Who is Gretchen Mol on HBO’s ‘Perry Mason’? All About Linda, Lupe, and Perry’s Crazy Love Life

When the new Perry Mason premiered on HBO last night, audiences were introduced to the classic hero as they’d never seen him before. The new show takes us to an untold chapter in Perry Mason’s life, one where he’s working not as a genius defense attorney, but a down-and-out private investigator. The one thing haranguing Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys) even more than his mounting debt? His separation from wife Linda, played by Gretchen Mol. In just the first episode, we see him pine for the past, drunk dial Linda 1930s style, and subject himself to an ignoble hook up with neighbor Lupe (Veronica Falcón). So what does the new Perry Mason mean for Perry Mason the character? And were you really supposed to recognize Gretchen Mol’s voice on the telephone?

Perry Mason is a character introduced in 1933’s The Case of the Velvet Claws by classic crime writer Erle Stanley Gardner. What’s interesting is that in those books, Perry Mason’s backstory isn’t really broached at all. In fact, we don’t know what he looks like, what his family life was like, or where he trained in law. He has a passing flirtation with secretary Della Street (played in the HBO series with His Girl Friday levels of sharpness by Juliet Rylance) and a professional friendship with private investigator Paul Drake (who is introduced as a cop played by Chris Chalk in the HBO series). Other than that, all we know is that Perry Mason is devoted to justice and seeing that every person gets a fair trial.

While the original Perry Mason series stuck to a classic procedural formula, HBO’s new series is already taking major dramatic license. Not only is Matthew Rhys’s Perry Mason not yet a lawyer — though we do see some sort of a diploma on his bedroom wall — but he is haunted by his traumatic past. A World War I vet who is in danger of losing the family farm, Perry is only all the more triggered by the absence of his young son.

So how does Gretchen Mol fit into Perry Mason? And what is going on with Perry’s wild love life?

Photo of Perry Mason's old family, with baby and Gretchen Mol
Photo: HBO


Gretchen Mol plays Linda, Perry Mason’s ex-wife in HBO’s Perry Mason. Although the actress technically doesn’t have any screen time, we see her in a black and white photograph in Perry’s farmhouse. A younger looking Perry is holding their son on his lap while she stands behind the pair. Throughout the Perry Mason premiere, it’s made clear that Perry misses his young son, who is now living with Gretchen Mol’s Linda. After dealing with a horrible setback at a film studio party and having to see the horrifying corpse of little Charlie Dodson, a wildly drunk Perry calls Linda, demanding to speak to their son. It does not go well for our titular hero.

Gretchen Mol is an American actress known for work in films like Rounders, The Notorious Betty Page, and Manchester by the Sea. Mol is also no stranger to HBO or squalid Depression-era noir. Gretchen Mol played Gillian Darmody on Boardwalk Empire.

It is yet unclear if Mol herself will have an onscreen scene in Perry Mason. (And besides, if we knew, we wouldn’t want to spoil it!)

Perry Mason falling off the bed after sex
Photo: HBO


While Perry Mason may not have luck charming his ex-wife, he has at least one lady on his side. Well, sort of.

There’s an airfield next to the Mason farm and one of its managers is the confident and sexy Lupe, played by Veronica Falcón. She and Perry have a relationship that can best be described to modern audiences as “fuck buddies.” We see this in action when she, uh, screws him off the bed in the Perry Mason premiere.

Veronica Falcón is a celebrated Mexican actress who has found significant success in mainstream American TV. You might best know the 53-year-old actress (Yes! That’s how old Perry Mason star Veronica Falcón is! SHE IS ON FIRE!!) from USA’s The Queen of the South. 

Where to stream Perry Mason


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