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HBO’s Reboot of ‘Perry Mason’ Features a Far Grittier Title Character

Fern Siegel

Perry Mason, the Los Angeles criminal-defense attorney, was known for never losing a case. The 1950s TV series, based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s books, starred Raymond Burr. His Mason was calm, cool and upstanding.

But the new incarnation of “Perry Mason,” streaming on HBO at 9 p.m. and HBO Max on June 21, is far grittier.

This reboot, an origin story, stars Emmy winner Matthew Rhys (“The Americans,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) and is set during the Depression, in 1932 LA. The city, home to the movie industry, is hosting the Summer Olympics.

Rhys’ Mason is a divorced war vet, drinking too much and living paycheck to paycheck. But when he gets involved in the case of a murdered infant, his destiny is set in motion.

Written by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald, each hour-long episode has a darker vibe. The original Mason crew remains: Juliet Rylance (“The Knick,” “McMafia”) as Della Street and Chris Chalk (“The Newsroom,” “Homeland”) as PI Paul Drake.

The series also stars Stephen Root, Gayle Rankin, Nate Corddry, Veronica Falcón, Jefferson Mays, Lili Taylor, Andrew Howard, Eric Lange and Robert Patrick.

Tim Van Patten (“Boardwalk Empire,” “The Wire”) will direct and executive-produce the series.

‘Perry Mason’ Trailer