It’s been a very hectic week. I’ve had some vague sprinklings of ideas for posts, but not much time to try to gather them together.
I find it interesting that it’s been almost a year since I had a change of heart about Deputy D.A. Sampson. It was last July when I re-watched his episodes with new eyes and realized that I quite liked him. That led to eventually adding H.M. Wynant to my list of extra-special favorites and actively looking for his other roles. I have happily recorded things on television and purchased quite a few sets of television episodes and a movie or two to get more footage of him.
Now, it’s going to be July again and those episodes are going to be on close to the same time they aired last year, perhaps about a week later. But they’re going to be on a different station this time—Me instead of the local station.
It will also soon be a year since I received access to MeTV. Such an amazing channel! And so perfect for Perry fans. I think Perry is the only series that they show at two drastically different times of day. Any other show that they have two episodes of they air back-to-back. (And the others are always half-hour shows.) I curiously wonder why Perry fans are so privileged, but I don’t question it too much.
I’ve been watching some of Me’s season 1 episodes off and on, although right now I’m more interested in following my local station’s season 6. But the other night I watched The Cautious Coquette on Me. I rarely watch some of these season 1 episodes, and I had largely forgotten some of the details of this one, even the guilty party, so it was an interesting and renewing experience.
I’ve been finding it very interesting to note Perry’s different behavior and attitudes in comparison with other seasons. Even though there are later times here and there where he doesn’t seem to trust or believe the people who become his clients, it’s more likely to happen in season 1.
It’s definitely the case in The Cautious Coquette, where he is singularly unmoved by the titular character’s insistence that she did not witness the hit-and-run and feels that her story about being blackmailed is a very good act.
It also happens in The Restless Redhead and The Fan-Dancer’s Horse and is even a key plot point in the latter, with Perry lamenting at the end that if he can’t have more faith in his clients, he shouldn’t be a lawyer.
He certainly becomes less cynical and suspicious as time goes on. Perhaps this is mainly due to becoming a much better judge of character. He tends to more likely believe those who are deserving of it and disbelieve those who aren’t. And for the later times when he doesn’t always believe or like the clients, such as in The Hasty Honeymooner, he is often quite justified in thinking there’s something screwy there. I had a very difficult time believing the eccentric fellow in that episode wasn’t guilty of at least something, until everything finally came together near the end.
In any event, Perry’s increasingly good ability to pick trustworthy people is definitely a sign of the maturing of the character. On the other hand, however, from the writers’ perspective, it may have mainly been a way of affirming such ideas as that Perry is never wrong.
That is often a dangerous path to tread. It can make the character seem less three-dimensional and real and instead, larger-than-life. Perry somehow manages to feel real anyway, thanks to the writers as well as Raymond Burr’s wonderful portrayal.
For a more flawed Perry, season 1 is definitely the place to go. Not only does he not always trust his clients, but he pulls more of those stunts that drive Hamilton and the police up the wall. But every now and then, even though he matures, he does retain some of those characteristics in later times. The Mystified Miner certainly comes to mind, as does The Woeful Widower.
I’m never crazy about the law-bending stunts he pulls, since they usually try to depict him as being in the right when doing them, but I do like giving him dilemmas such as thoroughly believing in someone’s guilt when they haven’t done what he thinks they have. And his moral/legal dilemmas in The Capering Camera and The Misguided Model make for some other, very unique Perry scenarios. I quite enjoy the testing of a character with such situations, and I enjoy it much more when they make the right decisions in the end.