked enough to make at least two people,  of their own volition,  believe in Emily’s innocence — or at least agree that the prosecution did not prove her guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.

Perry Mason Season 1
Matthew Rhys and Shea Whigham in Perry Mason Season 1 finale – Photograph by Merrick Morton / HBO /

Perry Mason Season 1 finale recap: Holcomb Ennis faces a different kind of justice.

Throughout the final hour, we see Ennis continue to be a smarmy, arrogant jerk with no sense of regret for any of his hideous actions. I really thought he would get to walk away scot-free, which honestly, while sadly realistic, would have been a real bummer of a way to end the season.

Holcomb, however, had other plans in mind, ones I’m surprised Ennis did not see coming. Holcomb may not have been the one getting his hands dirty, but he’s equally as corrupted and hideous as his partner. He’s the one who instigated Ennis and pushed him into killing any witness that could connect them to Charlie’s death.

It makes sense he would need to get rid of the one final clue — Ennis himself. He hires a crew to viciously drown the man in a fountain right outside the Lucky Lagoon, although not before he promises to use Ennis’s money to take care of his family after he’s gone.

Perry Mason Season 1
Matthew Rhys in Perry Mason Season 1 finale – Photograph by Merrick Morton / HBO /

Perry Mason Season 1 finale recap: The future of Mason & Associates.

As the season comes to a close, we get to see what the future of Mason & Associates will look like with Perry’s new team as he heads into a legitimate future as an attorney. Della will essentially be on equal footing with Perry, especially within the next few years as she goes to night school and prepares to become a lawyer herself.

Pete quits, opting to go work for Hamilton, who goes after the church and their scandalous money trail. That leaves former detective Paul Drake as Perry’s new lead investigator. Paul is doing much better these days with Ennis out of his hair and outside of a precinct that would never let him grow.

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Clara is back home and has given birth to their new child and he has a new job alongside Perry and Della. They even get their first new client in a woman named Eva Griffin (Deadline has some hints about her character — who is likey a direct homage to the original Perry Mason), who walks into the office and says she’s in trouble. Could she be the new star of Perry Mason Season 2?

Also, Lupe gets Perry’s land, after all. He agrees to sell it to her for her offered price and it seems to signify that he’s prepared to close the old chapter of his life and really embrace what’s ahead for him.

“The price was fair. Look after the cows,” writes Perry in a note to Lupe.

Perry Mason Season 1 finale recap: The tale of Sister Alice.

The one thing I’m not sure I’m happy with is Sister Alice’s ending. After running off in the previous episode, we don’t see her until the final moments of the finale. Birdy is doing just fine with Emily and the fake-new baby Charlie being touted around town as proof they resurrected the infant. The church is still thriving, albeit under more lies and scrutiny.

Elsewhere, Alice has ditched her blond wig in favor of a more subdued, casual brown bob, and she works as a waitress in a small coastal town. Perry tracks her down and the two share a moment looking out across the sea. He does ask her if she knows, or was responsible, for moving Charlie’s body out of his coffin, but Alice plays coy with the questions.

He also asks her if she really thought she could resurrect Alice.

“I did, didn’t I?” responds Alice.

And in the final seconds, Perry takes out the small piece of thread he saved way back in the first episode, the thread used to stitch poor Charlie’s eyes open, and releases into the sea, laying him to rest at last.

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What did you think of the Perry Mason Season 1 finale? Were you satisfied with how it all ended?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

All eight episodes of Perry Mason Season 1 are now available to stream on HBO Max.