[For The People v. OJ Simpson “A Jury in Jail” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
A Jury in Jail. After months of isolation from their families and society the jury begins to grow anxious.
“A Jury in Jail” reveals new points of view as we’re introduced to the jury and a seismic shift in perspective on all sides. The first two scenes show the enormous chasm between the jury at the onset and what they’ve become after eight months sequestered. In the first scene they’re upset about how they’ve been locked up with no TV and no family for eight months. The trigger for this outcry was a shift in their deputy guards, who’ve become like parent figures to them. The jurors are reacting like kids in a dysfunctional household, partly because the deputies treat them like children and also as a result of Clark and Cochran courtroom machinations. The opposing attorneys act like two parents in a custody battle for the jury and thus drive them nutty with back and forth juror dismissal drama.
The second scene shows these same jurors eight months earlier when they first entered their fancy sequester hotel, bright-eyed and excited to play a deciding role in the “trial of the century”. Unfortunately, they also soon find out they don’t have access to TV, reading material, or even the swimming pool. They can’t leave their hotel floor, speak to anyone at the hotel, or even enter each other’s rooms. Not only that but jurors can’t speak, even with each other, about the trial at all until deliberations. The title essentially arises out of this imprisoned feeling the jurors have but the deputies’ treatment of them plays into it too. We can’t help but notice how much the deputies act like prison guards and can imagine that it wouldn’t be much fun to live under that kind of tyranny for eight months. These are many of the contributing factors to the jurors’ avalanche of mood and maturity level.
The jurors aren’t the only ones wearing crankypants in this episode, though. The DA’s office is a bell jar of despondency and rage after the glove debacle. Darden mutters under his breath in the corner that the latex gloves underneath got in the way and the gloves actually would’ve fit, etc. Then Marcia’s like. “Get out!” so this show’s clearly never getting an MA rating for sexual situations after all, sigh. Their sensual magic shall remain a mere figment of the past.
Points of view are shifting all over the place in this episode. In the courtroom Clark interviews the DNA expert witness who testifies that DNA matching is many many times more accurate than fingerprints. He then explains that all the blood evidence in the OJ case matches only one person in 170 million and that one person is OJ Simpson. This is damning evidence and it seems to be heard most especially by King Kodependent Kardashian, who from this day forward is refreshingly codependent no more. He asks OJ about it in a one-on-one talk they have later during visitation hours. It was supposed to be OJ’s weekly poker night with his buddies but Kardashian was the only one to show. Because of the DNA evidence, he explains to OJ. His poker buddies want to know how OJ’s blood got all over the crime scene evidence. How does OJ explain it? But OJ doesn’t have an explanation. All he can say is that they know him and that should be enough. Although sufficient up to this point, Simpson’s charm and charisma can carry him no further with his friends. OJ has to know, though, that once he’s lost his BFF bromance with Kardashian, he’s lost it all. For all his flaws, that Kardashian was a real friend.
After his visit with OJ, Kardashian talks to Barry Scheck who knows he’s bothered by the DNA evidence but tells him to keep in mind that the crime scene evidence was mishandled and thus tainted. We then see Scheck in action at the courthouse as he attacks the procedurals of all the evidence gathering and breaks down Clark’s witness. He talks about possible contamination and mistakes during the evidence collection and raises the question of mistakes made by the DNA expert. This sends Marcia into a tailspin of throwing files to the floor of the DA’s office. It kills Clark to watch her case implode right before her wearied eyes.
Next we see the jury dismissal battle begin between Clark and Cochran. It turns out a jury member was arrested years ago for a kidnapping charge against his ex wife. Marcia argues that because the juror lied about his domestic abuse history on his questionnaire, he should be dismissed. Ito has no choice but to dismiss him. This creates a dividing line among the jury and for some reason they believe the deputies are somehow behind the dismissal. Half the jury are pro deputy and the other half think the deputies are out to get the “brown people” off the jury. Then another juror is dismissed also on a domestic abuse issue. This time it’s a woman who failed to report that she’d been a victim in her marriage. After that there’s a succession of juror dismissals one after another, black, white, black, and then white again. Eventually Cochran confronts Clark and it’s evident the two of them are behind all these dismissals. The song Another One Bites the Dust plays and this weeding out process of dismissals continues until the point where there are only four alternate jurors left.
On the other side of things the jurors are progressively losing their minds in sequester. Tracy, a weepy, blubbering juror that no tissue can satisfy, asks Judge Ito to change out the deputies because of unfair treatment and threatens to leave. So, Ito rotates them out, replacing them with new deputies. Problem is that the other jurors react badly to the new deputies. They refuse to come in to the courtroom until a furious Ito threatens them with courtroom contempt – meaning jail. The jurors finally come to court but most of them are dressed all in black. It disturbs the entire courtroom so much that everyone is atwitter about what the black outfits could possibly mean. So, Ito delays that day’s testimony and declares a recess.
Next Dominick Dunne tells Larry King about the OJ Trial “juror revolt”. Meanwhile Cochran freaks out because half the people wearing black were in the Dream Team’s “not guilty” column. He’s totally thrown by it. What does it mean? Then OJ gets on a conference call with the Dream Team and says he can fix all this chaos and prevent a potential mistrial by taking the witness stand. So they decide to do a mock cross examination and test run his potential on the stand. When OJ does this mock interview with a Marcia look-alike he doesn’t come off well at all. In fact, he seems like a narcissistic abuser.
Then Tanya, the histrionic juror, loses her mind during breakfast at the hotel and has to be taken off the jury due to a classic case of the crazies. This last juror dismissal alerts all the attorneys that a mistrial lies imminent because they will soon be out of alternates. A mistrial means a sure loss for the Dream Team next time around. So, Johnnie brings Marcia a coffee as a symbolic peace offering. And that’s not the only peace offering at hand as the episode winds down. Kardashian talks to his ex wife, Kris, and suggests that the Dream Team might get OJ off on this double murder charge. She gives him a sarcastic “congrats” and he immediately starts crying. Kardashian definitely thinks OJ is guilty but can’t leave the Dream Team because then he’d be the one who got his best friend of twenty years convicted of murder. Kardashian promises Kris that after the trial OJ will be out of their lives forever. He hugs her and apologizes as tears stream down his face. Though he feels broken, this man is finally seeing things clearly now.
The final scene of the episode works as a teaser for the next one. A call comes into the OJ tip line. It’s about a recording someone has of Mark Furhman saying the N-word. We knew this was coming… but we’re excited about it anyway.