Monday, March 20, 2023

REVIEW: 'Perry Mason' - Many Forces Try to Force Perry to Drop His Defense of the Gallardo Brothers in 'Chapter Eleven'

HBO's Perry Mason - Episode 2.03 "Chapter Eleven"

As Rafael and Mateo face discrimination from their fellow inmates and the court, Perry continues his push for justice, while Della engages the help of wealthy socialite Camilla Nygaard. Later, Paul chases leads in the Hooverville, and Perry goes head-to-head with tycoon Lydell McCutcheon.

"Chapter Eleven" was written by Jack Amiel & Michael Begler and directed by Jessica Lowrey

Regardless of the outcome at trial, Rafael and Mateo will have depressing lives filled with very few opportunities. Nothing Perry can do will dramatically improve their lives. That's the argument offered by Lydell to prevent Perry from fighting so hard on their behalf. The system and public opinion have already decided their guilt. Rafael and Mateo have never been to Mexico. And yet, the public views them as dangerous criminals who crossed the border solely to murder people in this prosperous city. They were stopped before their killing spree could go any further. So much attention is placed on them because they killed an influential member of society. None of this would have befallen them if they simply killed someone less notable. It's an absolutely horrifying argument. One that Perry doesn't instinctively want to believe. However, he's susceptible to the idea that he is no good to anyone. He successfully defended Emily Dodson. Months later, she died from suicide. In the letters she sent to Perry, she outlined her pain and desire to inflict this punishment on herself. He did nothing. He feels responsible for everything that happened to her. That's not true at all. He's not the reason why her son was killed. The world still thinks she should have been punished for that crime. Perry made his case. No one was listening. No one was willing to reach out with empathy. Perry sure doesn't know how to do that. He doesn't even know how to trust Della in their partnership. She wants this business to be successful. And yet, Perry offered no explanation for why they made the shift from criminal to civil work. She embraced it completely. She focused her studies on the law. She's committed to this path. So much still has to be perfectly laid out for Perry. Even then, he's not guaranteed successful. He continues to flounder at every aspect of life. Linda wants Teddy to know his father. And yet, Perry would rather distract him with trains and movies instead of ensuring he does his homework. Fortunately, Teddy has a very understanding teacher who shares a playful banter with Perry. It's still a narrative framed around Perry trying his best to not cause more pain. He believes the Gallardo brothers are innocent. That's why he took the case. The intimidation has started. He faces off with a judge who is skeptical about the entire role of the idealistic defense attorney. He sees it as nothing more than a losing battle. It's not something any smart lawyer should devote their career to. And then, Lydell is willing to hurt anyone who dares expose anything unseemly about his son's business ventures. Lydell is accustomed to getting what he wants. He has the means and influence to accomplish those lofty goals on his name alone. The game is tilted in his favor. He built this city at the expanse of families like the Gallardo's. No one is willing to recognize that. Instead, it's all shifted to the possibility that the brothers may have truly committed the crime.

Paul conducts a makeshift ballistics test. He went to the Hooverville to fact check the story Rafael and Mateo told Perry about their family history. Perry's team barely has any time to investigate and build a defense. The prosecution wants a fast trial and the judge complies. They operate as if the guilt has already been proven. Their case is built entirely on the evidence the police found in the immediate aftermath that pointed to the brothers. They hardly looked at any other suspects. And yet, the police lie. Holcomb is doing so even to his own family. He makes them believe he is still on the force. Instead, he's trying to make his money back after losing big with Brooks. He wants nothing more than to move out of this city. That's just not possible right now. He's stuck. Perry is ready to identify Holcomb as the true killer. He has the motivation for the crime. Della points out the lack of the evidence. The clues they have don't point in a conclusive direction. They only introduce more mysteries. They use these connections to infer certain details. They see a much larger story that details how the city of Los Angeles was created in the first place. All of these power brokers made their fortunes based on what was possible. They benefitted greatly. Meanwhile, so many citizens are struggling to get by. Not everyone has the opportunity to go horseback riding with their father or examine the environment for any land deals with valuable resources underneath. Camilla and Lydell have rules built on respect. They are always looking to add to their fortunes. They have keen business instincts that have provided so much. They remain in close proximity to this case. The world created in Los Angeles is far removed from the humble beginnings the judge details. And yet, he too has done very well for himself. Even Perry's life story is remarkably different. The reason why he lost his family farm is different than how Gallardo farm was taken. Perry had a choice. He opted not to hold onto that aspect of his legacy. He saw the potential in exploring something new. He had the time to agonize over that decision. He's still welcome in that space. The atmosphere has shifted. It's still available to him. Meanwhile, Rafael and Mateo can't go to the place they once knew so well. They have no chance to build something. Instead, it's just a life moving from one place to the next. It takes so much simply to offer them slight protection in prison. The system isn't set up for them to succeed. Perry believes he's investigating all of this genuinely. Even he is being pulled by systems out of his control. He wants to maintain his own personal identity and stand firm in his beliefs. That's hard to do when so much is set up for him to fail. And now, he has reason to doubt his clients' story. That places more animosity into the situation that takes time away from examining how these injustices were allowed to occur. Perry agonizes over so much. Some of it is outside of his control. He has to lean on others for support. That remains hard for him to do. He's not alone on this path. He just carries himself like that so much of the time.