Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 8 Recap and Ending Explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: April 25, 2023 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
View all
Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 8 Recap and Ending Explained


A bittersweet finale brings a fine second season of Perry Mason to a satisfying close.

This recap of Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 8, “Chapter Sixteen”, contains spoilers, including an open discussion of the Perry Mason Season 2 ending.

I’d be remiss, I suppose, not to mention the cold open of this week’s Perry Mason, which has little to do with anything in the grand scheme of things but strikes such a frightening (and simultaneously hysterical) image that I was genuinely taken aback.

In this scene, Camilla Nygaard has some beauty treatments done. She’s stung around the eyes by bees — a popular anti-aging remedy for rich lunatics — while being daubed in a facemask, swathed in linen with eye holes, and laid spread-eagled on her giant bed, petals over her eyes, looking like the victim of a serial killer.

There’s a price to pay for long life. Looking ridiculous is apparently it.

Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 8 Ending Explained

But I tell a lie — this is important. These are the lengths Camilla will go to just to look a bit younger. Now, as we learned in Episode 7, it’s not so difficult to comprehend the lengths she’d go to in order to maintain her wealth and power. Having Brooks McCutcheon killed is a comparatively small affair.

Della doesn’t want to believe it. She was somewhat taken by Camilla, so she has a hard time buying that she’s the mastermind of the whole affair when Perry reports back what Lydell told him. But Paul and Clara’s arrival at the office with evidence that also implicates Camilla’s attorney, Phipps, leaves no room for misinterpretation. Camilla is guilty. But she’s also blackmailing Hamilton Burger, so with mere hours before a ruling in the Gallardo case, there’s little that can be done.

How does Perry buy time in the case?

So, Perry throws himself on the sword. He suggests to the judge that he remains the best hope of fairly defending the Gallardo brothers, but accepts he’s open to a stern punishment for his actions. In other words, there won’t be a mistrial, but Perry will serve four months in county jail. The state will also get two more witnesses to explain the gun’s admission into evidence who, in his own self-interest, Perry should avoid cross-examining. It isn’t the best possible outcome, but at least it buys some time.

That time is spent first leaning on Phipps. Perry, Paul, and Della visit him at home, tell him he’s rumbled, and ask him to turn over the kompromat on Burger lest he is indicted and taken away just when Constance needs him the most.

Phipps has no choice but to do as he’s asked and retrieve the photos and negatives of Burger. But he happens to run into Camilla while he’s sneaking around her palatial manor, and she speaks about Constance with such derision that Phipps instead takes two giant boxes to Perry. “These are all photographs of Burger?” he asks incredulously. “No,” replies Phipps.

What does Phipps deliver to Perry?

Phipps’s payload includes all of Camilla’s blackmail material; mounds of photographs depicting everyone from Burger to Della and Perry horseriding with his son (which Perry folds up and puts in his pocket).

Della and Perry take the photos of Ham to him and tell him about the rest. He has everything he needs to open a giant case against Camilla and blow open the entire oil conspiracy. But he still needs a resolution to the murder of Brooks McCutcheon, so he offers a deal: If the brother who pulled the trigger confesses, the other will be exonerated, and the shooter will serve 30 years without the possibility of parole instead of being hung.

Of course, this pays off the detail of Rafael being accepted into art school. Mateo will be the one to confess, and it just so happens, for maximum emotional pull, that his wife and child are visiting him when he decides to do so.

What is the outcome of the trial?

Burger is happy to tell Milligan about this, which is just as well because he has been terribly smug all episode, presenting an insane racist rant as his closing argument in court and just generally milling around like he has won the lottery.

But, whether Milligan is off the case or not, there still needs to be a verdict in the trial. Mateo confesses and is sentenced to 30 years — he gives an impassioned speech about the importance of family and a heartfelt apology to the assembled McCutcheons, not that they deserve it. Rafael is, as promised, exonerated. 

Does Perry go to jail?

After spending an evening with Della and saying goodbye — but also “see you later” — to Miss Aimes, Perry does indeed go to jail. Strickland, of all people, walks him right up to the steps of the Hall of Justice, giving him a few cigarettes and a packet of gum and promising to start his bike once a week, which isn’t quite enough to apologize for landing him here in the first place, but it’ll do as a start.

Perry’s induction process is interspersed with scenes of everyone else. Della and Burger are now in a “relationship” to keep the press off the scent of their real sexual proclivities. Paul is spending more time at home with his family, but he has also agreed to work with Perkins to dig up dirt on the city councilmen who’re opposing his developments in the city. Rafael is enrolled in art school. Lydell is stranded in Japan, since, with the D.A. opening an investigation into Camilla and the oil conspiracy, the FBI wants a word with him.

As Perry sits down in his prison attire with his toothbrush, his gum, and his cigarettes, and pulls a photo of him and Teddy on horseback from inside the pack of Camels, it’s easy to imagine four months is a small price to pay for all the good he has managed to do.

You can stream Perry Mason Season 2 Episode 8, “Chapter Sixteen” exclusively on HBO and HBO Max. Do you have any thoughts on the ending of Perry Mason Season 2? Let us know in the comments.

Additional reading:

Endings Explained, HBO, HBO Max, Premium Channels, Streaming Service, TV, TV - Ending Explained, Weekly TV
View all