Was Perry Mason a Great TV Series?

 

Was Perry Mason a great TV series? How would we know?

Perhaps we’d have to build up a mound of confirmatory evidence. We would know then by the weight of evidence, not by any single logical argument.

If that is how we’d know, I will offer this empirical evidence, on behalf of the Affirmative side: the theme song.

I think the Perry Mason theme song by itself is strong incremental evidence that this show was a great TV series.

If you argue only this narrow point I will fight you to the death.

But on other points, I will be just as likely to agree with you that Perry Mason was NOT a great TV series, as the opposite.

Without going through the details, I will summarize. I think it was seriously flawed, but nonetheless, a great TV series.

It could not be great if the fictional character, Mason, were not a great fictional hero. He could not be perfect. He would have to raise hard questions. Was doing this or that dodgy act morally justifiable? And did he care?

Then, Raymond Burr (and the actors portraying Della Street, Paul Drake, and the others) would have to project these questions to us, even create little creative variations on the questions and the proposed answers to us.

Did Mason as put forth in Burr’s interpretation create an identifiable human character for us, even if we never read the books? Oh, yeah. Burr’s Perry always acted just like Perry, just as Titus Welliver’s Bosch always acts just like Bosch. Was this guy complicated, just like a real life guy? You tell me.

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  1. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    C’mon. How does one ever agree on the definition of “great.”

    The worst one can say is that PM was formulaic. Then we get into shades of entertaining.

    • #1
  2. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Seen one, seen them all.

    For courtroom/legal dramas it would not make my top 5. Ranker puts it at 16 just ahead of Night Court. 

    • #2
  3. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    The TV show was deliciously cheesy like most from that era. We are supposed to feel guilty about high fat foods such as cheese but we know that we can’t resist them. I read every one of Erle Stanley Gardners novels as a kid between the age of 12 and 15 and they were as good as any brain candy I have ever consumed. I have consumed a lot of brain candy.

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Mark Camp:

    It could not be great if the fictional character, Mason, were not a great fictional hero. He could not be perfect. He would have to raise hard questions. Was doing this or that dodgy act morally justifiable? And did he care?

    Then, Raymond Burr (and the actors portraying Della Street, Paul Drake, and the others) would have to project these questions to us, even create little creative variations on the questions and the proposed answers to us.

    Did Mason as put forth in Burr’s interpretation create an identifiable human character for us, even if we never read the books? Oh, yeah. Burr’s Perry always acted just like Perry, just as Titus Welliver’s Bosch always acts just like Bosch. Was this guy complicated, just like a real life guy? You tell me.

    I say yes. I watched many of the TV episodes many years ago. Then, after I retired, I read almost all the books. It was amazing to me as I read I had such a concrete image of these characters. I never considered them to be courtroom/legal dramas but detective mysteries solved by Perry Mason.

    • #4
  5. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    It’s a great TV series. It doesn’t have to be profound art to affect the thinking of hundreds of millions of people. The Untouchables went off the air 57 years ago, yet people who wouldn’t be born for decades afterwards have a pretty good idea of what the show was about, because it both created and also latched on to some basic images and ideas. It’s why we remember I Love Lucy and not its contemporary, My Little Margie

    I live in L.A., so I took a greater-than-average interest in the many books that came out of the O.J. case. One consistent running feature–given the circumstances, I won’t call it a joke–was the number of times the judge and counsel for both sides referred to Perry Mason. In the civil trial, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli dryly complained that cable TV audiences weren’t going to be satisfied unless he got OJ to break down in tears on the stand, confess in Perry Mason style how he committed the murders and where he buried the knife. 

    Is it terribly realistic? No. One overlooked, surprising detail is you very seldom see Mason present a case to a jury. What you almost always see is a preliminary hearing that looks like a trial. That’s a feature of California law that isn’t universally held elsewhere. Mason is essentially a detective show with a lawyer playing the detective. (For that matter “Quincy, M.E.” was a detective show with an autopsy doctor as the detective.)

    • #5
  6. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    The formula in the novels and then in the tv series defied common sense in that Perry Mason was always able to overcome insurmountable odds and reveal the true murderer. Trump seems to face similar odds in his current quest and he is looking a lot like Perry Mason to me.

    I know life never turns out like the fiction we love but we keep reading it.

    • #6
  7. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Absolutely a great series. There aren’t many series from that period that are still entertaining and this is one of them. 

    Yes, it was formulaic, but so was Columbo, another great series made great by variations of the formula and good acting. 

    And it dealt with adult themes such as lust and adultery in an adult fashion. Episodes expected you to know how business worked; real estate, stocks, etc.

    Barbara Hale was adorable as Della and it adds a little something to know that Raymond Burr was gay because that is the only way he was able to resist her (still a but puzzling.)

    William Hopper was quite funny as Paul Drake, cool as the Fonz with those awful checker jackets.

    Ray Collins brought a great resume to the show (which included Citizen Kane) as Lt. Tragg was a good foil, but William Talman as Hamilton Burger (Ham-Burger, get it?), was an even better as the D.A.

    It’s good ESG wrote so many books, because it gave the scriptwriters a lot to work with.

    The one downside of the series is that Perry Mason from the novels was sometimes a little shady, especially in the novels from the thirties. As the series went on it seemed Perry became more and more of a Dudley Doright in the books to line up with the series.

    And it is fun to spot stars to be like Robert Redford and Burt Reynolds and most everybody from the cast of Star Trek guest star on the show. So, yeah, I’m a fan.

    • #7
  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Mason often had wonderful guest casting. Even when the actors didn’t become famous–we enjoy the benefit of final hindsight–they are sometimes genuine stars that could have been, always an interesting puzzle of talent, timing, and luck. 

    There’s an audition reel on YouTube, evidently a kinescope of scenes shot with TV cameras in front of generic rental sets of a courtroom and an office. Fascinatingly, you see Burr try out as Burger, and William Hopper (Paul Drake) play Mason. Neither is bad, but they were definitely cast in the right roles for TV. You also see a preliminary Della that was more of a good time girl, flashier and floozier by far than the pert, sympathetic assistant played by Barbara Hale. 

    • #8
  9. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    As I’ve become older, I identify more with Lt. Arthur Tragg, who also played to a formula, but one I enjoy. Perry is usually in conference with the accused when Tragg breezes into the office. 

    “Well-l-l counselor, what a pleasant surprise! You’ve saved us the trouble of hunting down this young lady. Get your hat, miss. I’m afraid you won’t be having lunch with your client, Perry. Because she’s going downtown. (pause) With me. (pause) To be booked. (pause) For murder”. 

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Mason often had wonderful guest casting. Even when the actors didn’t become famous–we enjoy the benefit of final hindsight–they are sometimes genuine stars that could have been, always an interesting puzzle of talent, timing, and luck.

    There’s an audition reel on YouTube, evidently a kinescope of scenes shot with TV cameras in front of generic rental sets of a courtroom and an office. Fascinatingly, you see Burr try out as Burger, and William Hopper (Paul Drake) play Mason. Neither is bad, but they were definitely cast in the right roles for TV. You also see a preliminary Della that was more of a good time girl, flashier and floozier by far than the pert, sympathetic assistant played by Barbara Hale.

    This reminds me also of the early Perry Mason movies in the mid-1930s, four of them starring Warren William, although they didn’t have Perry Mason in the title so are easily overlooked. I’ve caught and recorded a few of them from TCM. Della was definitely more of a “floozy” in those. And the Perry Mason character was far less… urbane?

    The Case of the Howling Dog, The Case of the Curious Bride, The Case of the Lucky Legs, The Case of the Velvet Claws, The Case of the Black Cat, The Case of the Stuttering Bishop.

    Notable guests include Mary Astor, Errol Flynn (in his U.S. screen debut), Allen Jenkins, and Ann Dvorak.

     

    • #10
  11. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    Absolutely a great series. There aren’t many series from that period that are still entertaining and this is one of them.

    Yes, it was formulaic, but so was Columbo, another great series made great by variations of the formula and good acting.

    And it dealt with adult themes such as lust and adultery in an adult fashion. Episodes expected you to know how business worked; real estate, stocks, etc.

    Barbara Hale was adorable as Della and it adds a little something to know that Raymond Burr was gay because that is the only way he was able to resist her (still a but puzzling.)

    William Hopper was quite funny as Paul Drake, cool as the Fonz with those awful checker jackets.

    Ray Collins brought a great resume to the show (which included Citizen Kane) as Lt. Tragg was a good foil, but William Talman as Hamilton Burger (Ham-Burger, get it?), was an even better as the D.A.

    It’s good ESG wrote so many books, because it gave the scriptwriters a lot to work with.

    The one downside of the series is that Perry Mason from the novels was sometimes a little shady, especially in the novels from the thirties. As the series went on it seemed Perry became more and more of a Dudley Doright in the books to line up with the series.

    And it is fun to spot stars to be like Robert Redford and Burt Reynolds and most everybody from the cast of Star Trek guest star on the show. So, yeah, I’m a fan.

    You had me at ‘Columbo’

    • #11
  12. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    The Jack Benny Program parodied “Perry Mason” with Raymond Burr in a fall 1961 episode, which would have been midway through Perry’s run on CBS. The courtroom scene hits all the cliches and formulas of the show, down to the revealing of the killer at the end of the courtroom scene, so it’s safe to say contemporary audiences in ’61 knew about the formula and the plot devices, but really didn’t care because the show was entertaining enough to overcome those cliches. (The plot also took an idea from a 1947 Thanksgiving radio show that one of Jack’s then-writers, Milt Josefsberg said was one of the worst shows they ever did, and turned it into one of the best-ever episodes of Benny’s TV run thanks to Burr being willing to make fun of every plot device that had made Mason popular in the first place):

    • #12
  13. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    I live in L.A., so I took a greater-than-average interest in the many books that came out of the O.J. case. One consistent running feature–given the circumstances, I won’t call it a joke–was the number of times the judge and counsel for both sides referred to Perry Mason. In the civil trial, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli dryly complained that cable TV audiences weren’t going to be satisfied unless he got OJ to break down in tears on the stand, confess in Perry Mason style how he committed the murders and where he buried the knife. 

    Based on his success in the OJ case and some other high-profile cases in the 1990s, Los Angeles County DA Gil Garcetti pretty much was the living embodiment of Hamilton Burger….

    • #13
  14. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    And of course, Raymond Burr had an appearance in “Airplane 2: The Sequel” but I couldn’t find a decent video clip.

    • #14
  15. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    I live in L.A., so I took a greater-than-average interest in the many books that came out of the O.J. case. One consistent running feature–given the circumstances, I won’t call it a joke–was the number of times the judge and counsel for both sides referred to Perry Mason. In the civil trial, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli dryly complained that cable TV audiences weren’t going to be satisfied unless he got OJ to break down in tears on the stand, confess in Perry Mason style how he committed the murders and where he buried the knife.

    Based on his success in the OJ case and some other high-profile cases in the 1990s, Los Angeles County DA Gil Garcetti pretty much was the living embodiment of Hamilton Burger….

    Pretty funny, J’9! Though Ham Burger was probably grateful: thanks to Mason, the murder conviction rate was eventually 100%. The correct person was always the one who was likely to end up in the gas chamber, in a separate action related to the courtroom confession. It just never happened to be the person the D.A. first indicted. 

    • #15
  16. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    The show went on the air in the fall of 1957. In the first years, Perry was a bit more of a rule bender, more prone to push the limits of examining a murder scene before the police arrive, and even, once or twice, made an offhand reference to the money he’d be making. In short, just a little more like the genial rogue of the Thirties movies. In response, the police and district attorney were more hostile, often directly or indirectly threatening disbarment proceedings. 

    But as the show became a top ten hit, these mildly rough edges were sanded down. Actual district attorneys, state attorneys general, and conferences of defense lawyers were paying attention, and CBS toned down the show in subtle ways. Perry was even more unambiguously a by-the-book good guy. His relations with the police and Burger were still adversarial, but more respectful, less personally contemptuous. On a personal level, they were almost friends. But ol’ Ham could still be counted on to sputter in feigned shock, “This is another one of Mr. Mason’s courtroom tricks!”

    • #16
  17. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    kedavis (View Comment):
    This reminds me also of the early Perry Mason movies in the mid-1930s, four of them starring Warren William,

    I love Warren William, but never warmed to his Mason. It may have been more faithful to the book (although you could make the case that Ricardo Cortez was even more accurate) but he seemed too tall. Same with his other programmer roles. Philo Vance? No. Lone Wolf? Maybe. 

    The Burr version is the ur-version, despite the character’s character in the books. He redefined Perry, and that’s that. Solid, thoughtful, built like a big human law book. The result was a great TV show. The formula didn’t vary, except for those odd trips to other cities where some ol’ country judge said “I’ll allow it” instead of a big-city judge, and the prosecuting attorney was a decent enough guy who didn’t know what he was up against, and that odd season when Burr was laid up with a bad tooth and they ran a bunch of guest-lawyers. For the most part the formula provided not just a solidly constructed story with a surprise at the end, it documented all sorts of 1950s cultural tropes and characters. 

    I’d also argue that there’s something fascinating about the choice of William Tallman as Burger, because he represented the State – and there was something deeply, unknowably wrong about him. At least as he appeared on camera.

    The HBO reboot is worth watching. Seems like it should be an origin story for a private detective, to be honest, but it goes back to the scrappy-Mason roots, and remakes the character anew. 

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    The HBO reboot is worth watching. Seems like it should be an origin story for a private detective, to be honest, but it goes back to the scrappy-Mason roots, and remakes the character anew.

    In general I can’t stand reboots, especially these days. I’m surprised you didn’t mention in an aside that in the new Perry Mason, it’s Perry and Paul Drake who are “will they, or won’t they?”

    These days it seems like it might have to be that way, else the show be labeled “homophobic.”

    • #18
  19. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    I live in L.A., so I took a greater-than-average interest in the many books that came out of the O.J. case. One consistent running feature–given the circumstances, I won’t call it a joke–was the number of times the judge and counsel for both sides referred to Perry Mason. In the civil trial, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli dryly complained that cable TV audiences weren’t going to be satisfied unless he got OJ to break down in tears on the stand, confess in Perry Mason style how he committed the murders and where he buried the knife.

    Based on his success in the OJ case and some other high-profile cases in the 1990s, Los Angeles County DA Gil Garcetti pretty much was the living embodiment of Hamilton Burger….

    Pretty funny, J’9! Though Ham Burger was probably grateful: thanks to Mason, the murder conviction rate was eventually 100%. The correct person was always the one who was likely to end up in the gas chamber, in a separate action related to the courtroom confession. It just never happened to be the person the D.A. first indicted.

    I had a friend who in turn was friends with Steve Cooley, and he gave him the Hamilton Burger line to use in his second debate against Garcetti back in 2000, if Garcetti used a line touting his own accomplishments again, after using it in their first debate. The line didn’t make a second appearance so the comeback was never used, but Cooley won the election anyway (and that’s pretty much the extent of my career as a political consultant….)

    • #19
  20. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    In March, 1960, William Talman was abruptly suspended from the show after an arrest at a friend’s apartment in Hollywood. I’d have to guess that sixty years ago, it wasn’t a strong career plus to be the subject of a headline like, “TV Show DA Arrested at Nude Pot Party“. Eventually, he got the charges bargained down, and Burr and the other actors persuaded Gail Patrick Jackson, the showrunner, to give him his job back. 

    But I have to say, in an age when internet video editors have proved themselves amazingly capable, I’d like to see snippets of existing Masons rearranged to create a new synthetic episode, “The Case of the Delinquent D.A.”

    “I shouldn’t be here, Perry, but I have no choice”.

    “Sit down, Tragg. What’s the problem?” 

    “Well, like many of your clients, it has to do with a man of some high standing in society, a man whose mistakes have consequences. This is a gentleman who claims, through no fault of his own, that he found himself unknowingly in the company of marijuana addicts. Somehow his clothes were removed. Apparently a number of young ladies are involved. Perry, the man is Hamilton Burger. I placed him in a cell an hour ago. He needs the best lawyer in town”. 

    • #20
  21. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    In March, 1960, William Talman was abruptly suspended from the show after an arrest at a friend’s apartment in Hollywood. I’d have to guess that sixty years ago, it wasn’t a strong career plus to be the subject of a headline like, “TV Show DA Arrested at Nude Pot Party“. Eventually, he got the charges bargained down, and Burr and the other actors persuaded Gail Patrick Jackson, the showrunner, to give him his job back.

    But I have to say, in an age when internet video editors have proved themselves amazingly capable, I’d like to see snippets of existing Masons rearranged to create a new synthetic episode, “The Case of the Delinquent D.A.”

    “I shouldn’t be here, Perry, but I have no choice”.

    “Sit down, Tragg. What’s the problem?”

    “Well, like many of your clients, it has to do with a man of some high standing in society, a man whose mistakes have consequences. This is a gentleman who claims, through no fault of his own, that he found himself unknowingly in the company of marijuana addicts. Somehow his clothes were removed. Apparently a number of young ladies are involved. Perry, the man is Hamilton Burger. I placed him in a cell an hour ago. He needs the best lawyer in town”.

    Sounds like the episode of Barnaby Jones where Barnaby was sent to find a missing millionaire, Jed Clampett.

     

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I remember watching the two episodes were Perry lost the case. Okay, the word “lost” has qualifiers.

    The first one started with the jury finding his female client guilty. The woman knew something that would clear her, but refused to tell Perry (IIRC, she was protecting someone and willing to die for it). Perry eventually uncovered everything, and she was freed as they were taking her to the death house.

    The second was kind of a trick. Perry was defending a guy, and the evidence against him was overwhelming. Only the guy in court he was defending was not his client. I don’t remember the details, but Perry was hired by a client unseen, and the guy he was defending in court pretended to be the client. Perry eventually figured out who really hired him, and it turned out the phony client was really guilty.

    Anyone else remember these episodes?

    • #22
  23. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    I live in L.A., so I took a greater-than-average interest in the many books that came out of the O.J. case. One consistent running feature–given the circumstances, I won’t call it a joke–was the number of times the judge and counsel for both sides referred to Perry Mason. In the civil trial, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli dryly complained that cable TV audiences weren’t going to be satisfied unless he got OJ to break down in tears on the stand, confess in Perry Mason style how he committed the murders and where he buried the knife. 

    Perhaps during law school they had watched the reruns in the student lounge, as did much of the student body at my law school. The local TV station (this was 1978-81 so no VHS, DVD, or streaming) showed the Perry Mason reruns at noon every weekday, making for convenient lunchtime viewing on the TV in the law school student lounge. The noisy foosball games stopped so everyone could hear the show. Running commentary in the lounge took on the rules of evidence, methods of witness examination, and the improbability of the witness breakdown and confession that always seemed to be an essential part of the plot. 

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    I live in L.A., so I took a greater-than-average interest in the many books that came out of the O.J. case. One consistent running feature–given the circumstances, I won’t call it a joke–was the number of times the judge and counsel for both sides referred to Perry Mason. In the civil trial, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli dryly complained that cable TV audiences weren’t going to be satisfied unless he got OJ to break down in tears on the stand, confess in Perry Mason style how he committed the murders and where he buried the knife.

    Perhaps during law school they had watched the reruns in the student lounge, as did much of the student body at my law school. The local TV station (this was 1978-81 so no VHS, DVD, or streaming) showed the Perry Mason reruns at noon every weekday, making for convenient lunchtime viewing on the TV in the law school student lounge. The noisy foosball games stopped so everyone could hear the show. Running commentary in the lounge took on the rules of evidence, methods of witness examination, and the improbability of the witness breakdown and confession that always seemed to be an essential part of the plot.

    We would record Perry on the VHS recorder every day and watch it over dinner . . .

    • #24
  25. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    kedavis (View Comment):

    In general I can’t stand reboots, especially these days. I’m surprised you didn’t mention in an aside that in the new Perry Mason, it’s Perry and Paul Drake who are “will they, or won’t they?”

    Funny, I didn’t get that vibe. Figured they had it covered with Della, who’s working the other side of the Street, if you will. 

    • #25
  26. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Stad (View Comment):
    The first one started with the jury finding his female client guilty. The woman knew something that would clear her, but refused to tell Perry (IIRC, she was protecting someone and willing to die for it). Perry eventually uncovered everything, and she was freed as they were taking her to the death house.

    My how things changed. Now, Perry would have maybe 30 years to prove her innocence, before she’d be taken to the “death house.”

    • #26
  27. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    In general I can’t stand reboots, especially these days. I’m surprised you didn’t mention in an aside that in the new Perry Mason, it’s Perry and Paul Drake who are “will they, or won’t they?”

    Funny, I didn’t get that vibe. Figured they had it covered with Della, who’s working the other side of the Street, if you will.

    Sorry, it was a poorly-formed joke. I’ve never seen it, but wouldn’t have been surprised if that’s what they did to Perry Mason these days.

    • #27
  28. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    About ten years ago I was at a conservative event, a party at the Bistro Gardens in Studio City. Actress Ruta Lee, a Fifties-early Sixties dreamboat, was one of the guests. I told her I’d just seen her in a Perry Mason. “So how did I do?”, she asked, meaning, how did her fictional trial go. I said “You were innocent, of course”. 

    She laughed. “Innocent? Me? Honey, I’m not that good an actress!”

    • #28
  29. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    About ten years ago I was at a conservative event, a party at the Bistro Gardens in Studio City. Actress Ruta Lee, a Fifties-early Sixties dreamboat, was one of the guests. I told her I’d just seen her in a Perry Mason. “So how did I do?”, she asked, meaning, how did her fictional trial go. I said “You were innocent, of course”.

    She laughed. “Innocent? Me? Honey, I’m not that good an actress!”

    Great lady, and cool story!

    • #29
  30. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Two other things.

    First, the office doorways. If you’ve been to Disneyland or Universal Studios tour, you might have heard that producers of westerns ordered the doors shortened, to make the cowboys look taller. Well, same type of idea: take a look at the doors at the front and back of Perry Mason’s office. They’re much wider than real ones. Raymond Burr had a chronic weight problem, more so as the series went on, and that subtle touch of a wider doorway helped mask that. 

    Second, one reason the show could be the weekly household “guest” that brought murder into the American living room was the upper class surroundings of most of the characters. The murder victims were often reprehensible, for one thing, were bossy and mean rich people, and in any case caused few tears when they died. With a few rare exceptions, it was the kind of show where tycoons hired Mason to clear their accused son-in-law, or a prominent doctor is arrested for killing a romantic rival. They weren’t real life murders. This would also be true of another Los Angeles detective series, Burke’s Law

    • #30