[For The People v. OJ Simpson “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. Marcia Clark deals with public scrutiny.
As any child of the 70s knows, the episode title, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” refers to the Brady Bunch’s most popular character getting ALL the attention. That’s happening here with our Marcia Clark to some degree but only the attention part… the popular part not so much. It’s not Clark’s fault. She can’t contain her pinched ferocity or the tightness of her curls and because Marcia’s so focused on what should matter, she doesn’t notice her appearance even matters until it’s too late. The episode opens on Marcia’s child support hearing where, overwhelmed by frustration and angst, she keeps talking out of turn. Afterward she shows up at the OJ courthouse late and skips the line – all apologies. When she enters the courtroom everyone notices, forcing her to say sorry to the entire courtroom.
Then Darden questions Nicole’s sister who testifies that OJ grabbed Nicole’s crotch and humiliated her at a family event. Afterward Marcia tells Darden it was a strong interview and it’s evident the duo are bonding big time. Then Marcia arrives home to see a TV report focused entirely on her frumpy look. They describe it as a “cry for help,” and then when her son hugs her Marcia sheds a single tear. After her son goes to bed Marcia looks at herself in the mirror and seems to be considering a change. Little does she know this move will only open a future floodgate of tears.
In court Cochran reframes the story of how the detectives notified Simpson of his wife’s death. He shifts it to a story of detectives going to OJ’s house because they believe he’s a suspect instead. Thus Cochran deftly makes the detectives on the case look shady. Then in the very next scene he interviews another detective who had Simpson’s shoes (evidence) in his car trunk overnight. Turns out he was home with them in his car for six hours before booking them into custody as evidence the next day. The detective even admits that this was the only time in his twenty eight years of police service that he’s ever done that with a piece of evidence. Another unfortunate coincidence is that the detective lives in Simi Valley, where the officers who beat Rodney King also happen to live.
Next we see Marcia and Darden in the office late at night and they end up having a good time with even a hint of intimacy in their spontaneous slow dance. Afterward Marcia preps all night but gets thrown in court the next day when Cochran brings up a witness issue that’s a monkey wrench in her prosecutorial momentum. Cochran says he needs to interview his witness out of order because she’s threatening to flee the country. Because of all the subsequent schedule changes Marcia has to call her ex and asking him to watch the kids while she works late to prepare for the unexpected addition of Cochran’s out-of-order witness. It’s OJ’s housekeeper that the defense claims threatened to leave the country but then Marcia notes in court that the housekeeper has no flight reservation. When questioned about the timeline the housekeeper also doesn’t even remember anything. So, their flight risk witness doesn’t help the Simpson defense after all. They did manage to mess with Marcia’s momentum, though. So, not a total loss for them.
But then it looks like it could gets worse for Cochran outside the courthouse when the press asks him about his own history with domestic abuse. Does he care to comment? No, he does not. That night Johnnie calls his ex wife to mention the LA times and how they would likely have some questions for her about being married to him. She says they’ve already called her and are awaiting her comment. Cochran then offers to give her the profits from an expensive building he sold that would make her “quite comfortable”. Thus we’re seemingly meant to deduce that whether or not he hit his first wife, Johnnie’s apparently got a closet with some skeletons after all.
Marcia goes to a salon for “something softer” and entrusts her curls to the hands of cold-hearted demon stylist who cuts them short. Anyone who lived through the Annie perm years of the early eighties knows that if you cut curly hair that short it just goes tighter and harder like a wiry football helmet, not softer. That stylist was either an OJ fan or simply should’ve known better. Then the next day Marcia shows up at the courthouse to find herself crushed when her look isn’t greeted with the warm welcoming arms she’d hoped for. In fact the only comment made refers to her as Rick James and the tabloids all declare her GUILTY of bad hair in the first degree. As if things couldn’t get bad enough for Marcia… then who shows up as the prosecution’s witness but Mark Fuhrman. Luckily for her though, Darden continues to play the perfect work husband role in Marcia’s life and writes her a note that she looks fantastic. When the tabloids get a hold of naked pics of Marcia Clark on a beach and publish them. She’s so mortified she cries buckets in court. Later that day Darden comforts her and makes her laugh in the office and we see their connection blossoming. He always says the right thing. He’s there for her. And in the perfect words of Paris Hilton, “That’s hot”. One thing’s for certain about this episode, it accentuates the best of Darden until by the end of the episode he’s playing the romantic lead role in the hearts and minds of the audience. Whether or not a romance blooms between Marcia and Darden, America is now officially falling for dreamboat babe-a-licious Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden.
Fuhrman gives testimony about all the blood evidence at the Brentwood and Rockingham locations. He says it’s clear someone left the murder scene bleeding and talks about the blood inside the Bronco. About that blood he points out that the detectives were concerned that maybe OJ was hurt after seeing blood in his vehicle. Fuhrman also talks about the bloody glove evidence and it’s all quite damning testimony to the OJ case. But then things take a turn. We see a bar conversation where F Lee Bailey brings up the detective’s use of the N word and says he’s going to ask Fuhrman about it in court so the jury will know he’s full of it. That will bring all his testimony into question. Lee’s going to ruin Mark Fuhrman by throwing the word at him. We see this in action next when Bailey uses the actual word over and over while questioning Fuhrman in court, setting the whole world on edge.
Within this episode a TV executive finds out ABC has shifted all their daytime programming to just show the OJ trial and the network doubled their ad buys with P&G as a result, in other words, this trial will make them serious money. So, this TV exec agrees that the OJ trial is better than any soap opera for entertainment value and decides to do the same with his station’s programming – all OJ all day. They include this scene in “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” only for the sake of our understanding that this trial was an exceptional media event the likes of which didn’t exist before and we don’t really see anymore. It literally took over the attention of an entire nation. After more than one hundred million people sat and watched the entire Bronco chase we were all eternally glued to that screen for the next scrap of OJ trial info. So, though it may seem histrionic that Marcia cries in the courtroom when her new look is rejected and her topless photos appear in a tabloid, keep in mind that it likely felt like the entire world was watching and rejecting her. Anyone who’s ever been rejected by just one person knows how painful it can be – imagine if it was the world saying your new, softer and more feminine style actually just makes you look like a gaunt, pasty, and miserable James.