Perry Mason is back: First look at Matthew Rhys as the classic TV lawyer

The limited series coming in June will tell the origin story of the famed defence attorney as he sets out on his career. Don’t miss it on Sky Atlantic with NOW TV.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 6 June 2020 - 1.37pm
Drama NOW TV

Perry Mason

Watch Perry Mason on Sky Atlantic with NOW TV from Monday 22nd June.

Matthew Rhys is bringing back Erle Stanley Gardner’s legendary criminal defence lawyer Perry Mason to TV.

The character featured in more than 80 novels and short stories, before going on to become a hugely successful TV fixture in the 1950s and ‘60s when he was played by Raymond Burr.

HBO is bringing back the character with a new angle, taking a look at the origin story of Mason in 1930s Los Angeles.

This new take on Mason presents a fallible and flawed character who is traumatised by his experiences during the First World War in France.

Living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator, he is also suffering the effects of a broken marriage.

Los Angeles is booming while the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression – but when a major case comes his way, Mason exposes a fractured city as he uncovers the truth of the crime.

How to watch Perry Mason

Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason on Sky Atlantic ©2020 Warner Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Watch Perry Mason on Sky Atlantic with NOW TV from Monday June 22.

Sky Atlantic is a channel on the NOW TV Entertainment Pass.

Who is playing Perry Mason?

Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason on Sky Atlantic ©2020 Warner Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Matthew Rhys takes on the classic character, his first full-time role in a TV series since The Americans ended in 2018.

Rhys won Golden Globe nominations and an Emmy for playing Philip Jennings in the critically acclaimed Cold War drama.

His other TV credits include playing Kevin Walker in Brothers & Sisters and Mr Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley.

His film career includes playing Lloyd Vogel opposite Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, Daniel Ellsberg in political thriller The Post and Dylan Thomas in romantic drama The Edge of Love.

Who else is in the cast?

Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason on Sky Atlantic ©2020 Warner Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Perry Mason has a stellar cast including John Lithgow (The Crown), who plays Mason’s employer and trial lawyer E.B. Jonathan.

It also features Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Juliet Rylance (McMafia) and Matt Frewer.

How will it be different to the classic Raymond Burr series?

In the Raymond Burr TV series and the original Erle Stanley Gardner novel, Mason was introduced as an already brilliant lawyer.

This new series takes a different route, exploring his early years and meets the man before his career took off.

Rhys told TV Insider: "From the get-go you know that this is not going to be your parents' Perry Mason.

"He is so fallible and flawed that I couldn't say no to the role."

However, even in his early years there are characteristics fans will recognise in Mason.

Mason is still driven by injustice and righting wrongs in the world and even though he may not aware of it, he’s learning about the law as he investigates cases.

Watch the first-look trailer

Watch Perry Mason on Sky Atlantic with the NOW TV Entertainment Pass from Monday June 22.