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Perry Mason Season 2 - What We Know So Far

HBO's "Perry Mason" was one of the most intriguing shows of 2020. A reimagining of the popular and long-running CBS series that starred Raymond Burr as the imposing criminal defense lawyer who first appeared in novels by Erle Stanley Gardner, the new series is a Depression-era prequel that dives into the character's origin story.

Emmy Award winner Matthew Rhys ("The Americans") stars as the eponymous character, who at the beginning of the series is a down-and-out private investigator in 1932 Los Angeles. Grumpy, drunk, and wrestling with lingering trauma from the Great War and a failed marriage, he is about a foot away from hitting rock bottom when we first meet him. However, he's soon hired onto a sensational case involving the death of a young child, Charlie Dodson, which puts him on a new and different path. By the end of Season 1, Perry has become the suited-up defense attorney he was always meant to be and has launched Mason & Associates alongside Della Street (Juliet Rylance) and detective Paul Drake (Chris Chalk).

So, where does the show go next? Here's everything we know about what's coming in the second season of "Perry Mason."

What is the release date for Perry Mason Season 2?

When HBO first announced it would be producing a new "Perry Mason" series, it was described as being a limited series. However, press materials ahead of the show's launch stealthily eliminated the limited series description, hinting that the show might become an ongoing series. In July 2020, when the first season was still airing, HBO announced that the show would indeed return for a second season, noting that it was the pay cable network's most-watched series premiere in almost two years.

"It has been an exciting journey to work with the immensely talented team behind 'Perry Mason,'" executive vice president of HBO Programming Francesca Orsi told Variety at the time. "Viewers have relished being transported back in time to 1930s Los Angeles each week, and we are thrilled to welcome the show back for a second season."

Unfortunately, this is the extent of what we know about Season 2. As of right now, no premiere date for a second season has been set and there has been no word of a production start date either, which makes it much harder to estimate when we might see Perry Mason back in action. As star Matthew Rhys put it to Deadline as recently as May 2021, "That's an ever-moving set of goalposts. It's been moving steadily like an iceberg for some time. And I think we're just basically looking at winter now."

Who will be in Perry Mason Season 2?

Again, there is very little information about Season 2 of "Perry Mason" at this time, so it's unclear exactly who from the cast will be returning for the next chapter. However, it's pretty safe to say that Matthew Rhys will be back as the title character, and it would make sense for Juliet Rylance to return as fan favorite Della Street. Similarly, you can probably count on Chris Chalk reprising his role as Paul Drake. Both Della and Paul are characters who appeared in the literary works of Erle Stanley Gardner as well as the original TV show.

Behind the camera, Season 2 has acquired two new showrunners, and they're both heavy-hitters: Michael Begler and Jack Amiel, who previously worked on period medical drama "The Knick," will be taking over the helm (via The Hollywood Reporter). They take over for Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones, who created "Perry Mason," but moved onto other projects.

One actor who Begler and Amiel likely won't have at their disposal is John Lithgow, whose character, Elias Birchard "E.B." Jonathan, was a mentor figure of sorts for Perry. He met his demise during the middle of Season 1, so unless the show employs the use of more flashbacks in Season 2, you likely won't see him again.

Unfortunately, we do know one actor who is definitively not returning, and it's a real downer: Tatiana Maslany, who plays Sister Alice in Season 1, has been conflicted out of a second turn on the HBO period drama, according to a story broken by TVLine. Maslany fans are free to speculate about just what might be keeping her from Season 2. We're sure it's something exciting.

When asked about a second season last year during an interview with Collider, executive producer Susan Downey said the decision regarding who might return will be determined by what the story requires. "You really have to start with what's the story and journey of our three leads, and what are the themes we want to play with," she said. "And then that has to kind of dictate the worlds we go in and the other characters that end up populating it."

We do know that two recurring characters from Season 1, Eric Lange's Detective Gene Holcombe and Justin Kirk's Assistant DA Hamilton Burger, have been upgraded to series regulars (via Screen Rant). What that means for Season 2, we can only speculate, but it can only be a good thing to have more of these two talents in the mix.

What is the plot of Perry Mason Season 2?

The first season of "Perry Mason" was meant to provide more depth to characters who'd never really been given backstories in previous iterations. Perry, Paul, and Della were all outsiders who took on the system over the course of the show's first season, and in doing so managed to find themselves or discover what they wanted from life. Now that Perry is an attorney and has shed a little of what was holding him back early on, it's reasonable to believe that the show will continue to focus on his dedicated fight for justice alongside people like Della and Paul. What that looks like, though, is unclear.

Based on what we know about the show's first season, it's possible that the show will once again follow a single case over the course of its second season. However, critics found the ongoing mystery and case at the center of the show somewhat lacking, so it's also possible the writers will want to move away from a season-long arc and take on smaller cases. 

Of course, it's also possible that the show will begin adapting some of Gardner's novels for the screen now that the table has been set and everyone is in their rightful place. The first season actually ends with a nod to Eva Griffin, who appeared in the Perry Mason novel "The Case of the Velvet Claws," so don't be surprised if the show begins to pull from the page as it evolves.

In that May interview with Deadline, Rhys didn't offer up many details, but he did say, "You are picking up where you left off, to a degree, but you're also beginning something completely new and different. Being the person he is, experiencing the judicial system and its obstacles, I think will be very interesting, hopefully.