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HBO's Perry Mason Canceled After Season 2

From television shows to movies, criminal defense lawyer Perry Mason was a pop culture staple throughout the second half of the 20th century. Naturally, his time in the mainstream spotlight faded over time, though efforts were eventually made to bring him back to the forefront of entertainment. In 2020, a prequel series set in the 1930s dedicated to Mason's origin arrived on HBO, with Matthew Rhys brought in to play a younger version of him. However, it seems that, once again, Mason is about to disappear from the airwaves.

In a June 6 report by Deadline, it came to light that "Perry Mason" will not continue. The powers that be at HBO chose not to renew the program for a third season in the wake of Season 2's completion in April. Thus, the prequel chronicling the early legal exploits of the title character ends with a mere 16 episodes to its name. "We are tremendously grateful for the remarkable work of Matthew Rhys and the unrivaled cast and crew of 'Perry Mason' for their reimagining of such a treasured and storied franchise," an HBO representative told Deadline.

An exact reason for the end of "Perry Mason" hasn't come to light, though potential reasons for its cancellation may have been mentioned not long ago.

What led to the demise of Perry Mason?

Not long before the end of "Perry Mason" became a reality, Deadline spoke with HBO's head of drama, Francesca Orsi. During the interview, the chat went in the direction of "Perry Mason" and other shows that were due for renewals or cancellations, which led Orsi to shed some light on what might give a title a fighting chance or cause it to end up off the programming slate. "We're just assessing various shows, what more we need to be making, what more we can make, what more we have, the return in life of a series," she said at the time.

Continuing, Orsi explained that there are multiple factors that influence the fate of a series. Viewership and budget are major motivators, as are critical reception and a series' ability to generate conversation among fans. "It's those elements that we are always keeping in mind and discussing relative to whether or not a show will continue," Orsi added. Evidently, "Perry Mason" must have missed the mark in one or more of these areas, thus leading to it ending up on the chopping block after just two seasons.

With all of that said, the TV scene once again lacks the presence of Perry Mason. Time will tell if another project focused on the character is on the way imminently or if we've got some waiting to do before he makes another comeback.