Is ‘Perry Mason’s Sister Alice a True Believer? Tatiana Maslany Weighs In

Tatiana Maslany as Sister Alice in Perry Mason

Tatiana Maslany, an Emmy winner for her multiple roles on the clone drama Orphan Black, plays only one character on Perry Mason, but Sister Alice contains multitudes.

“She’s an evangelical preacher with a congregation of thousands—a celebrity in terms of her reach, part entertainer and part politician,” the actress says. At Alice’s most recent service, a secret she’d been keeping from her flock came out and, spurred by a vision, she made a shocking promise about the murdered infant Charlie. (Matthew Rhys’ Mason is the PI on the case.)

Maslany has more.

Is Sister Alice a true believer?

Tatiana Maslany: She has doubts, but her visions tell her that she’s on the right path, which is fighting for her own voice against what the church wants her message to be. Her sense of integrity is starting to be at odds with this figure that she embodies.

How does she view Perry, who lost his faith in WWI?

They each started out skeptical of the other, but they also see into each other in a way that is very revealing and sort of destabilizing. He calls her out, and she calls him out.

Tatiana Maslany Perry Mason Sister Alice

(Merrick Morton/HBO)

Was Sister Alice based on Aimee Semple McPherson, a controversial evangelist of the era?

Yes. Aimee was a guiding light for me. It’s wild—my place in L.A. is two blocks from where Sister Aimee’s church still stands! So I went to a service. I read a lot of her sermons and listened to clips of her radio broadcasts.

How was enveloping yourself in the ’30s?

The aesthetic of the show was so detailed and well-researched. L.A. still has all of that architecture. The cars were so beautiful…and the fumes were so dangerous!

Perry Mason, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO