Monday, April 17, 2023

REVIEW: 'Perry Mason' - Members of the Defense and Prosecution Team Up to Unravel a Conspiracy in 'Chapter Fifteen'

HBO's Perry Mason - Episode 2.07 "Chapter Fifteen"

Facing career-ending accusations and potential jail time, Perry must turn to Strickland to stay ahead of the prosecution - and Lydell. With the Gallardos' fate in the balance, Della presses Hamilton for answers, while Paul enlists Clara to infiltrate a wealthy white suburb in pursuit of the truth.

"Chapter Fifteen" was written by Mauricio Katz & Pedro Peirano and directed by Nina Lopez-Corrado

Brooks' murder was ultimately the result of a much larger scheme. Perry's defense of the Gallardo brothers has largely revolved around trying to understand the business dealings of this family. The brothers are guilty of a crime. That can no longer be denied. The gun has been retrieved from Perry's safe. He is now at risk of being arrested as an accessory to the murder after the fact. He withheld crucial evidence. Judge Durkin needs to know how the prosecution intends to continue. He also wants to know about any potential charges against Perry. The claims are serious and damning. Perry disregarded the law. Strickland broke into the office and delivered this evidence to Milligan. The prosecutor is eager to celebrate. He views this as the ultimate victory. It's not the end of the story though. In fact, it propels Strickland to reach out to Perry to explain himself. That moment is necessary so that Perry doesn't misplace his emotions. Of course, Ginny isn't seen at all. He accused her of betraying his confidence. He proved himself as incapable of having a mature conversation. He couldn't handle the pressure. That's still on display when he gets into a fight with Strickland. Paul and Della feel the exact same impulse. They are furious when Perry returns to the office with Strickland offering to help. Strickland apparently has no true loyalties. He's working both sides of this case. He faces no accountability for his actions. He simply has too many vested interests. He doesn't care about the outcome. He's willing to prove himself at his job and help an old friend solve the underlying mystery. He gets caught up in the heat of the moment. As such, he doesn't think through what he has just done until afterwards. That doesn't always make him the most consistent character. The vitriol towards him is earned in some instances. However, the show undercuts itself by displaying the image of Perry and Strickland walking out of the ocean together right away. That's the introduction to the episode. The drama then flashes back a day to reveal how the two got to that point. It's not necessary whatsoever. It affirms that everything will be functional and healthy between them. That robs the intensity of the betrayal. Those emotions are still raw. Everything might change. Perry prides himself as a lawyer now. And yet, the District Attorney is ready to arrest him. Those are the stakes of this story. Strickland helped produce that outcome. Rafael and Mateo now have to resign themselves to dire fates in prison. They felt like they had no other choices. Killing Brooks was the only way they could make money. Rafael had art school though. He was talented enough to get accepted. Now, that dream will never happen. It was simply too tempting to exact revenge on the family that destroyed their once flourishing neighborhood.

This episode builds to the reveal of who actually ordered Brooks' murder. He was subpoenaed by federal authorities to testify to a grand jury about his father's illegal shipping scheme. Lydell operated ships with fruits and vegetables as cargo. While in transit, the crew would throw the cargo overboard to replace it with oil destined for Japan. That's an illegal action as the Asian country is embargoed from accepting the precious resource in response to their autocratic leadership. Brooks was running a side hustle where he took the free produce for his other ventures. He saw a nice profit from that. That was enough involvement to grab the attention of federal investigators. Della is surprised when Ham brings up the other probes into this family. She pushes him to reveal the blackmail he has endured. That's the only reason why he wants to close this case quickly. Someone is pressuring him to produce a verdict. They want this story to be over. As long as it remains open, the more likely it is that the truth will be exposed. Perry and his team have all the clues to solve the mystery. The audience is aided by the way in which the stories are presented. Early on, Lydell and Camilla are seen making a deal with Japanese businessmen. She is more impressive while Lydell is furious over her influence. She is no longer solely being seen from Della's perspective. She is more than an intriguing offer for what Della could be doing professionally instead of being Perry's partner. That was always too limiting. As such, this twist feels right. Camilla made her feelings known about Brooks right away too. That was the basis for her initial conversation with Perry. That was the extent of it too. It's been far more substantial with Della. This case has gotten personal for all involved. No one can deny that. Paul didn't realize just how far-reaching those consequences would be. However, it's his responsibility to be open and honest in his marriage. He needs to trust Clara with the secrets he carries. She can handle a lot. She supports him regardless. She's now pulled into the drama. She catches sight of the mysterious woman whose drug habit ultimately reveals Camilla's complicity. Again, all the pieces lined up perfectly. However, it was the expected twist. It was the direction the story was moving towards. As such, the crafting of the narrative shouldn't make it as some massive reveal that uproots everything that previously occurred. It's simply characters being enhanced by the show providing more depth. Lydell would never kill his own son. He wanted Brooks to escape. He didn't listen. He was too focused on his pursuit of a baseball stadium. He yearned to leave his own mark. Instead, Camilla ordered his death because he was incapable of seeing the larger picture that allowed the business interests of his family to thrive for years. They came at the expense of so many. Only now is that starting to be revealed. It won't be enough to change much for the many marginalized communities. Perry still works to get the truth into the public record on behalf of his clients. That's the noble work he must do even if their fates are largely determined already.