WELCOME TO LOS AMBIGUOUS - Perry Mason
The second season of HBO's excellent reimagining of the Raymond Burr TV vehicle of the early 60s ventures into untraveled territory with the conclusion of Season 2.
Known as the realistic ending, the show explores pre-WWII Los Angeles and a sensationalized show trial with a built-in foregone conclusion.
Season 2 also checks so many boxes, the viewer might have a PTSD flashback to taking the SAT on a hungover Saturday morning . . .
Matthew Rhys, the speech-impeded performer from "The Americans" reprises his role as the titular character. Juliet Rylance (Faux Lesbian Number One) also returns as Della Street. Not only does Ms. Rylance continue to shove her phony LGBTQ status in the viewers' face, but also displays rarified faux feminism as the smarter partner in Mason's law firm. Tiresome.
Rounding out the fine cast, Justin Kirk as the obligatory gay (Check!) D.A. and Chris Chalk as the required POC (Check!) investigator for Mason. Chalk is a particularly galling quota cast member as he is far and away the best actor of the bunch. He steals every scene, and even withstands the brilliance of Hope Davis as the other conflicted Lesbian (Check!), Camilla Nygaard. And she plays such an awful character that a more despicable bad buy would be hard to come by on your flat-screeen TV.
According to the show, if the math is correct, Los Angeles in the 30s was 40% Gay; 40% Black; 10% Reprehensible Mexicans; and 10% Soon-To-Be-Beleaguered Whitey. It's a distraction for the show, but one that can be ignored because the series is just so damned good.
Mason (Rhys) takes on the murder case of Brooks McCutcheon, idiot son of Lydell McCutcheon (A star turn by Paul Raci). Two patsy Mexican immigrants are set-up for the show trial, and that's where the ambiguity begins.
Along the way, Rhys is sandbagged by one of his own investigators, deceived by the first attractive woman he's slept with in two seasons, and sacrifices his own reputation in a vain attempt to rescue the defendants.
For those jonesing for The Happy Ending, please take solace in the reality of the final episode, which, like life, is a giant compromise where not everyone gets what they want or deserve.
Kudos to the creator and showrunner for the creative uniqueness and risk-taking of Perry Mason: Season 2. A bitch slap to both of you for box-checking the viewer into an unrealistic demographic of the depression era Tinsel Town.