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Perry Mason’s Chris Chalk Identifies Paul Drake’s Turning Point


Having been let down repeatedly by white people like deceptive investigator Pete Strickland (Shea Whigham) and even the well-intentioned Mason himself, Paul Drake’s cynicism feels completely natural. With Mason no longer providing steady work as he implicitly promised, Drake resorted to a freelance gig with Strickland … who in turn proceeded to indirectly stab him in the back, using the evidence to arrest a local gangster who had been providing a surprisingly high quality of life for the local Black community.

In an interview with EURweb, Chris Chalk identified the crucial moment when Drake reached his personal crossroads in season 2. It came about towards the end of the fourth episode, after uncovering evidence that indicates their defendants actually did murder wealthy Los Angeles public figure Brooks McCutcheon (Tommy Dewey). Suffering a crisis of conscience over what to do, he turns to his unwaveringly determined wife Clara (Diarra Kilpatrick) for a much-needed pep talk where she simply challenges him to do his job as an investigator and find more evidence. According to Chalk, this was the difference-maker for Drake:

“I think more so than Perry, like you said, it’s Clara that gets Paul to get his s**t together. Clara has a moment where she says, ‘You know, if you don’t like it, do something about it.’ And I take that as Paul’s turning point, because he’s tried, he’s been knocking on these white doors when he was a regular cop, a beat cop.”

Since those early days on the beat in season 1, Drake and Mason have butted heads over racial issues that Mason remained ignorant of — even without acting out of outright malice. But in some ways, that only makes it worse.

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