'Perry Mason' Sneak Peek: Matthew Rhys Stars In The Updated Detective Series Executive Produced By Robert Downey Jr.

The name's Mason. Perry Mason. Sure, he doesn't have the coolest name, but this legendary criminal defense lawyer is one of the oldest beloved American characters. At the very least, he's played by Matthew Rhys in the upcoming HBO limited series, which lends him at least three more layers of cool. Executive produced by Robert Downey Jr. and based on the series of short stories and novels written by Erle Stanley Gardner, HBO's Perry Mason is an updated take on the 1930s criminal defense lawyer who has appeared in several radio and TV shows including two series in 1957 and 1985 starring Raymond Burr.

Perry Mason Sneak Peek

Previous iterations of Perry Mason have been buttoned up and noble-browed, but HBO teases its upcoming eight-episode limited series with the cheeky text, "Matthew Rhys can peek into my window any night of the week," which suggests a sexier take on the criminal defense lawyer. Introduced in 1933 in Gardner's novel The Case of the Velvet Claws, Perry Mason has appeared in more than 80 novels and short stories, and several radio and TV series, each time appearing to prove his wrongfully convicted client's innocence. And he's back at it again in HBO's upcoming Perry Mason, of which we know little about, except for the fact that it stars Emmy-winning The Americans star Matthew Rhys (making excellent work of the knitted brow) and it's produced by Team Downey. Even the above teaser shows us very little — just Rhys' Perry Mason doing some grade-A snooping.

The HBO series is an origin story that will follow Perry as he takes a potentially life-changing case in 1932 Los Angeles. According to the plot synopsis, "While the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited series follows the origins of American Fiction's most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason (Rhys). When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason's relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself."

In addition to Rhys, Perry Mason stars John LithgowShea WhighamTatiana MaslanyJuliet Rylance, and Chris Chalk as series regulars, while Nate Corddry, Veronica Falcon, Jefferson Mays, Gayle Rankin, and Lili Taylor appear in recurring roles.

Perry Mason will debut on HBO in 2020.