Perry Mason's Sister Alice Is Actually Based On Mysterious Real-Life Preacher

Perry Mason's Sister Alice Is Actually Based On Mysterious Real-Life Preacher
Image credit: HBO

The show may have missed out on the chance to introduce a highly controversial personality in its second season.

The second season of the detective series Perry Mason recently concluded to positive reviews from critics and viewers.

The show is based on the series of novels of the same name by Erle Stanley Gardner about a Los Angeles lawyer.

It was Mason who made Gardner one of the most published authors in the US, and there have been several television adaptations of his novels.

Perry Mason is a character no less popular than Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, so the showrunners, Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones, decided to go the extra mile and create an original backstory for the lawyer in order to avoid producing yet another television adaptation.

As a result, there are characters in the series that readers may not be familiar with, and some of them are even based on real people.

Sister Alice, the main star of the Radiant Assembly of God, an evangelical church that serves a not-so-poor flock.

Alice's ecstatic sermons are even broadcast on the radio and are very effective at opening congregation's wallets.

But Alice is just the bait – all of the church affairs are run by a council of male elders, while Alice herself is vigilantly controlled by an imperious and pragmatic mother.

This character is based on a real person named Aimee Semple McPherson. She was a evangelist and a pastor in the early 20th century, and a pioneer in using new forms of media to spread her message.

Despite controversies such as allegations of financial improprieties and personal scandals, her ministry continued to grow and she remained an influential figure in American Christianity until her death in 1944.

McPherson's legacy is complex, but she was a pioneer in Christian evangelism and an important figure in the struggle for women's rights in the church.

McPherson is also infamous for allegedly faking her disappearance. She disappeared from a Santa Monica beach on May 18, 1926, and was miraculously found a month later.

While thousands of people sincerely rejoiced at her mystical return, the press was not so gullible.

Numerous reports that Aimee had faked her disappearance in order to draw attention to herself ruined the preacher's reputation, which gradually alienated almost all of her followers.

Given that the character arc of Sister Alice in the first season was rather crumpled and seemingly unfinished, it is possible that the investigation of this particular episode was planned to be the focus of the second season.

However, Tatiana Maslany, who played that role, was unable to join the Perry Mason cast after the first season ended because she was busy filming She-Hulk.