(Spoilers ahead for “Perry Mason” on HBO through the July 12 episode)
As a series, HBO’s “Perry Mason” seems generally more concerned with character-based storytelling over the whodunit aspect of the murder of baby Charlie Dodson. But that whodunit aspect is still there, and the show is drip feeding us clues over the first four episodes.
We’re halfway through this story now, and it really doesn’t seem like we’ve gotten much of a glimpse at the big picture yet. There’s just a bunch of disparate hints and not much connective tissue to bring them all together.
As of this week’s episode, we know at least four people were involved in the kidnapping and murder of Charlie Dodson. Three of them are dead, and one is still alive. We have no idea whether there’s some kind of greater conspiracy, but this is an old-style noir thriller — there’s almost certainly some kind of conspiracy here.
So right now, here’s what we know. Charlie Dodson was kidnapped by a group of men who promptly demanded a ransom payment of $100,000 from the parents, Matthew (Nate Corddry) and Emily Dodson (Gayle Rankin). They were able to pay that ransom thanks to Herman Baggerly (Robert Patrick) — Matthew is his bastard son.
The Dodsons left the money in a hotel room near Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles and went to retrieve Charlie, who had been left on one of the train cars. But Charlie was dead, his eyes sewn open so other people in the train car would think he as alive.
At least four men were involved in the kidnapping. After the ransom swap, three of the men hid out in another hotel. The fourth man, LAPD Detective Ennis (Andrew Howard), retrieved the ransom money then met up with the other three. At which point he murdered all three of his co-conspirators.
Before Ennis showed up and killed them, we saw the trio discussing how the whole thing went down — all three of them indicated they didn’t know that Charlie would die. One of the men even specified that someone gave Charlie’s body to them, meaning either Ennis or someone else was the real mastermind behind the whole thing. So Ennis was tying up loose ends either for himself or on the behalf of said mastermind.
One of the three dead men was George Gannon (Aaron Stanford). Gannon was having an affair with Emily Dodson, and he worked at the Radiant Assembly of God, the evangelical revivalist church where Sister Alice (Tatiana Maslany) leads. George is likely the one who did the actual kidnapping.
While Los Angeles district attorney Maynard Barnes (Stephen Root) uses Emily’s relationship with George as an excuse to pounce on Emily, it’s very much unlikely that Emily had anything to do with the kidnapping of her son. First, it’s just too easy and simple. And second, there’s just no way the cops are right in a “Perry Mason” story.
So what we know right now is the Detective Ennis is, at minimum, an accessory to the kidnapping and murder of baby Charlie. And it’s possible he’s the mastermind. But we learned about Ennis’s involvement in the kidnapping during the premiere episode, and it’s tough to fathom them giving away the game so early on.
More likely is that there’s a greater conspiracy at work. The biggest suspect thus far is Baggerly. He fronted the ransom money, after all — something that wouldn’t upset him too much if he knew he’d get some or most of it back. Thus far Baggerly hasn’t said anything that I would consider incriminating, beyond just being a creepy sexist old guy, but he’s certainly leapt on the chance to distance his son from Emily. Could this whole thing just be a way for Baggerly to bring his son into the fold and remake him in his own image?
It sorta looks like Baggerly is doing just that, convincing Dodson to help the case against Emily. This could just be opportunism on Baggerly’s part, or he could be turning Matthew against Emily just for the sake of making the situation go away. It’s hard to tell either way, but it does kinda look like Baggerly could have a potential motive.
There are two other folks whose part in this situation isn’t super clear as of now, but they certainly feel like prime suspects. The first is Detective Holcomb, Ennis’s partner. At best, Holcomb is barely trying in this investigation. At worst, he’s in on it with Ennis. But there’s been nothing that directly incriminates him yet.
The other is District Attorney Barnes. Barnes may have cleared himself this week during his scene with Ennis and Holcomb in the bathroom, when he yelled at them after Perry Mason found evidence that a fourth man was involved. He directly asked them who killed Charlie Dodson, which is not a question that somebody who was in on it would ask.
That said, Barnes can certainly be “in on it” without knowing the particulars. Barnes appears to have a vested interest in pinning the murder on Emily, which could just be a case of “the mayor is on my butt to clear this big case.” Or it could be that he was told by the conspirators to make sure Emily goes down for the murder. He could just be the corrupt DA making sure the right and powerful folks get what they want.
And, for the record, Barnes’s attempt to blackmail E.B. Jonathan (John Lithgow) was such a power move that it felt like something more than just standard criminal justice machinations. It was like using a nuclear option.
Beyond that, it’s pretty tough to put the pieces together right now, or at least you’d need somebody smarter than I am to do so. In any case, there’s still four more episodes of “Perry Mason” left, and hopefully the answers will start to trickle in a little faster from here on out.
WarnerMedia Begins Massive Round of Layoffs
The entertainment giant handed out hundreds of pink slips as Hollywood continues to reel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
WarnerMedia has begun a round of layoffs with the entertainment giant letting go hundreds of staffers amid the coronavirus crisis that has crippled Hollywood with shelved tentpoles and production shutdowns. Sources say the first wave of layoffs is expected to be around 600 staffers, with a heavy focus at Warner Bros.
The laid off employees include Warner Bros. CFO Kim Williams, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution president Jeff Schlesinger and Ron Sanders, Warner Bros. president, Worldwide Theatrical Distribution & Home Entertainment and Executive Vice President, International Business Operations.
The pink slips were handed out in departments encompassing film and TV and come in the aftermath of a major restructuring at the company that saw WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct to consumer chairman Bob Greenblatt and content chief and TBS, TNT and TruTV president Kevin Reilly ousted last week. The cuts also follow a series of Hollywood layoffs and furloughs that have affected agencies like CAA and Endeavor and such studios as Universal, Disney and Lionsgate.
“Jeff, Ron and Kim are all highly valued members of my senior leadership team, and we will be forever grateful for the many meaningful and lasting contributions each of them has made to Warner Bros.,” said Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of Warner Bros. and newly announced head of WarnerMedia’s Studio and Networks Group. “I thank them all for their dedication and years of service, and wish them the very best in their next chapters.”
Added Sanders: “Warner Bros. is known for being the most celebrated studio in history for good reason. The talent is unmatched, both on the creative and business sides, and I’m honored to have been entrusted to oversee a great portfolio of businesses around the world for the last 30 years.”
Sources say Warners’ Atlanta base, which features scores of staff in cable TV operations and marketing divisions, was especially impacted. Like other media conglomerates, redundancies with other similar departments from other divisions are among the first to go.
On the film front, Warner Bros. has not been immune to the challenges that have rocked the industry. The studio moved its highly anticipated summer film Tenet multiple times (it is opening internationally on Aug. 26, followed by a U.S. release in select cities over Labor Day weekend). The studio also bumped the Wonder Woman sequel off its original summer release date as well as the John Chu-helmed and Lin Manuel Miranda-penned musical In the Heights (the former is scheduled to open Oct. 2, and the latter moved to summer 2021).
The changes arrive as WarnerMedia, under new CEO Jason Kilar, is putting its newly launched streamer HBO Max front and center. The service, which launched May 27, was hoping to convert many of linear cable network HBO’s 30 million-plus subscribers, which costs the same amount. But HBO Max only added 1.1 million HBO customers and 3 million retail customers in its first month. The rollout was hampered by the company’s ongoing negotiations with Amazon and Roku about bringing the app to their connected TV devices. More than two months after launch, HBO Max still isn’t available on either platform.
“It’s been a great 37 year run, with 26 as president of International Television Distribution, spanning six mergers, millions of miles traveled, thousands of programs sold and billions of dollars generated,” Schlesinger said. “In the end, it took a global pandemic and a complete reorganization of the company for me to trip over the last hurdle. I hope to always be remembered as the only studio executive to ride into an International Screenings party at the studio on the back of an elephant in the ‘good old days.’”
Added Williams: “Warner Bros. has a unique and wonderful history; heralded and iconic, it is one that I am proud to have been part of. It is also filled to the brim with the best and brightest. I will cherish my time at this great company.”
The restructuring comes as legacy media companies continue to make major executive suite changes amid a landscape that increasingly places streaming as the top priority. Last week, NBCUniversal outlined a similar strategy and folded all business operations under Frances Berwick, while a search continues for an exec to oversee entertainment programming across streamer Peacock as well as NBC and the company’s suite of cable networks. ViacomCBS, for its part, has also consolidated its executive ranks in the past year-plus, with Chris McCarthy adding a growing number of networks to his purview. The novel coronavirus has forced many legacy media companies to tighten costs amid declining profits, with many insiders noting the restructurings should have taken place well before the pandemic created an economic reason to do so.
The global pandemic has shuttered movie theaters from Beijing to New York as social distancing becomes the new normal across the globe. Studios including Warners have been forced to shutter production on major tentpoles like the most recent outing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
A number of studio parent companies had addressed the fallout from the virus crisis including WarnerMedia owner AT&T and signaled cut-cutting measures to come. On March 20, as the pandemic’s fallout became more clear, the telecom giant said it was canceling planned stock buybacks, including an accelerated share repurchase agreement with Morgan Stanley to buy back $4 billion of its stock, in order to maintain financial flexibility. “The impacts of the pandemic could be material, but due to the evolving nature of this situation, we are not able at this time to estimate the impact on our financial or operational results,” AT&T said.
Kyle Richards: Here’s How I KNOW Denise Richards is a Liar!
On last week’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Denise Richards tried to deflect by spreading lies about Lisa Rinna.
Kyle Richards is explaining why she doesn’t believe a word that came out of Denise’s mouth.
“I swear to god, if I can’t go to dinner with these girls and not talk about sex, I don’t think I can go to dinner with them ever,” Sutton Stracke comments.
In fact, she has thought of a way that she might have diffused the entire conversation.
“I should have just said, ‘it was me,’ to make it go away,” Sutton remarks, before acknowledging that she might not be believed.
Speaking of things that are unlikely to be believed, Sutton adds of Denise’s accusation: “It was a little … off.”
Sutton was not alone in not believing Denise’s claim that Brandi had made these wild claims about every woman, or about Lisa.
And Kyle was less inclined to mince words about it.
“I looked around the table,” Kyle describes, “and I was like … let me do the math, here.”
“She barely knows Teddi,” she notes. “She doesn’t know Sutton.”
Ultimately, Kyle says that she narrowed it down to: “Lisa Rinna … or me. Which is hilarious.”
“And I was like, ‘Just say it’s none of our business,'” Kyle recalls.
“Or say that it’s not true, believe who you want, who cares,” her list of suggestions continues.
“Whatever,” Kyle continues, clearly annoyed with how over the top Denise’s deflection ended up being.
“But to say that,” Kyle laments.
She recalls her internal reaction: “I was just like, ‘that didn’t happen.'”
“You just came up with that last night in your hotel room,” Kyle accuses.
Sutton very graciously — yet shadily — suggests that maybe, just maybe, Denise is telling the truth.
Not about Brandi’s alleged statements about boning every woman she’s met, of course. No one believes Denise there.
But Sutton is willing to accept that it’s possible that Denise never boned Brandi.
Kyle, like many fans, cannot get past the absurd degree to which Denise protested too much.
“She went in so hard with the ‘I don’t even know her, this is not true, it’s not true, it’s not true,'” Kyle points out.
We are then reminded that Denise claimed that she never said anything negative about anyone, a difficult claim to swallow.
“And then,” Kyle continues, Denise “came back 24 hours later, and sits down.”
She narrates “And said ‘well, actually, she said that she slept with one of you guys at the table, too.'”
Teddi laughs at the absurdity of that.
Many Housewives have claimed to have known all along things that they clearly did not know at the time.
To her credit, Kyle said, to Denise’s face, “I don’t believe that she said that” right there at the time at that table.
“After 24 hours?!” Kyle continues. “Just say it’s none of our business. Don’t do that.”
“It’s just so obviously made up and invented on the spot,” Kyle describes.
“Then,” she expresses, “I didn’t feel like we were dealing with anybody who wanted to be honest or speak the truth.”
In other words, this is why Kyle believes Brandi.
Denise has hinted at her intentions to sue Brandi in order to silence her.
Not only was this way too little, way too late, but it’s not exactly going to convince anyone that she’s telling the truth.
This isn’t Joanna Krupa’s lawsuit, where she just had to drag in some exes to declare that her vagina smells nice.
Garcelle Beauvais said it best.
Denise does not owe anyone (aside from, perhaps, her husband and also Brandi) any explanations about her sex life.
But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t interested. When you’re a public figure, you know that people will have questions.
Perhaps if Denise had done any of the things that her castmates have suggested, it would not have been a huge issue.
The tears, the “Bravo, Bravo, Bravo,” and then this incredible (as in literally, not credible) claim about Lisa are not cutting it.
They look like the actions of a desperate woman who is trying to hide the truth. So even if Denise is telling the truth, she’s making herself look like a liar.
Lindsey Buckingham Sings Live For The First Time Since Heart Surgery: Watch
Lindsey Buckingham had open heart surgery last year, which resulted in vocal cord damage. He’s been recovering, though — a couple months after surgery, he appeared at his daughter’s graduation to play “Landslide,” though he didn’t sing. Buckingham was scheduled to go on a solo tour in the spring, presumably where he would sing, but that tour was of course cancelled due to the pandemic.
So Buckingham’s first singing performance in over a year ended up happening on a Zoom call for the cloud computing company Nutanix, as Rolling Stone reports. He did four songs, two Fleetwood Mac ones (“Never Going Back Again” and “Big Love”) and two solo tracks (“Trouble” and “Shut Us Down”).
“This [pandemic] has been like a couple of years previous in which things occurred that I did not see coming,” Buckingham said during the interview portion of the Zoom call. “One was my split from Fleetwood Mac. Another one was having a bypass operation, which I did not expect to happen. You could say that this makes it a trifecta of events that were completely off the charts.”
Buckingham also talked about an upcoming solo record: “I do have an album coming out. We’re waiting to see where this is all going. We don’t have a release date. I was meant to be out on the road now promoting it. It should be out in the spring sometime. It’s just self-titled: Lindsey Buckingham. We’ll see where that goes.”
The performance is below. Buckingham’s songs are at 8m23s, 20m02s, 32m50s, and 44m54s.
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