DVD Review: Perry Mason (The Final Season – Season 9, Volume 1)

How can Perry Mason be coming to an end when Richard Anderson has finally arrived? Ray Collins, who played Lt. Tragg, had passed away during the summer hiatus. The producers had brought in Wesley Lau to fill in when Collins’ emphysema kept him off an episode. Instead of elevating Lau to a full time cast member position, they brought in a new face. Anderson wasn’t a completely new face when he assumed the role of Lt. Steve Drumm. He’d appeared in the previous two seasons as suspects. Viewers also knew him from guest starring on every TV series. Anderson must have felt a sense of major relief to get a full time gig on a longtime hit show. Little did he know it the start of his career as the set up guy for D.A. Hamilton Burger (William Talman) would be on Perry Mason: The Final Season – Season 9, Volume 1.

“The Case of the Laughing Lady” opens in a woman’s jail where the busted ladies are watching a televised society event. One of the prisoners swears a lady on TV is the real killer. But can she get sprung? Well it helps that she’s ready to hire Perry Mason (Ironside‘s Raymond Burr). D.A. Hamilton Burger smell he’s going to finally nail Perry in the courtroom. Lt. Drumm senses this might not be a slam dunk conviction. Bernard Fox (Titanic) is part of the party. “The Case of the Fatal Fortune” lets a fortune teller predict a woman will have a sudden marriage followed by a sudden death. It come true however her dying husband fingers her to the cops before flat lining. “The Case of the Cheating Chancellor” reminds academics that they might turn up dead if they cheat with Lee Meriwether (Batman). “The Case of the Carefree Coronary” investigates insurance fraud. Can Paul Drake (William Hopper) expose the scam’s ringleader? “The Case of the Hasty Honeymooner” finds the perfect bride for Noah Beery Jr. (The Rockford Files). But it can’t be a smooth wedding if Strother Martin (The Wild Bunch) is involved. “The Case of the 12th Wildcat” features a dead football team owner. This is a happy story for fans of certain teams. Robert Quarry (Count Yorga, Vampire) is the coach who wanted to punt the rich drunk owner.

“The Case of the Runaway Racer” features a nasty divorce between race car owners. Perry is just dealing with a bad business deal, but once more gets to upgrade to homicide lawyer. How mess is it? The guest stars include Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat), Micheal Constantine (Room 222) and Paul Winfield (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). “The Case of the Silent Six” reminds us that in 1965, people didn’t respond when their neighbor is being attacked. “The Case of the Fugitive Fraulein” smuggles a woman out of East Germany. Things don’t go right and Perry must stop an international incident. Paul Drake must find a corporate leak in “The Case of the Baffling Bug.” What employee sold a major secret to a rival company? What matters is that there’s a murder so Perry gets another gig. “The Case of the Golden Girls” does not feature Betty White or Bea Arthur. A business owner dies and his partner turns their club and magazine into the new Playboy empire. Bruce Glover (Diamonds Are Forever) might be a suspect. “The Case of the Bogus Buccaneers” kills a woman with a pirate’s hooked hand. Perry must find the real pirate.

Richard Anderson fits well with the cast. His Lt. Drumm gets a read on both Perry Mason and Hamilton Burger. He knows the lifetime score between these two rivals. This snug fit must have hurt Anderson to get the news that Perry Mason was coming to an end. Don’t cry for Anderson, though. In less than a decade, he’d be a regular on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman as Oscar Goldman. Perry Mason: The Final Season, Season 9, Volume 1 reveals the verdict that Anderson was ready to be a regular cast member and not merely guest star.

“The Case of the Laughing Lady,” “The Case of the Fatal Fortune,” “The Case of the Candy Queen,” “The Case of the Cheating Chancellor,” “The Case of the Impetuous Imp,” “The Case of the Carefree Coronary,” “The Case of the Hasty Honeymooner,” “The Case of the 12th Wildcat,” “The Case of the Wrathful Wraith,” “The Case of the Runaway Racer,” “The Case of the Silent Six,” “The Case of the Fugitive Fraulein,” “The Case of the Baffling Bug,” “The Case of the Golden Girls” and “The Case of the Bogus Buccaneers.”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The black and white transfers are as rich as most of Perry’s clients. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. The levels bring out the courtroom gasps. The episodes are subtitled.

No bonus features.

Perry Mason: The Final Season – Season 9, Volume 1 doesn’t seem like a show ready to wrap up. Richard Anderson’s arrival as Lt. Drumm brings a little vigor to the investigations. He might be new to the scene, but he’s not pushed around. Volume 2 wraps up the original black and white era on August 13.

CBS DVD presents Perry Mason: The Final Season – Season 9, Volume 1. Starring: Raymond Burr, William Hopper, Barbara Hale, William Talman and Richard Anderson. Boxset Content: 15 episodes on 4 DVDs. Released: June 11, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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