Perry Mason (TV series)

Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. Many episodes are based on stories written by Gardner. Perry Mason was Hollywood’s first weekly one-hour series filmed for television, and remains one of the longest-running and most successful legal-themed television series. … Perry Mason is a distinguished criminal-defense lawyer practicing in Los Angeles, California, most of whose clients have been wrongly charged with murder. Each episode typically follows a formula. The first half of the show introduces a prospective murder victim and several people, including Mason’s client, who have strong motives to commit murder. Once the crime has been committed, Mason, his chain smoking private investigator Paul Drake, and his secretary Della Street investigate the case in parallel with the unimaginative and incompetent police detective (Lt. Arthur Tragg in the early years), who arrests Mason’s client largely on circumstantial evidence, and district attorney Hamilton Burger, who prosecutes the innocent suspect. In the second half, Mason spars with Burger in the courtroom, either during the trial or the preliminary hearing, in which the district attorney is required to produce just enough evidence to convince the judge that the defendant should be bound over for trial. As the courtroom proceedings advance, Mason often finds the case going against him, so outside the courtroom, either Mason himself or Paul and even Della pursue further leads. As the investigation or examination progresses, Mason and sometimes Burger uncover the morally ugly or even illegal conduct of some of the witnesses or participants, thus complicating the moral and legal intrigue of the case. Eventually, some detail uncovered or remark made inside or outside the courtroom gives Mason the clue he needs to enter into the line of questioning that causes the surprise perpetrator, whether on the stand or not, to break down and confess to the crime and admit to the appalling truth of the motive. With the exception of one episode, Mason’s client is always found to be innocent of the charge through the confession of another, and at no time are Mason’s clients ever declared not guilty, nor do the police or the district attorney offer an apology for nearly destroying the reputations and lives of Mason’s innocent clients. In the closing scene or epilogue, Paul and Della, and sometimes Burger and Tragg, ask Mason what gave him the clue he needed; after Mason explains, he or someone else makes a humorous remark. …”
W – List of Perry Mason episodes
YouTube: “Perry Mason” TV Intro

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