It's hard to believe that it's been nearly three months since we got an update on how filming was going on the second season of HBO's award-winning Matthew Rhys-starring Perry Mason from Shea Whigham (Pete Strickland). But we're back with an update that adds another familiar face to the growing cast. Wallace Langham (CSI) has been tapped for the recurring role of Melville Phipps, a Los Angeles native and attorney for a very wealthy oil baroness. He works well under women and acts as a caretaker when necessary. Returning with Rhys and Whigham for the second season are Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk, Eric Lange, Justin Kirk, and Diarra Kilpatrick. Langham joins a line-up of new additions that includes Katherine Waterston, Hope Davis, Jon Chaffin, Fabrizio Guido, Peter Mendoza, Onohoua Rodriguez, Jee Young Han, Mark O'Brien, Sean Astin, Tommy Dewey, Paul Raci, and Jen Tullock.
The second season of HBO's Perry Mason takes place months after the end of the Dodson trial. Perry (Rhys) has moved off the farm, ditched the milk truck, he's even traded his leather jacket for a pressed suit. It's the worst year of the Depression, and Perry and Della (Rylance) have set the firm on a safer path pursuing civil cases instead of the tumultuous work criminal cases entail. Unfortunately, there isn't much work for Paul (Chalk) in wills and contracts, so he's been out on his own. An open-and-closed case overtakes the city of Los Angeles, and Perry's pursuit of justice reveals that not everything is always as it seems.
Speaking with Collider in support of Gaslit, Whigham confirmed that they are currently "about halfway through the second season" while giving a few details threads on what viewers can expect when they return to the series. "We're in '33 in 'Perry Mason.' Perry is in the soup again, and he's gotta try to figure his way out. Hopefully, Strickland can help him navigate that." Considering how the two parted ways at the end of the first season and with Mason having a new partner in Paul Drake (Chris Chalk), it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
As much as he loves "telling period pieces," Whigham shared his belief on what you need to make one work for an audience. "It's interesting, you can shoot the hell out of the thing, and it's fun, and it's exquisite to look at, but that doesn't hold you. If you don't have the story, and you don't have an A-plus cast," he explained. "And likewise, you can have an A-plus cast, but if it doesn't feel authentic and visceral, then it won't hold you. I think what you're saying is, viscerally, you see 'Perry Mason' and you're in that time." And that's one of the reasons why Whigham is such a fan of director Tim Van Patten. "That's my guy, Tim Van Patten, who did a year's worth of research to try to unlock places that, even if you're from [Los Angeles], you've never seen on film before. All of that is Tim," he added.