Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) is preparing to wrap up his first case in the season 1 finale of HBO's noir reboot, but there's good news too: HBO already ordered Perry Mason season 2. Details on what's next for the newly minted lawyer are scarce for now, but with his origin story officially told, Perry's future feels limitless. Whether series creators Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones decide to pull a story from one of author Erle Stanley Gardner's 80 plus novels about the lawyer, or come up with another Chinatown-esque plot of their own, there's certainly no shortage of source material for them to draw from.
With Hollywood slowly getting TV and film productions underway again after the pandemic forced the industry to shut down, Perry Mason season 2 could potentially be looking at a 2021 premiere. However, if the series follows the lead of fellow HBO prestige series like Westworld and Insecure, there could be as many as two years between seasons. HBO hasn't shared details on when production on the second season will begin, or even which actors will return for Perry's next big case, but as the Emily Dodson case winds down it's easy to imagine what the series' future could hold.
One thing viewers can count on is that season 2 won't be hampered by the limitations of Perry's status as a P.I. since the character finally gained his law license in episode 6. This is good news for fans of courtroom drama and the original Perry Mason TV series. HBO won't be tossing the pulp vibes away for a procedural storytelling approach, but next season Perry will be a lawyer with courtroom experience right from the start, which will change how he approaches cases (and how clients approach him).
The prospect of Rhys playing a more confident Perry with a reputation for taking on seemingly impossible cases is tantalizing, but it's not nearly as exciting as pondering what this means for Della (Juliet Rylance) and Paul Drake (Chris Chalk). Watching Paul navigate the Los Angeles police department as a Black man in the '30s, and Della grapple with keeping her sexuality a secret have been highlights of the first season. With Perry now entrenched in winning cases within the confines of a courtroom, Della and Paul should be more integral to the plot as they handle much of the legwork for their boss.
Fitzgerald and Jones have been straightforward about their desire to steep the story in the tropes of classic crime fiction. Viewers looking for clues about what season 2 will bring should skip rewatching the '50s TV series and go straight for the works of Gardner, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett. In a July interview with Town & Country, the series creators revealed that those were the stories they looked to when it came time to think about the show's future. "There’s so much great stuff in these books, and in the other pulp fiction we read from the Erle Stanley Gardner universe,” Jones said. “Knowing we wanted multiple seasons of this show, we tried to take dogmatic ideas about justice and the nature of men and use those as tentpoles to think about how a guy comes around to those ways of seeing things.”
When Perry Mason returns for a second season, the titular hero will no longer be searching for his purpose in the world as he was at the start of season 1. Viewers can count on him doggedly seeking to defend the innocent right from the start, which can only lead to a new and challenging case for the famed lawyer to solve with a little help from his friends.