There's a simple reason you don't see a jury much on Perry Mason. Well, two reasons.
For a legal drama, you sure don't see a lot of juries.
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The vast majority of Perry Mason episodes end up in the courtroom. The pioneering legal drama helped shape the genre — and it even influenced how many Americans viewed the legal system. There is a very real legal theory called "Perry Mason syndrome," which explains how some jurors expect "A-ha!" moments on the stand thanks to the clever, if unrealistic, scripting they had seen on the television show.
But here's something you might not have taken note of. There really are not many juries on Perry Mason at all. A whopping 54 actors portrayed the 278 judges credited on the series. You can easily count the juries with your fingers.
Why is that? Well, the first explanation is rather obvious — most of the courtroom scenes on Perry Mason are preliminary hearings. They simple are not jury trials. Still, there are some jury trials here and there, largely in the first season. In fact, the first jury seen appears in "The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece," the second episode of the series. "The Case of the Daring Decoy," later that first season, features the jury seen above.
Just a quick side note about the jury in "Daring Decoy." You might recognize the old lady who handles a pistol with disgust in the jury box. She is an unknown extra seen in dozens upon dozens of Perry Mason episodes. We wrote about her recently here. Take a look:
Anyway, there is another simple reason juries did not appear much in Perry Mason: money.
"CBS knew that besides enhancing Perry's reputation, it could also save money not have to pay twelve extras to play jurors in every episode," the Perry Mason TV Show Book explained.
That's right — it simply costs more to have 12 random actors sit around the set for an episode.
Oh, one more fun little trivia tidbit about "The Case of the Daring Decoy." In the trial, Perry cross-examines an elevator operator on the stand. She testifies that she was reading a book when she spotted Perry's client. He asks the witness what book she was reading.
"You Could Die Laughing," the witness says, which elicits laughter in the courtroom. This was a 1957 detective novel written by A.A. Fair — a pen name of Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason! Yep, it was a nice little promotional plug for the author. Now it's a fun little easter egg.