Monday, March 13, 2023

REVIEW: 'Perry Mason' - Perry and Della Are Inspired to Take on the Case of Two Brothers Charged With Murder in 'Chapter Ten'

HBO's Perry Mason - Episode 2.02 "Chapter Ten"

After a manhunt pegs brothers Rafael and Mateo Gallardo for the McCutcheon murder, Perry initially resists taking the case... until a hunch reels him in. Later, Della goes on a date with a new flame while Paul wrestles with a shocking truth.

"Chapter Ten" was written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler and directed by Fernando Coimbra

Rafael and Mateo Gallardo are arrested for the murder of Brooks McCutcheon. They were identified after trying to pawn the gold coin Brooks had. They are further incriminated by a fingerprint being found on Brooks' vehicle. The prosecution believes they have a solid case. They are justified in seeking the death penalty. Rafael and Mateo are vagrants who killed someone from an incredibly influential family. Brooks had dreams about the expansion of this city. His vision included a baseball team calling Los Angeles home. And now, he will never see those dreams become reality. That possibility was cruelly taken away from him by two outsiders with no respect or common decency. That's the story being told. Rafael and Mateo's family reached out to Perry to take the case. Because of the Emily Dodson case, he now has the reputation for proving the innocence of those battling the criminal justice system. He is the only person who can save them. The Gallardo brothers have to provide for their family. Perry is reluctant because he doesn't practice this law anymore. This isn't what he wants to do. And yet, he's also inspired and invigorated by the details. He gets a little thought in his head that quickly consumes his entire world. Della does as well. She wants to know why Ham isn't offering a plea deal. The prosecutor he assigned to the case is clearly trying to make a name for himself. Ham doesn't have to abide by those ambitions. He is already the District Attorney. He already has an in with the powerful donor class. He presents himself well in that world even though he's largely bored by their interests. Della fits in too. She sees the beauty in the piano. It's still a professional obligation. She comes alive as a person when Anita takes her to a boxing match. It's not an environment she would ever pick for herself. And yet, Anita introduces the storytelling and provides a reason to get invested. She sets out to make Della comfortable with this world. That give and take quality is present. It strengthens what she wants. And yet, Della still presents as someone with the luxury of hiding away from the brutal nature of life. The Gallardo family doesn't have much. Della stands out when she visits their impoverished community. She just wanted to return a doll that was left behind. She clearly yearns for more because she sees the damage being done. She hasn't talked with Perry at that point yet. He understands that they need to approach this case as a team. And yet, the story is very much invested in both of them feeling drawn to the case before they express so to each other. It's all about trust as Paul points out. They eventually reach that point. The delay is fueled by the viewer understanding how everyone on the team is equally invested. It's not solely about whatever Perry wants to do.

Perry comes alive when he's investigating too. He's bored when tasked with coming up with contracts for Sunny to make new produce deals. In fact, Perry looks to exploit that client to finance his case defending the Gallardo brothers. Perry isn't above breaking the law to do what he thinks is right. The family is grateful for his efforts already. They believe they have a chance of being made whole with him on their side. It's still a daunting prospect because someone is actively meddling with the case. The evidence is tampered. Perry knows plenty of people have the opportunity to do so. He breaks into the garage storing Brooks' vehicle after all. He gathers his own evidence. He knows the brothers are innocent because the logistics don't line up. Brooks was shot from a distance. It takes someone trained to make that shot the first try. Rafael and Mateo don't present like that. They don't have a vendetta against Brooks either. It turns out he has made plenty of enemies through his business deals. Brooks operated as someone who believed paying someone for the job they did was a sign of weakness and failure. As such, he would stiff contractors on their bills and reincorporate his business under a new shell company. It was all about delaying the blame. Brooks came from money. He didn't inherit his father's entrepreneurial spirit. Lydell could take a loss knowing that it wouldn't doom his overall business. He carries his personal opinions on which deals were successful. That perception doesn't always line up with reality. Brooks didn't behave like that. He was so eager to prove himself that he didn't care who got hurt along the way. His family is now suffering. People are still conspiring to make this situation even worse for all involved. People want to throw the book at Rafael and Mateo. It's under the belief that they are inherently criminals. No one wants to acknowledge a promising art career or doing whatever it takes to support their family. Della still sees them as kids. They are barely old enough to face the most vicious punishment. And now, the entire world is targeting them with such vitriol. They are blamed for this murder. The evidence is being falsified to make it an even easier case for the prosecution. The system can't be supported if there is no trust. Strickland used Paul to make a case against a local loan shark. Paul was devastated upon learning the truth. That's not the reason why he joins Perry. It's work and he needs the money. He wants to believe Perry won't blindside him. He never knows. He has been inconsistent with the work offered in the past. That's all an extension of Perry not knowing who he is and what he wants to do. He's a lawyer. He's still pretty cynical about the world and what he can accomplish. He believes he failed Emily Dodson. And yet, the Gallardo family is now relying on him to prove his worth and save two of them from the worst fate imaginable. He takes that on with new gusto even though he could inevitably be setting himself up for personal failure all over again.