A lot of people are complaining about things like critical race theory or bleeding heart liberals always worried about getting to the facts and in the process criticizing their country. Why can’t they just accept and love their country? In the US the conservatives say that the liberals hate their country. The liberals say they are looking for the truth—even uncomfortable truths. What does that have to do with this TV series?
When I was young I was a big fan of Perry Mason–both the novels and the TV series. I watched an interesting limited series on HBO. Called Perry Mason, based very loosely–no extremely loosely–on the old Perry Mason books by Earle Stanley Gardner. Don’t watch this expecting Raymond Burr. Or the Perry Mason of the novels. The series is really nothing like the books, or the old TV series, except for the character of the characters. That rung true. But as this series shows, truth is not always simple or obvious. Perhaps it’s not even true.
A young boy, Charlie Dodson was killed. His mother stands charged. Did she do it? Behind the Judge in the murder trial there is a sign. This is how it read: “Find Truth. Seek Justice.” That is it. As Mason says in his brilliant summation, “Find truth and seek justice, in that order. You cannot seek justice without first knowing the truth. And if the truth is hidden by distraction or lies, you will never get justice. And therefore you will never fix what happened to Charley Dodson.” That is the purpose of everything in this series. Amidst the corruption of Los Angeles between the first and second World War, we are led to believe there was one brave and fearless but tarnished knight in the search of truth, and then, after finding that, also found justice. Is this possible? The jury tried that. One of them was bought and paid for. But amazingly, 2 others reached the same conclusion, and found the way to justice through truth. Can that possibly be true? I guess that depends on what truth is. I don’t have Pilate to tell me what that is, so how can I know?
Sister Alice is a star who performs miracles for the Church of the Radiant Way. (I hope I got the name right. It might not be true) Or does she actually perform miracles? She says she thought she did. Is that enough? Perry Mason, in this series at least at the beginning, is a corrupt private investigator who later miraculously turns into a righteous lawyer. Now that is a miracle. In more ways than one.
Can the two get together? In the end they talk as they look into the vastness of the Pacific ocean:
Mason: Pretty long way from the choir.
Alice: Not so far. There is an old mission up the road, I go there sometimes and I pray.
Mason: Get any answers?
Alice: Not lately.
Mason tries to interest Alice in a Church of the Reborn. “Miracle Mother. Miracle Child. Come one. Come All. What was True in the Bible is true again.” But Alice is not interested.
Mason: I know how Charlie died.
Mason gives details of how the child was killed. But he can’t prove it.
Mason: There is one thing I want to know.
Alice: Whether or not I am fraud?
Mason: Somebody took that boy’s body out of the ground. That’s quite a trick to pull with everybody watching. Even for God.
Alice: You really want to believe in Him don’t you? No matter how hard you try, you still hope that he’s there.
Mason: A baby was killed to prop up your church. So you’re telling me that you can look at this and you can still believe?
Alice: You want to know things Mr. Mason. You want to find things out and prove things. What comfort has that ever given you? What peace? When I saw you there out of the blue, I thought, maybe you were tired of being alone.
Mason: Maybe I am.
Alice: I am too. But we will be won’t we? Alone. Why is that?
She smiles softly at him. Sadly.
Alice: Bye Perry
She leaves, but Perry calls her to stop.
Mason: Did you really think you could bring Charlie back?
Alice: I did. Didn’t I?
She smiles and leaves again.
She really did ask the most important question. Why is that they remain lone? Yes that is much more important. If you get a truthful answer.