‘Perry Mason’ Season 1, Episode 4 Recap: A Final Verdict


As the director, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, alternates between tight close-ups on their tear-streaked faces, we watch Jonathan break down over the injustice he’s attempting to inflict on this innocent woman. And in the end, he can’t go through with it. If he committed suicide because he’d run out of options, it’s to his credit that he ruled out the sleaziest option available to him on his own.

I’m not sure either party would agree, but I see a connection between what E.B. goes through in this episode and what happens to Emily Dodson’s most ardent supporter, Sister Alice. Recovering from the epileptic seizure she suffered onstage, Alice is under pressure from her practically minded mother Birdy, the conservative church elders and a contingent of outraged congregants — including a family of apparent well-wishers who dump a box full of live snakes onto her — to dismiss her promise to raise little Charlie Dodson from the dead as a symptom of her illness, not a command from God.

“You think I want this, Mama?” she asks at one point, exhausted. “You think I want God in my head?”

But just as E.B. buckled when the time came to coach Emily Dodson into accepting 20 years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit, Sister Alice can’t contradict what her heart — her God — is telling her to do. In the middle of an address intended to squash the controversy, she goes off-script and promises to resurrect Charlie, on Easter Sunday no less. When the cries of “Blasphemer!” start ringing out, the elders are chanting right along with the crowd.

By comparison, the show’s title character has it relatively easy this week. It’s true that he gets beaten up by Chubby Carmichael (Bobby Gutierrez), the famous actor he caught in the act. But other than that, it’s smooth sailing for the private dick and his sidekick Pete Strickland. Using flagrantly illegal tactics, they relocate the dead body of the kidnapper George Gannon to a sand trap in a local golf course, guaranteeing that their friendly mortician Virgil will get to perform an autopsy. Unlike the previous, bowdlerized examination, this one will prove that Gannon was the victim of murder rather than suicide.

A subsequent visit to the buildings where the Dodsons and the kidnappers each holed up to await the ransom handoff provides Perry with another vital clue. One of the buildings is connected via a skyway to an Elks Lodge, to which the kidnapping plot’s missing “fourth man,” the crooked and murderous Sgt. Ennis, belongs. Apparently feeling his oats, Perry walks right over and lets Ennis know he’s been found out. It’s a power move from a guy who, for all his shrewdness and doggedness, rarely projects power of any kind. (Except perhaps in his bedroom romps with Lupe, who still finds time post-coitus to gently razz him for his beating-incurred bruises and his unwillingness to sell her his family farm.)

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