Perry Mason Season 1 Episode 1 Recap
HBO’s new series, Perry Mason, explores the origin story of Erle Stanley Gardner’s iconic lawyer character of novels, radio, film, and TV in a 1930s Los Angeles setting. In Perry Mason Season 1 Episode 1, Perry is hired to investigate a kidnapping-turned-homicide of a one-year-old boy, while trying to get paid more for his investigation into a famous comedian.
The Dodsons were paying a $100,000 ransom for the return of their one-year-old son, Charlie. They placed a suitcase of cash on a table as the voice on the phone told them their baby was in the Angel’s Flight car passing the apartment window. They raced to find the baby wrapped in a blanket, dead with his eyelids sewn open.
E.B. Jonathan, a respected attorney, approached Perry at his home in Van Nuys to hire him to investigate the case. They meet with Herman Baggerly, a wealthy man who didn’t trust the LAPD and wanted to help fellow members of his church, Radiant Assembly of God. The police detectives, Holcomb and Ennis, admitted that Matthew Dodson was their primary suspect. He was a grocer, but somehow the Dodsons were able to come up with the ransom. At the Dodsons’ home, Perry spoke with Charlie’s mother, Emily. With help from his friend at the morgue, Perry took pictures of the body and collected a sample of the thread from Charlie’s eyelid.
At the end of the episode, a group of thugs, including a man wearing a fedora, like in the police sketch, waited. Det. Ennis arrived with the suitcase from the ransom, but it was empty. He shot the men, and while he was brutally finishing off one of them, another escaped out the door. The man eventually fell to his death during his escape.
Chubby and Velma
We’re introduced to Perry on an investigation of comedic actor, Chubby Carmichael. The studio hired him and his partner, Pete Strickland, to track Chubby to catch him breaking the morals clause of his contract. First, they tailed Chubby to a nickelodeon, where he laughed at his own performance. Afterwards, they followed him to a rendezvous with starlet, Velma Fuller. Perry broke into the house to take pictures of their naked romp with pumpkin pie. Chubby chased Perry into the street, naked, and Perry and Pete escaped.
When delivering the photos of Chubby to the studio, he revealed that they were with their rising star, Velma Fuller. Instead of the $200 they’d agreed to pictures of Chubby, Perry was asking for $600. The head of the studio invited Perry and Pete to their swanky studio party, but he had Perry beaten and paid him $1.
Perry lived on a farm in Van Nuys next to an airstrip for plane tours. He came home to a package for his son marked ‘return to sender’. Perry regularly slept with Lupe, who tried to get Perry to sell her his farm. On New Year’s, Lupe found him drunk and angry on the phone, demanding to speak with his son.
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