In an unexpected turn of events, the original showrunners for the HBO series Perry Mason have been replaced for the show’s second season.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Begler and Jack Amiel will take over for Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones. Begler and Amiel are most known for their involvement in the acclaimed series The Knick. This news raises questions about what impact their new gig will have on their involvement in the newly resurrected The Knick revival. Collider had previously reported the duo had already written a pilot for a new season with Steven Soderbergh and Barry Jenkins attached plus André Holland returning to reprise his role.
As for what this means for the alcoholic private detective-turned-lawyer Perry Mason, played by a perfectly cast Matthew Rhys, the change in direction may represent a desire to take the show in a different creative direction. Considering how the show had struggled to resolve some of the key plotlines, perhaps the new showrunners will breathe life into some unforeseen path.
Fitzgerald and Jones had previously spoken to Collider about their plans for another season, indicating that they had fully intended to continue with the story. In retrospect, it certainly would now appear that they didn’t fully foresee their sudden departure from the show:
COLLIDER: When you tell everyone that this is the origin story for the character, it gives a sense that there’s more story to tell. Had you always had a bigger plan for the character? Do you already have a plan for Season 2?
JONES: There’s definitely a plan. We’ve got 87 books that we can dive into and take whatever we need from. There is plenty of future out there for Perry Mason, should the gods of HBO financing be so inclined to give us that opportunity. There’s plenty there. I think we’re just scratching the surface with a lot of stuff. There’s a lot to do.
FITZGERALD: We just tried to get the super friends – Della, Paul, and Perry – together. I assume, with all sorts of workplace beginnings, there will be tensions. You’ve gotta figure some stuff out when you’re all suddenly sharing space and sharing cases together. There are 87 fucking novels. That’s a lot. It seems they were right about one thing, there is plenty of future out there for character. It just won’t include them in it. With all this in mind, the change in leadership being over creative differences certainly seems like a possibility.
It also comes off the back of the news that Tatiana Maslany would be leaving the show as well. Maslany was a central figure as Sister Alice, a wannabe prophet who claimed to commune with God. Maslany had also told Collider that she didn’t think her character’s arc had concluded and that it was only “the first chapter” for her.
Even with all the changes, another season of the show is an intriguing one as the setting and characters all felt very genuine. Their flaws, of which there were many, only made it all the more so. Whether the new showrunners can take a second season to interesting places will now be something audiences look at all the closer. With all the shakeups, it’s unclear when the second season of Perry Mason will come to HBO.