The Final Cases and Season of "Perry Mason" Arrive on DVD Review

Long before Dick Wolf cornered the market on legal drama, before James Spader was Boston Legal, the Navy anted up in JAG, and Matlock doubled down on this very series, Perry Mason walked the boards of justice.

Expertly played by Raymond Burr, who chalked up a Best Actor Emmy and another with the amusingly outdated title Best Actor Continuous Character, Perry Mason ran for a staggering 271 episodes over nine seasons from 1957-1966. Volume 1 includes the first fifteen episodes, spanning murder suspects and fortunetellers; widowers and race drivers.

As the lawyer who takes on impossible defense cases with the help of his trusty secretary, Della Street (Barbara Hale) and answer-man P.I. Paul Drake (William Hopper), Mason doesn’t quit until his client's acquitted. Always on his heels, hungry for the guilty verdict, is D.A. Hamilton Burger (William Talman) and his cohort Lieutenant Steve Drumm (Richard Anderson). This flavor of good-ol’ fashioned rivalry has sputtered off, leaving the likes of the A-Team’s Colonel Decker in the lurch.

Perry Mason remains on the most audience loved of all legal shows, for good reason. In an era where the grittiest crimes air in daylong marathons, begging the question how SVU’s sordid sex crimes and graphic content can be so easily available to a kid with a remote, Perry Mason is clean, wholesome family fun. The crime is always murder, but without the horrifically detailed sequence of the actual crime; CSI’s hack-and-slash or SVU’s panties-neck-choke; though nothing America can churn out holds a candle to the brilliance of the BBC, with Luther setting a high bar. While sensibilities have undoubtedly changed and these more gruesome telecasts have a large pull, it’s still nice to welcome a slick, upstanding lawyer into your living room.



"Perry Mason - Final Season Vol. 1" is on sale June 11, 2013 and is not rated. Crime, Drama, Mystery. Written by Erle Stanley Gardner. Starring Barbara Hale, Raymond Burr, William Hopper.

Kyle North • Staff Writer


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