Perry Mason continues to impress with its depth, performances, and another fist-pump courtroom scene.
This recap of Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 6, “Chapter Fourteen”, contains spoilers.
I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth reiterating: Perry Mason doesn’t get enough credit.
People like it, sure. Most agree that this season is better than the last. But I don’t see much mention of how sharply written it is, how rich of a setting it has developed, how naturalistic but still deeply impressive the performances are, or how an episode like “Chapter Fourteen”, which traffics in exposition but is relatively light on big, meaningful developments until the very end, can still produce fist-pump moments and compelling details like they’re going out of fashion.
Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 6 Recap
A quick catch-up, if you don’t mind. Last week, in Episode 5, someone broke into Perry’s apartment and left an ominous calling card – his son’s toy train chugging around a lit cigarette. Perry buys a big chain to keep the apartment locked, but, as we’ll discover, it’s his place of business where he needs to be more concerned about security.
Why does Holcomb help Perry?
There’s a throwaway line when Holcomb visits Perry at his office that foretells what’s to come, but more on that in a minute. Let’s talk about Holcomb himself.
The problem the corrupt cop is facing is he’s on the take, and if he’s forced to testify for whatever reason, that’ll be exposed. Since he’d rather not throw his whole life away, he offers Perry a big piece of evidence. They meet at the beach and ogle a mound of rotting produce covered in oil that the McCutcheons were hiding. Neither Holcomb nor Perry seems to know what this means, but it’s a piece of a bigger puzzle that’ll surely slot into place sooner rather than later.
But Perry, savvy as ever, exchanged his cooperation for another piece of evidence that proves to be vital – Noreen Lawson’s medical records.
What do Noreen’s medical records show?
This evidence is employed with extreme prejudice by Della, who gets a real stand-out moment in this episode similar to Perry’s business with the fingerprints last week.
On the stand is Councilman Taylor, Noreen’s brother. He’s adamant his sister had a car accident. But when Della takes over the cross-examination, she reveals the medical records, which show Noreen was strangled – strangled, what’s more, with Brooks McCutcheon’s monogrammed belt, tightly enough to leave his initials imprinted on her skin.
Della takes this line of questioning ostensibly because it’s sensitive. This is the 1930s, lest we forget, and back then asphyxiation wasn’t the done thing, sexually speaking. The jury is appalled. Della even loops the belt around her own neck, pulling it tight enough that the jury doesn’t have to imagine what a pretty woman being choked with a belt might look like – they can see it right in front of them.
Who found the gun in Perry’s safe?
Della’s triumph is short-lived, though, since Milligan’s prosecution just so happens to stumble onto an even more crucial piece of evidence with the help, presumably, of Pete Strickland.
It was Pete who broke into Perry’s apartment and left the train set as a message. We see him here again trying to foil his new chain security, jamming his fingers in the process. Later, when he’s smoking in the D.A.’s office, two of his nails are blackened, which is a nice touch.
It stands to reason, then, that it was also Pete who broke into Perry’s office and discovered the murder weapon hidden in his safe. This news found its way back to the prosecution. There’s a bit of a logical leap here – I’m sure most men in Perry’s position would keep a gun in their office safe, just in case, and a line of dialogue when the weapon is discovered makes it clear that ballistic examination hasn’t been carried out yet – with the surety of the prosecution that this is indeed the murder weapon, but it makes for the obligatory big moment when Perry is forced to hand it over, throwing the entire trial into serious jeopardy.
Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 6 Ending Explained
“Chapter Fourteen” ends with a flurry of scenes, most of them personal, which bring the episode to a somber conclusion.
For one thing, Perry openly and nastily confronts Miss Aimes, assuming she leaked the information about the gun since she was in his office earlier and overheard something Della said.
For another, the consequences of Paul’s investigations are starting to weigh heavily on him and his relationships.
Last week, Paul was strongarmed into viciously beating a man named Ozzie – identifiable by his flashy orange shoes – for information. Those shoes open the episode, hanging from a telephone wire, which is never a positive indicator of the owner’s health.
By the time Paul is stood underneath that same wire, having caused a giant rift between his wife and his brother-in-law thanks to the reality of his approach causing tremendous harm and even death for people who might not necessarily deserve it, he’s no longer recognizable as the same man.
Who he’ll become by the end of the season is really anyone’s guess.
You can stream Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 6, “Chapter Fourteen” exclusively on HBO and HBO Max.