Upfront Disclaimer: This blog post pertains to the television program from the 1950s & 1960s starring Raymond Burr and others. Not the books or any other television programs or movies.
Ok, for those of you unfamiliar with the Perry Mason television program none of this will mean anything to you, so I feel no obligation to explain it all and provide loads of background. Cut your loses now and click on to the next post. For those of you who are familiar with the program this will make sense, though you may strongly disagree with my premise here. Hamilton is very popular among Perry Mason fans, and for good reason, he does indeed have some endearing qualities, but that’s not what I’m kvetching about.
Hamilton Burger is incompetent. There, I said it. In the series Hamilton Burger (played by William Talman shown in the photo at right) is the Los Angeles District Attorney (DA) who almost always goes up against Perry Mason (defense attorney), and I claim is a very bad, a very poor, attorney. And that’s what fans will disagree with me about. But here’s my evidence, circumstantial as it may be…
- The premise goes that only a competent attorney could ever be a DA, hence Hamilton must be a competent attorney. But… he loses pretty much every case. Against Perry, at least, but isn’t that enough? No competent attorney would have that bad a record against a single adversary.
- Maybe he wins against all the other attorneys, people say. Ok, then if his record is consistent, and he continually prosecutes innocent people against Perry, then he sends a lot of innocent people to prison when he faces others, and he would send a lot more if Perry weren’t so good. Hardly inspiring.
- Even in the five or six episodes with a “guest defense attorney”, when Raymond Burr was out with a real-life injury, Hamilton still loses to every single one of them. Yes, it’s just a tv show, but c’mon…
Some like to point out Hamilton is interested in truth and justice and not winning… which highlights the “it’s only a tv show” aspect because real life certainly wouldn’t be that way, and it still doesn’t excuse his overall inadequacy as a prosecutor.
Some also like to speculate he wins most other cases, but we have no evidence for that. All we have to go by is what we see in the show, and it shows constant ineptitude. Sorry, I calls ’em as I see’s ’em. In other words, Hamilton Burger is… wait for it… irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.