Perry Mattfeld finds ways to handle demands of ‘In the Dark’

Rick's Reviews

Murphy Mason (Perry Mattfeld) is on the road in the third season of “In the Dark.” (Photo courtesy of CW Network)

(KGET) — Perry Mattfeld was able to find a way to use all of the emotional, physical and emotional strain that came with the isolation caused by the COVID pandemic in playing the character of Murphy Mason on the CW Network series “In the Dark.” The third season launches at 9 p.m. June 23.

It has been a long and painful road for Mattfeld’s character who on her best day is a wild-living, hard-drinking, disaffected twentysomething. Not to mention, she is blind. She has progressed from merely being a lazy receptionist to being on the run for murder.

The third season takes Murphy down roads so dark they were very tough for Mattfeld to play. That’s when she turned to what was happening in the real world to help her with the work.

“It was hard to separate what everyone was going through in real life. We were isolated and in lockdown the entire season so those feelings of being isolated weren’t hard to find,” Mattfeld says. “The stakes were very high.”

Mattfeld laughs and says that the director kept stressing to keep in mind the show is dealing with high stakes. After two seasons of murder, death, betrayal, drugs and mayhem, the cast didn’t think the stakes could get any higher as they had already gone out the roof.

Murphy is described by Mattfeld as being like a hurricane because she’s a force of nature you don’t see coming who creates a massive amount of damage. What she finds so interesting about her character is that she does have a lot of power but in many ways is under-developed.

“She falls short in her social awareness. You have this unsophisticated sophisticated mastermind,” Mattfeld says. “That’s a very interesting dynamic.

“She chooses to turn a blind eye to so many things.”

The third season has Murphy and her best friend, Jess (Brooke Markham), along with their annoying friend Felix (Morgan Krantz), and Murphy’s ex-boyfriend, Max (Casey Deidrick), faced with avoiding getting caught for murder. But it turns out, the authorities aren’t the only ones after them – they’re also wanted by high powered drug kingpin Josiah (Maurice Compte).

Bonds built in the previous season became stronger because the actors were isolated from the world for seven months while filming. They not only worked together but spent all of their free time – including Saturday game nights – with each other.

It would have been a difficult enough challenge for Mattfeld if she only had to handle the elements of playing the role. She’s also dealt with the split focus of having to play the character as blind. At least Mattfeld has a ready source for any questions along those lines as she can turn to Lorri Bernson, the consultant on the show who is legally blind.

Unlike other productions, Murphy is not the kind of blind person who is always nice. One common trait of Murphy since the show started has been her ability to manipulate people. It’s just one of the many bad qualities of the character.

The main thing Mattfeld learned from Bernson was that not everyone who has a disability is humble, dependable, nice and kind. The reality is that those who can’t see are just as likely to be annoying, disrespectful and undependable as anyone else.

Playing Murphy is tough. Then you can toss in that she’s one of the show’s executive producers. Once again, the pandemic restrictions provided some help in handling all the demands.

“Isolation helped because I only had to focus on one thing,” Mattfeld says. “I find that it all goes together. The producer aspect came naturally because I am so invested in this show.

“I am there every day where I am living and breathing this character. It does require every single piece of you. Producing is just a natural extension of what I bring and take from this role.”

One of her duties as a producer is to be aware of almost every aspect of the show including the canine actor who plays Murphy’s guide dog.

Mattfeld and the dog were filming a scene under a bridge during a torrential rain. The wind was blowing so hard that it was whipping under the bridge and soaking the dog. Mattfeld stopped the scene and asked if it could be shot with the dog not in the picture so he could get out of the downpour.

Being comfortable with all aspects of her current job comes naturally for the California native as she has been performing since she was four. Mattfeld was a ballet dancer with Long Beach Ballet and later came under the tutelage of renowned choreographer Debbie Allen, whom she studied with for two years.

Acting came along when Mattfeld was getting ready to start college. She landed a role on “Wizards of Waverly Place.” Since then her other acting credits have included “Shameless,” “Homecoming” and “The Watermark.” 

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