[For The People v. OJ Simpson “The Conspiracy Theories” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
The Conspiracy Theories. The prosecution debates whether they should have OJ try the glove on in court.
The episode opens to reveal that things have shifted. Shapiro defends the LAPD in the media, Marcia sports a new, softer look, and Dershowitz teaches his students at Harvard Law with live OJ trial footage. During one such session Dershowitz gets an idea and faxes it directly to Cochran right in the courtroom. It’s a note that simply says Columbian Necktie. Johnnie then asks the detective on the stand if it’s possible the murders could’ve been drug-related. Cochran explains how a columbian necktie is a drug gang way of killing and how closely it resembles the method in these murders. This offers an alternative that awakens the jury even if it also seems ridiculous to the prosecution.
Back at the DA’s office Darden points this out to the team and says they need to come up with their own way to zap the jury awake and keep them entertained. Meanwhile Shapiro asks Cochran why nobody’s finding evidence that it’s anybody other than OJ that committed the murders. Shouldn’t they have found something by now if he didn’t do it? But their convo is interrupted by A Current Affair where Johnnie’s ex talks about his double life while they were together and they even ask about Johnnie’s alleged assault on her. The next day in the courthouse lobby reporters confront Cochran about it and he tells them they should be ashamed of themselves. This is all about a tragic murder, he reminds them, and gossip mongers beware because Johnnie is far too righteous for them.
Then LAPD detectives find records of Visa card transactions that show Nicole bought the crime scene gloves for OJ. So, they now have definitive proof that the gloves are OJ’s. The next day in court Darden invites Marcia away with him for a weekend and they’re both happy about it when she says yes. The Dream team, on the other hand, are all pissy. Shapiro insists on wearing a lapel pin to show his solidarity with the LAPD. It’s flagrant in Johnnie’s opinion. That night he thinks aloud that it was Shapiro who exposed his bad deeds with his ex wife but his current wife isn’t hearing it. She points out that it’s all a matter of public record and his need to be the center of attention certainly didn’t help. Then Shapiro approaches Kardashian with the glove information and says that they should work out a plea for OJ. He then says Kardashian is involved because he got rid of evidence when he disposed of a bag of OJ’s which could possibly have the murder weapon inside. Then Johnnie arrives and Kardashian leaves abruptly.
He goes to AC with the bag in question. Kardashian opens it in front of AC, clearly nervous about what he might find inside but it’s just harmless stuff. AC is thrilled and says it’s clear OJ didn’t do it. But Kardashian still seems sad and asks AC, “Well who do you think did do it then?” He’s struggling with the whole thing, he adds. There’s never been so much information all about one crime and there’s just not one thing to indicate another suspect. It’s bothering Kardashian. AC seems undeterred but Kardashian is finally questioning his best friend’s innocence, awake to the possibility, at the very least, that OJ killed Nicole and Ron Goldman.
Meanwhile Marcia and Darden attend his high school friend’s birthday party and have a rockin’ time. All of Darden’s friends like Marcia and tell him if he wants to make a move tonight is the perfect time. Even though Darden insists they’re just coworkers it does seem like he wants her and when he drops Marcia at her door it certainly looks like she wants him as well. But then he doesn’t do anything. It looks like he regrets this decision right afterward but it was probably the smart move… not what any of us viewers wanted – but in real life, wise.
In the next scene they’re in the DA office and Darden proposes that they ask OJ to try on the gloves. Marcia says it’s a bad idea and she’s right. She says don’t turn over a demonstration to the opponent because you don’t know what will happen. Later in the courtroom during a short recess Shapiro tries on one of the gloves and then has an idea. Because the glove fits him it will be too small for OJ, he says. OJ’s hands are bigger than Shapiro’s. They decide to do it but F Lee Bailey says they’ve got to get the prosecution to make OJ try them on.
Then Darden approaches Marcia about it again and she puts him in his place, second chair. He bristles. Afterward F Lee Bailey tells Darden that if he doesn’t ask OJ to try on the gloves, he will and he adds an insult to Darden’s manhood for good measure. Then Darden stands up in court and asks that OJ try on the gloves. Marcia’s face blanches as Darden puts on latex gloves, picks up the gloves in question and hands them to OJ. Judge Ito tells OJ to approach the jury and try them on at which point he does and then can’t get them on properly, they appear to be too small. Darden asks that OJ adjust his hands a couple of ways but they still seem to be too small no matter what he does. After the demonstration Shapiro and Johnnie give each other a high five under their desk. They have officially gone from arch enemies to BFFs because all they care about is winning. Contrite Darden tells a stunned Marcia that OJ was clearly acting and keeping his fingers stiff, the latex gloves may have made it harder to get the other gloves on, etc. But it’s clear that she was right all along. Never hand over a crucial demonstration to the opposition. It’s a rule for a reason. That night in the office Darden calls the Goldmans to apologize for what happened that day in court with the gloves. On his voicemail message to them he also insists that it’s not over.
But it is over. We know that already. It’s just a matter of time before Johnnie makes his famous argument that, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” and distills the whole trial down to a soundbite. Yes, the very same man who shamed the media with a reminder that this is a trial about two tragic murders was the one responsible for the silly soundbite that defined it forever. “The Conspiracy Theories” does an amazing job of setting up dichotomous duos only to spin them into unexpected conflicts and resolutions. It may not seem such a marvel but given that we all pretty much know how this story goes it’s done brilliantly here. The Darden/Clark will-they-or-won’t-they ends up wallowing in a pit of despair while Shapiro and his arch nemesis Cochran end up in a courtroom bromance by episode’s end. There are three episodes left and the main thing we’re looking forward to now is the tidal change of heart that seems to be brewing within OJ’s BFF Kardashian. Even as things start to look better for Simpson in the courthouse they spiral into a future of solitude and shunning out in the real world.