Perry Mason Season 2 Recruits Sean Astin, Paul Raci, And More

Season 1 of HBO Max's "Perry Mason" series snuck up on quite a few viewers in 2020, taking a darker and more angst-ridden direction than some may have expected while serving as a prequel and origin story for the fictional detective. The character originally appeared in author Erle Stanley Gardner's crime novels (over 80 of them!) before receiving an adaptation as a CBS legal drama in the '50s and '60s, starring Raymond Burr. The HBO series is led by Matthew Rhys, who plays sad and self-loathing like nobody else can (as anyone who's also watched him in "The Americans" can attest to), but the real secret to the show's success was its deep bench of supporting players: Shea Whigham, Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk, Tatiana Maslany, John Lithgow, and Stephen Root among them.

HBO didn't hesitate very long before giving season 2 the official greenlight and now, with the private investigator's origin story out of the way and his fledgling detective agency established by the end of season 1, we're finally hearing more about the expanded scope awaiting us for next season. According to reports, a quartet of character actors have joined the cast of "Perry Mason," with some very familiar faces that viewers will certainly recognize. Fans will be thrilled to know that the newcomers are led by Sean Astin, famously known for his role as Samwise Gamgee in "The Lord of the Rings" but has put in solid work throughout recent years in "Stranger Things," a fun appearance on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and more. Check out all the casting details and a new description of "Perry Mason" season 2 below!

Perry Mason Fills Out Its Cast

Deadline reports that, in addition to Astin, actors Tommy Dewey ("The Mindy Project," "Pivoting"), Paul Raci ("Sound of Metal"), and Jen Tullock ("Severance") have all joined the ensemble alongside Matthew Rhys and returning actor Shea Whigham. This news comes a few months after we first heard that Katherine Waterston would also be joining the cast, adding some serious dramatic heft to what's shaping up to be an ambitious sophomore season. The report also includes a description of the plot:

"Season 2 picks up months after the end of the Dodson trial. Perry's (Matthew Rhys) moved off the farm, ditched the milk truck, he's even traded his leather jacket for a pressed suit. It's the worst year of the Depression, and Perry and Della (Juliet Rylance) have set the firm on a safer path pursuing civil cases instead of the tumultuous work that criminal cases entail. Unfortunately, there isn't much work for Paul (Chris Chalk) in wills and contracts, so he's been out on his own. An open-and-closed case overtakes the city of Los Angeles, and Perry's pursuit of justice reveals that not everything is always as it seems."

In accordance with this new direction, Astin will play Sunny Gryce, described as someone "...who embodies the American Dream... to a fault. Perry and Della's new client, he's a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield that is dueling supermarkets in town, and he'll make sure he gets his money's worth out of his fancy new attorneys." Dewey will portray Brooks McCutcheon, "the scion of the wealthiest oil family in LA. He's charming, connected, and eager to prove himself. He constantly questions whether that self has the talent to rise to the heights to which own father ascended." Raci is Lydell McCutcheon, "a self-made power player who built LA, along with his fortune, off the city's vast oil fields. Lydell has sired both a lucrative empire and an ambitious son incapable of commanding it." Lastly, Tullock will appear as Anita St. Pierre, ​​"a successful screenwriter and the rare woman who's made a name for herself in a man's world. Stylish, confident, and witty, Anita crashes into Della's world and shows her a side of life and love that she's been missing."

Created by Erle Stanley Gardner, "Perry Mason" underwent a showrunner change after the first season, but is on track for a 2022 release.