[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the Season 1 finale of Perry Mason, “Chapter 8.”]
Poor Emily Dodson (Gayle Rankin) went through a lot in Perry Mason Season 1. After the crushing loss of her infant son, she’s accused of having had a hand in his murder herself. E.B. Jonathan (John Lithgow) had her back in court, but he’s ultimately driven to take his own life when his involvement in the case results in threats to have him disbarred. At that point, Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) is forced to step up and serve as Emily’s new representation, and things get off to a pretty rocky start for him.
Meanwhile, there’s also Emily’s relations with Alice (Tatiana Maslany) and Birdy McKeegan (Lili Taylor). Alice convinces Emily that she’ll resurrect her son, but when the ceremony becomes an utter disaster, Birdy flees the scene with Alice. They arrive at a different location and find a baby that Birdy insists is Charlie Dodson. But, enough is enough for Alice and she takes off, seemingly for good. As for Emily, while Mason does manage to pull it together in court and get the judge to call a mistrial, Emily still goes back to Birdy, and appears to accept this other baby as her own.
So after all of this, where is Emily’s head at in the end? Even though she identifies the differences between this baby and Charlie, does she convince herself that this is her son or is it more a matter of filling the hole in her heart? Here’s what Gayle Rankin had to say on the matter in her episode of Collider Ladies Night:
“I think it’s both, like everything we’ve been talking about and that’s why I feel so lucky to have gotten to play this character because she’s so inherently human and it’s so devastating to imagine – she can’t survive. She won’t be able to survive. Her heart was taken from her. Her whole reason for living. And I think she wants to believe that she can continue but when given this other opportunity to survive, she takes it. And she’s like, if I’m gonna take this opportunity, I’m gonna need to be in it wholeheartedly.”
If you’re looking for even more from Rankin on her experience working on Perry Mason, you can catch that and so much more about her career in the episode of Ladies Night below.