TV & Movies

HBO Canceled Perry Mason Ahead Of A Potential Season 3

Matthew Rhys previously said he thought a third season “would be the way to bow out.”

Originally Published: 
Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason in 'Perry Mason' Season 2, via HBO's press site
Merrick Morton/HBO

Though HBO’s Emmy-winning drama Perry Mason was conceived as a limited series, Matthew Rhys returned for a second outing as the titular criminal defense lawyer in March. Though Rhys hinted that one last comeback might be in the cards, the network canceled Perry Mason ahead of Season 3 — even despite the finale concluding with his character in jail. “We are tremendously grateful for the remarkable work of Matthew Rhys and the unrivaled cast and crew of Perry Mason for their reimagining of such a treasured and storied franchise,” HBO said in a statement to Deadline on June 6, also confirming plans for more projects with executive producers Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey.

Before HBO opted not to renew Perry Mason, Rhys shared his thoughts on the show’s future. “There’s a cliche part of me that thinks to round out and do three would be the way to bow out,” the star and executive producer revealed to Forbes in March, adding that he’s approaching the prospect with caution. “If we got that nod, and the writers knew what they wanted to do in the third season, how would they do that? It’s the same deal as we have with the first season and now in that, you have to ask the question, ‘Do you go out on a high, or do you face the danger of puttering out on the third?’’’

Rhys even had ideas of how the show could continue past a third season without him and his Season 2 castmates, who included Juliet Rylance (Della Street), Chris Chalk (Paul Drake), Shea Whigham (Pete Strickland), and Sean Astin (Sunny Gryce), among several others.

Merrick Morton/HBO

“They could even bring a new cast in if they wanted to advance it 10 years or whatever,” he added to Forbes, theorizing that they “could totally” kill off Mason and go back in the timeline. “One of the hardest things in this business is reinventing the wheel or trying to make an original move that no one’s done before. That’s a great idea, and in the reimagining, you leave yourself open to broad strokes should you wish.”

In a Collider interview published on April 9, fellow executive producer Susan Downey also signaled that there was plenty of opportunity to bring the series back for a third season and possibly more. “The great news is there’s a lot more story to be told, from both our character and the L.A. standpoint, so if we were fortunate enough to have that opportunity, I know Michael has definitely been noodling with some really exciting ideas,” she said.

However, fans now know those ideas won’t come to fruition — at least for now.

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