Perry Mason is a well-acted, beautifully photographed and fairly well-written courtroom drama to which all other programs of this genre will be compared. Mason, a sharp, forty-something criminal-defense attorney sometimes takes personal risks to give his clients effective legal representation. With a mind more logical than that of Mr. Spock, he loses only one trial in the entire series. Ably assisted by confidential secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale) and his swinging P.I. Paul Drake (William Hopper) Mason never fails to make D.A. Hamilton Burger (William Talman) lose his cool and veteran cop Lt. Tragg (Ray Collins) grind his teeth. More than a little subversive for the mores of a half-century past, one must wonder how many innocent persons not represented by Mason, particularly those non-rich, non-white or non-Protestant, were sent to the gas chamber. We can only speculate how Mason would respond to today's legal climate of an American gulag archipelago and the use of torture blessed by the Federal judiciary.
Good in the Eisenhower years, with the barely-suppressed hysteria of the '50s as a thematic backdrop, Perry Mason started to get dull and predictable by 1962. Tragg disappeared after Ray Collins had a stroke and was replaced by the less entertaining Lt. Anderson (Wesley Lau) who seems to have been cloned from Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet fame. Implausible stories toward the end, such as Mason defends in a communist show-trial. Generally as Mason's hair got thinner and waistline wider, the show worsened.
Give Perry Mason a look in those episodes which included Ray Collins, particularly the first season. Also check those episodes in which Bette Davis substituted for Mason.