Each week Perry Mason
, noted Los Angeles attorney , would find himself in the midst of some sordid murder case. Typically, the client would approach Perry at the beginning of the episode with some relatively simple legal issue and then quickly find themselves the defendant in a capital murder case.
District Attorney Hamilton Burger
and Police Lieutenant Arthur Tragg
always believed they had an airtight, open and shut case when they made the arrest, but eventually Perry poked holes in their tidy little theory of the case. Eventually we are led to what has become known as the "Perry Mason Moment" where at the climax of the show, Perry would confront the real murderer on the stand, or be cross-examining one witness and then suddenly turn his attention to another involved party spectating in the court room in an accusatory fashion. Inevitably the guilty party would break down and confess to the killing and provide a tearful or angry justification for their actions.
Perry's legal efforts were facilitated by his faithful assistant, Della Street
(with whom there was the occasional innuendo of romantic involvement) and private investigator Paul Drake
Perry Mason ran for 9 seasons on CBS and is very popular in the late-night syndication realm.
Trivia: One way to easily tell whether one is viewing an earlier or a later version of Perry Mason (other than the presence or absence of Ray Collins (Lt. Tragg) is to take note of the automobiles. At the outset, the automobiles were provided by General Motors and Perry was generally seen driving an El Dorado Convertible. In the early 60s, Ford started providing the automobiles and Perry would be seen driving a Thunderbird convertible, Paul Drake would hop into a more pedestrian Galaxie 500, and Della drove Ford's 'sensible' car for a woman, a Ford Falcon.
Cinematography Note: During courtroom scenes, long shots were always filmed with the camera located where the jury box would normally be situated, never from the rear of the courtroom. The "You are There" effect certainly contributed to audience involvement.