Sunday, November 25, 2012


I have a very odd hang-up for a Perry Mason fan.

I do not like when favorite characters of mine, on any series, are thrown in jail for crimes they did not commit. For some reason, something about a character I’m absolutely nuts about being behind legal bars sets me on edge.

It’s something I absolutely will not write about in fan stories. They can be accused falsely, but actually being thrown in jail is a plot twist I won’t use.

I can’t really explain why that bothers me so badly whereas I have no qualms putting the characters through some of the disasters I’ve enacted in my stories. It doesn’t seem like there’s much logic to it; I only know there’s some kind of blockade there, without fully knowing why.

On Perry, there actually isn’t too much concern of my getting extremely tense over that plot twist. I often care about the defendants, and I don’t like them being in jail, but I don’t generally like them to the extent that it upsets me the way it did when, say, one of the main Diagnosis Murder characters was clapped in jail.

Perhaps it’s the way the show is set up. There are scenes of Perry talking with the clients in jail, but rarely if ever do we see them in their cells and what happens with them while they’re in there. Mostly it’s either them talking to Perry or them being in court.

Of everyone who has been in jail on Perry, the only time I’ve found it bothered me anywhere to the extent it has on shows in the past was the last time I re-watched The Daring Decoy (perhaps a week or so ago). I found myself absolutely not liking the idea of Daniel Conway in jail, at all. I wonder if that means I’ll end up having the same hang-up about Amory Fallon the next time I watch The Impatient Partner, as I thought I liked his actor every bit as much as Daniel’s.

And I hope Daniel isn’t going to prove difficult to write for. I just debuted him in the latest chapter of The Malevolent Mugging and wasn’t entirely sure of some of his dialogue. I want to make sure his speech pattern is different from Sampson’s. They both seem to have a pretty good command of the English language.

Personality-wise, there shouldn’t be any conflict. Daniel is easy-going and friendly, while Sampson seems rigid and arrogant. But it could just be because of only seeing Sampson in court settings; perhaps he’s friendly and amiable outside of court. And even in court, he’s quite gentle and kind with the widow in The Loquacious Liar and the teenage girl in The Red Riding Boots. If he was really the way I thought he was when I saw his episodes last year, he would have treated them as zealously as he did some other witnesses.

I’ve come up with a backstory for Sampson in the story too, which I find interesting to work with. It happened when I saw someone running a blog who came up with a backstory I didn’t care for at all. Theirs basically involved him having been an extreme womanizer while working through law school, jumping in bed with the women he met on his trucking job, both single and married. And the person speculated that maybe Sampson was continuing such antics even after becoming assistant district attorney.

Thinking of staunchly upright Sampson like that didn’t sit well with me at all. But it did get me thinking. What if Sampson had a past that wasn’t so glowing, and it helped mold him into the determined prosecutor we see on the show? That could be very interesting. So, borrowing a bit from the Diagnosis Murder episode Reunion with Murder, I crafted my own backstory, which ends up being an important plot thread in The Malevolent Mugging.

I envisioned Sampson as coming from a wealthy family, since he seems well-to-do and highly educated (which is, of course, not proof of a wealthy background at all, but it fit here). He enjoyed living it up and only went to college because it was expected of him. He skipped classes a lot and got involved with wild parties among some of the older students on campus. But he was never heartless or genuinely cruel, and when what started as a prank got way out of hand and the victim ended up kicked out of college over it, he felt horrible. He tried to rectify the damage caused by him and the older, ringleader students, but could not. After that, he turned his life completely around, devoted himself to the study of the law, and determined that he would always fight to protect the innocent from the criminal element that plagued Los Angeles County.

And he’s now the second supporting character in my stories whose family’s status has been established. His parents are said to be alive and wealthy, traveling in Europe during the story’s events. (Mignon was the first, although her parents and siblings have only been mentioned in my Livejournal stories.) They were not pleased with his decision to become an assistant district attorney instead of a cushy defense attorney, and he still has problems with them both, but especially his father.

I’m not sure why I haven’t felt comfortable diving into much information on the main characters’ families and backstories yet. Perhaps it’s because they’re more well-established characters and it doesn’t feel necessary. I think Tragg is the only one whose family life I’ve explored at all, of the main ones. And I have explored a bit of Hamilton’s backstory, mainly in some of the short stories I wrote about him and Mignon on Livejournal.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Dan Tobin's death. I haven't seen anything new with him since last month, nor have I learned any further information about him, but I definitely intend to remember him by watching a season 9 episode of Perry, and perhaps something else too. I hope to make an actual memorial post for him this week, but because of the extreme scarcity of information about him, I'm unsure if I'll be able to make anything very long.

We remember and love you, Dan! 

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