We’re inching closer to the Perry Mason we know and love in “Chapter Six.” This Perry Mason may drop 100% more f-bombs than his classic counterpart, but he’s in the courtroom fighting for his client with heart, persistence and facts… even if his methods sometimes fall into a legally grey area.
Now that Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) has stepped fully into his role as Emily Dodson’s (Gayle Rankin) lawyer, he’s discovering that his eloquence while drinking with Della Street (Juliet Rylance) isn’t as easily conjured in front of a jury. In addition to flubbing his opening statement with an ill-timed coughing fit, DA Barnes (Stephen Root) is using every trick in his book to keep Perry off-guard and looking like the amateur he actually is. Fortunately, the truth is on Perry’s side.
While Perry navigates his new role in the courtroom, his team has come together and is using his farmhouse as their base of operations. In addition to Della and Pete Strickland (Shea Whigham), Della’s girlfriend, Hazel (Molly Ephraim), is there working a tip line. And, after Perry resists the temptation to out him as a source in court, Paul Drake (Chris Chalk) drops by in secret to show Perry the distasteful payoff he received from his boss for being a “good boy” and to volunteer some help in the form of sneaking George Gannon’s (Aaron Stanford) dentures into a box of discovery materials provided by the DA.
The major tasks Team Perry Mason faces are:
- Establish that there’s a “fourth man” out there who murdered George and staged his suicide
- Find a connection between Detective Ennis (Andrew Howard) and the kidnappers
- Find the real killer.
No big deal, right? Especially when the DA has dumped scads of irrelevant information on them, complicating their search for clues.
Perry is at his wit’s end when a surprise witness for the prosecution, a seedy motel manager, reveals that Emily and George shared more than “stolen kisses,” and that they had baby Charlie with them while fornicating in his establishment. This shocking revelation turns the jury on Emily and reveals to Perry that she wasn’t entirely truthful with him. He comes home in a rage, which Pete softens by sharing that he found uncashed checks from Sister Alice’s (Tatiana Maslany) church, made out to a mysterious corporation, at George Gannon’s house– and pointing out that Della found a weak connection between one of the kidnappers and Ennis in that they’d both been in Denver in 1914. Pete tells Perry that if the team can follow the money on that corporation and get him to Denver, they should have what they need.
Without a great deal of hope or enthusiasm, Perry and Della visit the church to find out what the checks are about and Perry enlists Lupe’s (Veronica Falcón) help in getting Pete to Denver.
At the church, Perry and Della cross paths with Elder Seidel (Taylor Nichols) while they’re pocketing one of the church’s ledgers. They tip him off to the possibility that George was stealing from the church by misdirecting funds to the corporation located at his house. Elder Seidel identifies the mystery corporation as a subsidiary of the church, which inspires Perry to send Della off to county records to find out more about corporations linked to the church.
Perry is successful in undermining the impact of Matthew Dodson’s (Nate Corddry) testimony in court, but he’s knocked back by both the judge preventing him from introducing George’s dentures and second autopsy, and by Matron Barbara Fry (Alison White) lying on the stand and saying that she overheard Emily confessing to murdering Charlie when Sister Alice visited her. He doesn’t know how he can recover, but happily his team finds two key pieces of information just as it appears his legal ship is sinking before it’s ever really left port.
Della tracks down a number of corporations linked to the church, and their trail leads to evidence of the Christian development, “Gilead,” that Herman Baggerly (Robert Patrick) told his son about when they abandoned Emily– not surprising, since Baggerly is the chairman of the corporation the church is paying. Not only that, but the owner of some initials that keep showing up in the church’s books, JH, belong to a Jim Hicks (Todd Weeks), who paid $1 for 20 acres of land in the new development. Someone is stealing from the church, and it wasn’t George Gannon.
What’s more, Pete has a breakthrough in Denver. There’s no direct evidence of Ennis and the kidnappers being connected, although he is able to confirm that both of Gannon’s known accomplices were there in 1914. The breakthrough comes when he finds out that the man who paid Pinkerton Ennis and the other men involved in the “Ludlow Massacre” was ELDER SEIDEL! Something very dark is behind Baby Charlie’s death, and Sister Alice’s church is involved.
As the truth behind the kidnapping starts moving into the light, Paul ships his poor, doomed wife off to her aunt’s house and Sister Alice’s mom (Lili Taylor) has their bags packed in case they need to run when Baby Charlie isn’t resurrected Easter Sunday.