Friday, April 26, 2013


I did eventually finish and post that piece about Tobin Wade and company:
And this is the first part of it, from some time ago:

I always worry a bit when writing such pieces that the one hurt by the other will come off stubborn and for it to look terrible if they can’t readily forgive. But Aaron Stuart has every right to be struggling with it, after what was done to him and Marian. I still wanted a hopeful resolution, though.

I love how the episode shows what a great person he is in contrast with Tobin. The thought that he killed Tobin, even accidentally, is so sickening to him that he feels he can scarcely even begin to atone for it. Aaron is not a person who would deliberately harm anyone out of spite, no matter what was done to him first.

(And I find it amusing and interesting that Milton Selzer and H.M. Wynant appeared together in several other assorted episodes of shows. But they don’t share any scenes except in the Hawaii 5-O episode While You’re At It, Bring in the Moon. That’s a fun one.)

This past evening, faced with the choice of two episodes that don’t have Hamilton, on my local station and on Me, I finally chose my local station’s. It’s the last of the Chamberlin episodes, The Wintry Wife, so I decided to watch it and see if I could glean any inspiration for Chamberlin’s future role in The Malevolent Mugging, since he’s a supporting character in it.

I have the feeling that episode is one of the ones most heavily butchered. There were so many places where a scene and its music stopped abruptly, indicating a cut. I wonder if Chamberlin features into any of the clipped scenes.

Since that is the episode where we see him a lot outside of court, I paid special attention to how he was written and portrayed. And I was a bit surprised to note that in his first scene, when he talks to Perry in his office, he sounds a lot like Hamilton in season 1. He’s very formal with Perry (which is to be expected) and very stubborn about the case he’s setting up. Not that Hamilton isn’t always firm about his cases when he believes there’s enough evidence to substantiate them, but the actual stubbornness did lessen as time went on and he grew more willing to listen to Perry’s thoughts.

In court, Chamberlin is very businesslike in his approach, almost making him seem a bit detached from the situation. He definitely doesn’t have Sampson’s passion, and his approach doesn’t seem like Hamilton’s, either. So it’s nice to see that Robert Karnes did try to give him his own style.

Somehow now I imagine Chamberlin and Andy getting along particularly well, since Andy uses a businesslike approach himself.

I’m wondering if the way Chamberlin is written in his first scene has anything to do with the episode’s writer. It was Samuel Newman’s third Perry script. Perhaps the main episodes he was familiar with when he set about writing were from season 1. Those early episodes certainly are popular with fans. It’s not hard to believe that perhaps even while the series was originally running, those episodes could have been used as a guidepost for how to write the scripts.

Looking up his earlier Perry scripts, I’m intrigued to note that he wrote The Deadly Double, the infamous split-personality episode. Although dated now, and not an episode I often seek out, I’m still very impressed by Constance Ford’s performance as both girls.

The other script he wrote prior to this one is The Resolute Reformer, the season 4 episode featuring John Hoyt. And since it is one of the ones without Hamilton as well, that does mean that Samuel Newman’s only previous experience writing Hamilton came from season 1. It’s interesting that he went from that to being one of the champions of writing for the district attorney’s office, even penning The Fatal Fetish in season 8.

Out of curiosity now, I’m probably going to dig out my uncut copy of The Deadly Double and see how he wrote for Hamilton in that first attempt. There definitely were times in season 1 when Hamilton had awesome scenes, and it would be nice if Samuel Newman wrote a couple of them.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I finally got the next chapter of The Malevolent Mugging up. It’s more transitional, but does get into the beginnings of the next problems for everyone. Some parts are summarized, but only because I feel like that works best when taking into consideration my other ideas for the rest of the story. Normally I try to avoid a lot of summarizing.

And wow, I made quite an epic fail. I fully thought that Barbara Hale’s birthday was on the 22nd. I totally mixed up the day with the year. Her birthday was on the 18th. She’s 91 now. That is awesome! I hope she had a wonderful day.

I still hope to start a fanfiction story that would put Della in a central role, but I really want to finish The Malevolent Mugging first. And I worry a bit whether I’ll be able to carry a story with Della front and center, since I find her a bit more difficult to write than some other characters. But I have hopes that it will work out and do justice to my friend’s initial idea.

I haven’t seen Barbara Hale in anything new recently, but I’ve been trying to think of the Perry episodes where Della plays an especially important role. Sometimes it almost seems a bit like she and even Paul are taken for granted by the writers (and perhaps the viewers too) and not used a great deal in some episodes, yet even in reduced roles they add a great deal to scenes. I think the fact that I love oneshot characters so much and study them also lends itself to a fascination with observing the main characters in all types of scenes, even silent ones.

I always enjoy watching Della’s expressions as things unfold in court. It’s interesting to see her reactions to puzzling witnesses being called or Hamilton glancing at the defense table or Tragg making a gently joking comment between court sessions. It takes great actors to get involved in the part enough to react to even smaller things going on around them, things that the audience may not always notice until taking a closer look, and Barbara definitely always does that.

Then there are times when Perry uses Della to help with a particular clue or suspect in a scene or two, or when they share a bit of banter before or after a case. Oftentimes, the little scenes are just as or even more enjoyable than longer ones. Perry and Della certainly have a lot of memorable interaction throughout the series, often in small doses. Some of my favorite bits with them are in the epilogues, as the cases are wrapped up and Della is hungry from working so long and so hard.

I think I may have already tried to list episodes in which she played larger roles, perhaps even as recently as a couple of months back. So instead of possibly repeating a subject I will say that pretty much any episode with Della is sure to have some content with her that’s very enjoyable to watch. Even if for a lot of it she just observes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Which Perry is more interesting?

Everyone, I’m very sorry to have to do this, but from now on, all anonymous commenters will have to go through a Captcha in order to comment. (At least, I think it’s only anonymous commenters who will have to use it; after what happened while setting it up, I’m not quite sure.) I absolutely abhor those things and never like the idea of making other people use them, so I’ve held off on implementing one all this time. But in the last few weeks I’ve been getting and deleting an outrageous amount of spam comments nearly every day, and I just can’t take it anymore. Genuine anonymous commenters will always be welcome; I think over half of the real comments are from anonymous parties.

I’ve been thinking. For anyone who has read a lot of the early books and enjoys writing fanfiction stories (or has perhaps thought of writing one), I have a suggestion. It would be really interesting to have early book Perry meet up with television show Perry (through some distortion in the space-time continuum, most likely) and converse. They would surely have some intriguing and differing views to bring to the table. It would be such a fun character study and contrast.

From what I’ve gathered, Perry in the early books is a lot more shyster-ish, whereas later on he starts to resemble the television Perry more. There’s even that fairly famous quote from early book Perry where he says he doesn’t care if his client is innocent or guilty; that’s not up to him to prove.

That’s certainly a far different attitude than television Perry takes! His preference in the television series seems to be people who are innocent or whom he believes are innocent. This is strongly implied off and on in the actual scripts, mostly from things he or Della say. I think the only times he’ll take on a guilty client knowing they’re guilty is if he feels there are extenuating circumstances. Usually it’s if they’ve killed in self-defense, such as in The Prankish Professor. But there seem to be other exceptions too. The Baited Hook comes to mind, where the woman killed the man in order to try to protect her daughter from learning the truth about her parentage.

I’ve often wished there would have been a few more guilty clients in the series. The Terrified Typist is such a fascinating departure from the usual, where Perry is hired to defend a man and in the end, it’s discovered that the man really is the guilty party. I think that’s the only time in the series where that particular sort of twist happens.

Of course it would be sad for Perry, to invest all that time and effort into the case and uncover such a truth, but it would add a touch more realism to have it happen at least now and then. And anyway, poor Hamilton and the other district attorneys are always investing a lot of time and effort and having their cases bounced out.

I find it interesting to note that The Terrified Typist is also about the only episode where that observation is made in the script about Hamilton’s efforts. And it’s even more interesting that it’s Paul who makes that observation. He really seems to feel genuinely sorry for Hamilton, which isn’t something I’d normally expect from him.

The Terrified Typist also allows Hamilton some very nice scenes, my favorite being when he cross-examines the defendant on his supposed chivalry in not naming the married woman he claims to have been with during the murder. Hamilton points out that while the man keeps silent, he is allowing a woman whom Perry has suggested may have been the one to be besmirched. Hamilton concludes by saying that everyone could use less “gentlemen” like the defendant. That bit is awesome.

I wonder what book Perry would think if television Perry told him about his friendship with Hamilton. And I wonder what television Perry would think if book Perry told him that he had proposed a couple of times to Della and had been turned down. There’s so many fascinating conversation topics that they could get into, both on their personal views and on the other characters around them.

I would totally write the story myself if I were more familiar with the books than just the summaries. But since such a time may not come for a while, I turn it over to anyone who wants it—as long as they share it if they write it!

Some people, I’ve noted, prefer Perry to be, if not necessarily unaffected by whether the client is guilty, more willing to “walk on the wild side” and bend and possibly even break more laws for the sake of his client. Sometimes I find rebellious, antihero characters like that quite interesting, granted. (Some people might be surprised by the sorts of characters I sometimes latch onto and write about.) But other times, I just get tired of it and like to see someone who isn’t always implementing their own brand of justice to the various situations.

One thing that’s definitely exasperating about those types of formats is how the person who actually is breaking the law is hailed as the good guy, and anyone who disapproves of their methods (like the police) are definitely cast in a negative light. To me it just doesn’t seem quite fair. Shows like The Rockford Files use that formula a lot, and while Perry is at least often making positive comments about the police, that doesn’t seem to happen as much on Rockford.

I suppose, as I read in a similar topic recently, the point of those types of shows is the idea that legal justice isn’t always the right kind of justice for the particular person being accused or sentenced. Sometimes it isn’t. But what puts Perry in a very curious and unique position is how Perry is always extolling the justice system . . . yet is often trying to find ways to skirt it when he feels justified in doing so.

I personally prefer Perry keeping closer to solving cases within the law. I don’t feel that necessarily makes him less interesting of a character, as some feel; actually, in keeping with my love of touches of realism, I think it’s far more interesting to see crime-solving happen with established legal methods, instead of trying all manner of trickery to get around legal barriers. To me, the trickery is so overdone in shows. Sometimes it almost seems that less-than-legal methods are what is expected, to the point that it’s often really uninteresting, cliché, and/or eye-rolling. And Perry being a part of that makes him seem like more of a stereotypical fictional lawyer. It’s when he doesn’t engage in those sorts of behaviors that I feel he’s more unique, where fictional lawyers are concerned.

I think soon I’ll do a post complete with pictures to explore some of the props that commonly recurred on Perry episodes (and even sometimes in other CBS shows). For instance, I knew that sculpture of Moses in the uncut version of The Greek Goddess looked familiar. While watching The Twice-Told Twist again yesterday, I spotted it in the museum scene! And there’s several other props I’ve seen pop up multiple times.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Book and Animal episodes

While some themes and backdrops for Perry episodes are plentiful, other themes don’t seem to figure in as often. Business-related episodes are among the largest categories of all, and I’m perfectly happy with that, as I find corporate things very interesting.

However, while watching The Bogus Books last night, it occurred to me that there’s really very few episodes that have anything to do with books. One might think that since books and reading are so popular (and probably were so even more in the past!), there would have been more book-related Perry episodes. But after looking through an episode guide and thinking on the plots, I couldn’t come up with many.

Season 1 has The Sun-Bather’s Diary, where the titular object is a book of sorts and important to the plot. (And there’s various other episodes where diaries are important, such as The Black-Eyed Blonde.) Also, the Holy Bible is a vital piece of the puzzle in The Empty Tin.

A bookstore is a prominent location in season 7’s The Fifty-Millionth Frenchman. And there’s the books Tobin Wade and the gym teacher are swiping in The Decadent Dean. A book is also an important clue in The Sleepy Slayer.

I thought maybe season 4’s The Envious Editor could count as an honorary entry, since it’s about the publishing world (albeit magazines and not books). But that’s really reaching.

So in the end, The Bogus Books really is the only episode where published books are extremely important all the way through. Other than it, I’d say that The Empty Tin is the main book-related episode.

A lot of those are among my favorite episodes. But it’s kind of surprising to realize there’s so few episodes where books are main plot points.

I also started musing on animal-related episodes. As someone on a Perry website has observed, there’s really quite a few titles that involve animals of some sort. And some other episodes have animals in them that don’t feature into the titles.

I think one of the animals most widely represented in episodes is the horse. Horses are important as early as season 1, with The Fan-Dancer’s Horse. Over the course of the series, we also ended up with The Jilted Jockey, The Startled Stallion, The Red Riding Boots, The Fickle Filly, The Ice-Cold Hands, and even a toy horse in The Polka-Dot Pony.

Birds are also quite important. I once made a notation that canaries seem to pop up in awesome episodes. I love both The Lame Canary and The Reluctant Model. There’s also a canary in The Garrulous Go-Between, however, which isn’t a particular favorite of mine. (And the poor canary!) Other bird species represented include the parrot (The Perjured Parrot), the duck (The Drowning Duck), and what I thought was a myna, but which I now have no idea of the species (The Laughing Lady).

Cats appear in four episodes, but are only vital to the plot in two (The Caretaker’s Cat and The Careless Kitten). Still, I find The Silent Partner and The Golden Fraud much more exciting because of the cats! And if you want to get technical and also include big cats, there’s The Clumsy Clown, The Cowardly Lion, and The Crippled Cougar.

Dogs are in The Howling Dog, The Deadly Toy (although the dog’s scene is usually cut in it), The Golden Oranges, The Frightened Fisherman, and The Impetuous Imp. There’s also the guard dogs in The Calendar Girl. And, if we’re also including inanimate dogs, we can’t forget The Weary Watchdog.

Animals lesser highlighted on Perry (or other shows, for that matter) include burros (The Bashful Burro), apes (The Grinning Gorilla), and even fish (The Glittering Goldfish).

I’m happy that my favorite animals, cats and fish, are both represented. And I’m happy that the fish get an episode where their importance doesn’t have anything to do with fishing!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Notable Guest-Stars: Jeanette Nolan

So, Jeanette Nolan. A very accomplished actress from just about every medium—stage, radio, film, and television—she’s someone probably everyone has seen or heard in something or another, even if they didn’t realize it.

Apparently I’ve been familiar with some of her work for literally years; she provided the voice of Widow Tweed in Disney’s The Fox and the Hound. I love that beautiful, highly underrated movie and I am very intrigued to learn that she played a major role in it. Now I want to rent it again (or buy it, something I always wanted to do) and hear her excellent voice-acting.

Jeanette appeared six times on Perry, but she’s so fondly remembered and her performances so memorable, that it sometimes seems it was more than that. But six is plenty of times to enjoy her wonderful talents.

Her first guest spot is in The Fugitive Nurse, one of my favorite season 1 episodes. There are so many good scenes for Hamilton and Tragg in it. Jeanette plays the penny-pinching wife of the eventual murder victim. And she turns out a chilling and cold-hearted performance in court when it’s revealed that she is the murderer. Her motive was insurance; she says her husband wasn’t worth anything alive and she thought he might be worth something dead. Yikes. If any of the female murderers got the death penalty, I can definitely imagine she would be one of them.

She isn’t seen again until season 4’s The Nine Dolls, and again she is the murderer, upset because she and her blackmailing husband are being cut out of their employer’s will. This time she has a Scottish accent. One thing she’s always very amazing with is voices. I think each Perry character has a different one.

She appears in The Counterfeit Crank, an episode late in season 5, as the mother of Burt Reynolds’ character. This is the first time on Perry that, I believe, she plays a good girl. She also has a very interesting hairstyle in this role.

Of course, my favorite of her Perry characters is Erna Norden in season 6’s The Hateful Hero. She turns out an amazing and heart-breaking performance as the mother of police officer Otto Norden, who is killed in the line of duty. Mrs. Norden finds it difficult enough to have her beloved son gone, but the problem is made much worse when Otto is posthumously suspected of having been involved in the robbery he was supposedly trying to prevent. And surrogate son Lieutenant Anderson’s cousin Jimmy also being a suspect doesn’t help matters one bit. Although he denies it, rumors persist that he ran away around the time Otto was being cornered and killed.

I still can’t help but wonder if there was a strain between Andy and Mrs. Norden while Jimmy was on trial. It’s hard to imagine there wouldn’t have been some difficulties, even though Andy could not bring himself to personally suggest the idea that maybe Otto was the criminal. When talking to Perry, Mrs. Norden was so bitter about Jimmy that she couldn’t even be bothered to remember his name at first. (“What’s his name . . . oh, Jimmy.”)

Mrs. Norden speaks with an accent that I think is German. English is clearly not her first language, but she has a very good command of it in general, save for the occasional grammatical slip.

Undoubtedly Jeanette’s most off-the-wall Perry character is in season 8’s The Betrayed Bride. I still don’t like that episode; the family is just so nuts and so much of the writing surrounding them is clearly tongue-in-cheek. But love it or hate it, one surely must concede that Jeanette’s performance as the bizarre and supposedly ditzy Aunt Nellie is incredible. It certainly proves that she is capable of comedic and dramatic roles equally well. (I also saw her play a strange nutcase on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. recently.)

Nellie turns out to be a dark horse; she is the murderer not only of the character in the episode (her second husband), but also her first husband, who died before the episode opened. The second husband knew about the prior crime and was blackmailing her about it, so she killed him. Oy vey, what a twisted mess. And her confession scene is kind of oddball, too, as she tearfully admits killing the second husband “and his red sails.” She really wanted that yacht they’d been talking about getting. In the end, with the way Jeanette acts the scene, it’s really hard to take Nellie fully seriously, even knowing the evil she’s capable of.

Jeanette’s final Perry character is both serious and a good girl; in The Fugitive Fraulein, she just longs to have her granddaughter join her and her husband. The episode, perhaps the most topical the show ever did, has Perry and company travel with them overseas as they try to get the granddaughter out from behind the Iron Curtain. It’s very exciting and intense and features Perry struggling to deal with a court that will not listen to him.

In real-life, Jeanette was married to actor John McIntire, and they remained married from the mid-1930s up to when he died in 1991. Awesome. They appeared together in several shows, both in guest roles and as regulars for a time on The Virginian.

Jeanette herself died in 1998, and she was active just about right up to that time. Her final role was in The Horse Whisperer, which came out that year.

I always enjoy seeing her roles on Perry episodes and am pleasantly surprised whenever she pops up in something else I’m watching. I look forward to seeing her work on The Virginian, which I feel is one of the best Westerns and one of the best shows in general that has ever been made.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What's in a name?

I did finally finish that Tell-Tale Tap piece. I'm pretty pleased with it, particularly the last scene. Paul is heavily featured, as well as Glen Holman and Captain McVey. If anyone is interested, it's here: 

So I have to curiously wonder about assorted things sometimes. Such as names. Where did some of them come from?

I’ve heard the infamous bit on how Erle Stanley Gardner didn’t even stop to think about the fact that you can get Ham Burger if you shorten poor Hamilton’s name. I find it hard to believe it never occurred to him, but then again, it honestly never occurred to me until I read that.

But if it’s true that he didn’t think of that, how did he decide on that name anyway? Or on Perry Mason, Della Street, or any of the rest?

Perhaps some of my curiosity stems from the fact that I am a writer and am often seeking just the perfect names for the characters who wander into my stories. Even though they usually just support the main, canonical casts, I want their names to reflect something important about them whenever possible.

I don’t always go to such lengths for characters, I must admit. Sometimes I pull names out of nowhere or choose names of people (or other characters) I like. For instance, Dr. Alice Portman was created and named in 2002, right when I was on a big Star Wars kick, loved Episode II (yes, I love all the prequels), and had just read a Jedi Apprentice book about a mad scientist. And the name “Portman” came from actress Natalie Portman, who features in all the prequel films. (I do worry it’s somewhat insulting, to have named such an evil character after someone I like, but no insults were intended.)

Other times, however, I spend ages on name websites, going through the names of various countries and cultures to find a cool-sounding name with the meaning I want.

Sometimes I look up the meanings of names of characters (and actors) I really like. Perry, it seems, means foreigner or stranger. Hamilton means scarred or crooked hill. Paul means small, little, or humble. None of those meanings seem to bear any particular significance with the show’s characters.

The name Arthur highly amuses me with its myriad of meanings. Bear hero. Um, no, doesn’t really apply here. Strong as a bear? I . . . don’t really think so. Stone? That doesn’t seem quite right either. The only meanings that make any sense for Arthur Tragg are the Arthurian legend meanings: noble and courageous.

Della seems to only ever mean bright or noble. There’s a couple more meanings that really fit the Perry character!

And what about the characters who only exist in the show and not the books? Who came up with their names, and why? Did a writer know someone named Andy (meaning man or warrior) or Steve (meaning crown or victorious)? Were they based on anyone in real-life?

And Deputy D.A. Sampson. What about him? Was he named for the Biblical Samson (whose name in turn seems to approximately mean sun) or was the name, again, pulled out of thin air or based on someone the writer knew?

I’ve kind of always had it in my mind that there’s definitely some connection between Deputy D.A. Sampson and the Biblical Samson, if not in the writer’s mind, then definitely in the way H.M. Wynant chose to play Sampson.

The Biblical Samson is the man legendary for his physical strength. While we’ve never really had a demonstration of Deputy Sampson’s physical strength, I have the feeling that his mental strength is very great (and that perhaps he prides himself on that). And he has seemingly complete confidence in himself and his methods, just as Samson has about his physical strength.

Samson is also one of the Biblical judges. While the Biblical judges did not exclusively deal with legal matters and more often exercised the roles of military leaders, they did encounter legal problems too. (And I would be very intrigued to learn about some of the legal things Samson dealt with.) Deputy Sampson is a prosecuting attorney and not a judge, but there’s still some similarity there, as far as dealing with legal matters go.

Both of them believe very strongly in justice. True, their methods are not the same, but they do follow the respective laws in their days (Samson believing firmly in “an eye for an eye” and Sampson adhering to modern-day American laws).

Samson had, to say the least, very bad luck with women. That’s one thing we don’t know where Deputy Sampson is concerned, although it did make me think of that one backstory someone else made up for Sampson where he had many unusual encounters with women as a legal student. I don’t accept that as my idea of what Sampson is like, but the loose parallel is odd to note in this list anyway.

I had this set of Bible stories on tape as a kid. (And I’m pretty sure I still have all the books and the tapes, in working order.) I don’t know why, but it kind of seems like I especially gravitated to the one about Samson. I thought he was cool and I felt sorry for him about Delilah. But even though his story ended sad, I played the heck out of that tape.

I don’t know if any of that has any bearing on why I started gravitating to the Perry Sampson, but I find it interesting. I suppose what I think is the strongest parallel is their confidence in their respective strengths, as well as their respective strengths. Deputy Sampson may be brash and somewhat arrogant, but I believe he’s an honestly good person and I consider him one of my heroes on Perry because of the impression I get of his mental strength and his determination to fight for justice and against criminals.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Gilded Lily

So last night I watched The Tell-Tale Tap. And, as what usually happens when I watch an episode where an actor I love plays a character who dies, I start wondering if there’s any way to save the character. Sometimes it takes a very long time before I can arrive at a solution, as it did with Captain Caldwell. This time, I figured out a way to do it in a shorter amount of time.

Another factor in deciding to try it is because of my tinkering with that Decadent Dean-related piece. If I’m going to explore the possibility of Tobin Wade ever regretting what he did, the slimeball, it seems I should definitely do something with rescuing and redeeming Glen Holman, since his crimes are nowhere near as horrific.

(I also actually did break down and fiddle with something about Slim Marcus from The Singing Skirt, exploring my idea that maybe he and his partner-in-crime struggled over the gun, which she pulled on him instead of vice versa, and it just went off. There’s so little actually said in the episode about “how he killed her” that it is possible it could have happened that way. That piece, however, is very short unless I find a way to continue it, and it’s currently not posted anywhere at all.)

The final factor in deciding to go ahead with the Tell-Tale Tap piece was that I laid down for a nap after Perry and ended up having the most off-the-wall dream involving something about me meeting Glen Holman and us going together to talk to someone in a building about some sort of business deal we were both interested in, and then me wandering around the building visiting connecting stores and looking for Holman. Weird. Holman was very charming, as he was in the episode, but I couldn't tell whether or not he had changed his crooked ways.

While working out the details of my idea with Glen Holman, I tried something a bit different. Paul found his way into the piece when I was looking for a way to get a regular character involved. It gives me a chance to write serious detective Paul, something I love seeing on the show, and provides some interesting interaction. Paul and Glen Holman never interacted in the episode, but it would have been fun.

I thought I was going to be done with the piece soon enough that I could stick a link in here, but I decided I might want to do one other scene. So I’ll hold off on that for now.

Last week I wanted to watch a Perry episode I haven’t seen in a very long time. So I got out my season 1 part 2 set and looked through the possibilities. I thought I remembered especially liking The Gilded Lily, so I slipped it in.

It is definitely one of my most favorite season 1 ventures. Not only do we meet the man who owns the Brent building, we see several other unique and positive features.

There’s an ex-con successfully managing to go straight. Usually if a protagonist has been convicted on the show (even if said conviction happened before the episode opened), they’re later shown to have been innocent all along, so an actually guilty party is something very rare. It’s kind of a breath of fresh air, too, considering both that she was really guilty and that she’s trying to be a better person now.

Said ex-con has also managed to find true happiness by marrying Mr. Brent. Their relationship is truly lovely and endures, instead of breaking to pieces like so many marriages on the series.

Mr. Brent’s secretary, who is so grief-stricken about him marrying that she overdoses on sleeping pills and later decides she’ll keep fighting for him anyway, actually ends up becoming genuine friends with his new wife. It’s understated but beautifully depicted throughout the episode, from Enid’s initial reluctance to so much as talk with the friendly Mrs. Brent to their quiet bonding over time (I love the scene of one of them laying her hand over the other’s as a comforting gesture) and finally, Enid actively worrying about Mrs. Brent after Mr. Brent is accused of murder. Enid proclaims that Mrs. Brent is a wonderful person and knows she truly loves Mr. Brent. Presumably, Enid abandons her idea of fighting for him and just decides to be happy for them both.

Tragg gets to be awesome all the way along. He makes some of his classic comments and has some fun scenes, especially when he realizes that there’s evidence hidden in his car due to a mysterious girl pretending to be his niece and wanting to put a present in his car. (It was really Enid, hoping to get the evidence out of the car that Mr. Brent hid there so it wouldn’t be found on him when he was searched.)

I think that bit was part of my inspiration when I created Lucy to be Tragg’s niece. I decided he should really have a niece and that it would be interesting interaction.

Unusual for a season 1 episode, there aren’t any wildly untrue accusations flying around at Perry. (Nor does Perry do anything that would justify wild accusations.) Like Tragg, Hamilton is also awesome all the way along.

We even get a rare glimpse into seeing something from Hamilton’s point of view, as he is the first person to make it clear to the audience that the fact of all the women being blondes is noticed and possibly important. He leans over the table, staring at each woman in turn on the other side of the gallery. We then see the close-ups of them, followed by the judge calling to Hamilton and Hamilton starting back to the situation at hand.

On that note, it’s interesting how it’s definitely set up so it seems one of the women must be involved. It’s not really disguised that Enid’s roommate Sheila has something to do with things, since she is the only one to wear her hair in a certain way and it’s very visible even when she has on a scarf and the camera doesn’t show her face.

I’m guessing, however, that Sheila is meant to be a red herring. Yes, it’s finally found out that she was partners with the murder victim in the blackmail scheme that threatened to smear Mrs. Brent’s name, but she isn’t the killer, either.

Then Mrs. Brent becomes one last red herring, as she goes to confront the only other person who could have committed the murder—the hotel desk clerk. During that scene, it looks like she’s somehow mixed up in the mess too, but then the creep is arrested and it’s revealed Mrs. Brent was just trying to get him to confess. She and Mr. Brent joyously reunite.

I love the very last bit of the episode, as Perry and Tragg link arms and walk off to allow the Brents to enjoy their time together. Perry and Tragg seem very friendly in the episode and this scene, and the ending is the icing on the cake.

All in all, The Gilded Lily is such a fun, feel-good episode of the series that ends with everything right.