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Perry Mason: The True Story Behind Sister Alice

While "Perry Mason" was originally planned as a one-and-done mini-series, the HBO mystery crime thriller recently wrapped up its second season, with hopes of a third in the future. While Season 2 was quite different from the first season in terms of its focus, the show was actually better reviewed in its sophomore run than in its initial series.

Still, one of the most compelling central characters in the first season is Sister Alice (Tatiana Maslany), a radio evangelist who claims to have miraculous powers. While Maslany's performance was roundly praised, her character disappeared after a traumatic incident at the end of the first season and didn't appear in Season 2 of "Perry Mason."

However, Sister Alice, like many other aspects of "Perry Mason," is actually inspired by a real-life person. Aimee Semple McPherson was a famed Pentecostal evangelist in the 1920s and 1930s and she was widely known for filling up massive rooms with adoring fans, just like Sister Alice does in "Perry Mason." Furthermore, she was also embroiled in a highly debated event in true crime history from the era.

There are a ton of parallels between Sister Alice and McPherson

While Aimee Semple McPherson was widely known for her moving sermons and charismatic knack for convincing others of the grace of God, she was also a faith healer who put on demonstrations of her abilities in front of large groups of people, again, very much like Sister Alice in "Perry Mason."

On the other hand, while Alice was increasingly involved in a case that centered around the murder of an infant who had been kidnapped for ransom, the crime that McPherson was suspected of being a part of was her own disappearance. The preacher and public figure disappeared from a beach in Santa Monica on May 18th, 1926, only to miraculously reappear a little over a month later.

While tens of thousands gathered to rejoice in the supposed miracle of her reappearance, some were more skeptical of McPherson's motivations. As reporters and investigators looked into her disappearance, many began to suspect that the evangelist had fabricated the story in order to gain further publicity for her ministry.

Though the charges against McPherson were ultimately dropped, the press had turned on her completely following the allegations. McPherson continued to preach for the remainder of her life, but her legacy was mired by further scandals. Had Tatiana Maslany not been cast in "She-Hulk" and other major projects, it's also possible that an alternate Season 2 could have focused on the scandal that followed after the "Perry Mason" character miraculously returned herself in the HBO series.