Perry Mason has concluded his trial, at least for the time being. The prequel to the classic series, which starred Matthew Rhys and was executive produced by Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey of Team Downey, has been cancelled by HBO for a third season. The news comes nearly a month after the April 24 premiere of the Season 2 finale.
“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,” HBO said in a statement to Deadline. “While we won’t be moving forward with another season of the series, we are excited to continue working with the brilliant creatives at Team Downey on future projects.”
Speaking ahead of the Season 2 finale, Downey Jr. addressed the prospect for a third season. “I mean wouldn’t that be nice?,” he told Deadline. “I think that Matthew and all the other people populating it in front of the screen, all our people behind the scenes, have built this incredible world that I know we could continue to tell really interesting stories about. We would be lying if we didn’t say we’ve certainly been talking to Michael a ton about a third season, but our fate rests in the hands of others.”
A few weeks ago, HBO's drama head Francesca Orsi talked to Deadline about the ongoing "viewership relative to budget" review of several sophomore shows, including Perry Mason.
“Each show has a job to do, given the price tag that we give to it, and there’s a viewership. component, and there’s a critical response element to it and of course, the buzz nature of a show. It’s those elements that we are always keeping in mind and discussing relative to whether or not a show will continue,” she said. “That factors in for Perry Mason, for Winning Time, for instance, for Gilded Age, so we have to play everything out and see how well they do.”
HBO's Perry Mason is still a contender for awards this year. Rhys was nominated for four Emmys in its first season, including Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
In Season 2, set in the most obviously terrible year of the Downturn, Perry (Rhys) and Della (Juliet Rylance) seek after common cases rather than the turbulent work that criminal regulation involves. An open-and-shut case surpasses the city of Los Angeles, and Perry's quest for equity uncovers that not all things are consistently as it appears. Perry was in prison at the end of Season 2's cliffhanger finale.
Both writers and co-showrunners were Michael Begler and Jack Amiel. Erle Stanley Gardner's characters serve as the basis for the show.
“We’re really proud of Perry Mason and loved working with Team Downey and Michael Begler this season on the show,” Orsi said. “I’m really proud of what we delivered for Season 2.”
Team Downey's HBO projects incorporate the upcoming series The Sympathizer, in which Downey Jr. plays four characters.