Indeed, the series, which stars The Americans‘ Matthew Rhys as author Erle Stanley Gardner’s classic titular crime-solving lawyer, has managed to procure a Season 2 renewal slightly past the midway point of Season 1, which most recently aired its July 19 episode, the fifth of eight for the inaugural outing. The official announcement was made by Francesca Orsi, Executive Vice President, HBO Programming.
“It has been an exciting journey to work with the immensely talented team behind Perry Mason,” said Orsi. “Viewers have relished being transported back in time to 1930’s Los Angeles each week, and we are thrilled to welcome the show back for a second season.”
HBO cites that Perry Mason’s June 21 debut episode was seen by a total of 8 million viewers, making it the premium cable channel’s most-watched series premiere in nearly two years. Said viewership numbers are likely substantially boosted by un-cited streaming and DVR metrics, with Nielsen’s reported live viewership for the episode being slightly under a million viewers. Yet, the series has maintained a steady viewership in the latter category.
The renewal might also be qualitatively based, since the show—which currently sits on a 77% average score on RottenTomatoes—has received plenty of critical praise (including in our own initial review,) for its stylish, Great Depression-era approach to a classic franchise, which, having been famously exemplified by decades’ worth of Raymond Burr’s television moral stalwart portrayal, sees Rhys utilizing an anti-hero approach to the character, appropriately stoic enough to investigate the grisly crimes of a Los Angeles underbelly that seedier than any previous iteration.
Additionally, the strength of HBO’s Perry Mason is also attributed to the titular character’s chemistry with a supporting cast consisting of partner Pete Strickland (Shea Whigham), mentor E.B. Jonathan (John Lithgow) and district attorney Maynard Barnes (Stephen Root), which effectively conveys Perry’s various facets and inherent occupational conflicts between benevolence and the kind of expedient apathy necessary to survive in the show’s corrupted concrete jungle. Plus, the series is boosted by the presence of shady eccentric evangelical leader Sister Alice (Tatiana Maslany), whose tithe is teeming due to her magnetic influence on the radio, exemplifying the façade behind which the seediness of the city hides.
The first season of Perry Mason operates under creators/writers/showrunners Ron Fitzgerald & Rolin Jones (Friday Night Lights, Weeds). The duo are also among the show’s gaggle of executive producers, which also consists of Timothy Van Patten (who also directs), Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, Amanda Burrell, Ron Fitzgerald and Joe Horacek. They are joined by co-executive producer Aida Rodgers and star Matthew Rhys, who is credited as a producer. Pertinently, Robert Downey Jr.’s EP credit here stems back to his involvement (as would-be star,) of the project’s early incarnation as a project from True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto. However, with regard to Season 2, HBO has neither confirmed its retention of this creative team or revealed any personnel changes.
There’s no release or production window to cite for Perry Mason Season 2 as of yet, but we will certainly keep on top of the news once it arrives.