Mason and the Mob
Ken Malansky (William R. Moses) finds himself mixing with some unsavoury characters in the shape of gangster Johnny Sorrento (Michael Nader) when his old friends Mike (Howard McGillin) and Joanna Calder (Pamela Bowen) end up in business with him. But when Johnny's wife is killed and all the facts seem to point to Johnny having done it "Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) finds himself defending the known killer as he is convinced that on this occasion he is not only innocent but turned his back on killing people. It means for Ken even more danger than usual as he digs in to Sorrento's past including one of the murders he did commit and got away with.
It is amazing how the team behind the Perry Mason TV movies of the 90s could take the same formula and find 101 different ways to spin it. As such it should be no surprise when I say that "Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster" once again takes the familiar formula of an innocent man arrested for a murder because all the facts point to him doing it only for Perry and Ken to discover there is more to the case than it seems with of course there being someone else with a motive which you know will be revealed about 10 minutes before the movie is due to end in the courtroom when Perry springs the truth on others. And typically before than Ken Malansky has done a lot of the leg work and taken a few punches in the course of getting evidence.
Now to be honest "Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster" is not quite as entertaining as normal and that is down to the spin on the usual which is to have Perry Mason defending a gangster who everyone knows has dirted his hands in the past and got away with. As such we are not in the usual friendly, charming Perry Mason territory here but a straighter faced one and that causes the movie to lack something. Oh it is certainly an interesting attempt to put a new spin on things but it feels odd with Raymond Burr often coming across as uncomfortable having to lose the usual charm element from his character.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster" is still an entertaining Perry Mason movie the darker storyline causes it to lack some of the things which for me are a crucial part of the series.