[For The People v. OJ Simpson “The Verdict” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
The Verdict. Closing statements are given and the jury must decide on a verdict.

The finale of “American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson” is the toughest version of a very special episode since Alex P. Keaton got addicted to speed. Unfortunately, in the case of The People v.OJ Simpson, it’s hard to watch because it’s real life. For instance, when Marcia Clark talks about how she’s driven to help abused women get justice because she was raped herself, we understand her as a person on a much deeper level than we did as a character up until now. When Darden breaks down during the press conference and stops talking to hug the Goldman family our hearts cry out to comfort him… and them. This all really happened and these characters are actually just people like us even if they seems larger than life under the circumstances. The one exception to this is, of course, OJ Simpson who seems oddly alien and unaware of how to act like a human. From the awkward party he insists on throwing to the stilted and surreal announcement he reads aloud at the party, Simpson’s off. The speech is an echo of the oddness of his alleged “suicide note” at the beginning of the series; strangely defensive and overwhelmingly inappropriate.

“The Verdict” finale episode begins as the trial is winding down. OJ gives a brief statement but does not testify. When he’s done seeking sympathy and claiming his innocence, the defense rests. Then we see closing arguments and Marcia goes first. She starts with Mark Fuhrman, pointing out that he may be a terrible person, yes, but he’s also a mere distraction next to a mountain of evidence that proves OJ’s guilt. She shows pictures and points out details for all of the evidence that the defense didn’t and couldn’t refute. It’s solid stuff, including the astonishing DNA evidence which clearly identifies OJ Simpson as the killer. Darden then speaks to the volatile relationship between Nicole and OJ leading up to this disastrous end – thus proving motive. His words are powerful and hit all the important points. It’s hard to imagine closing arguments for the prosecution more compelling than the clear rationale presented by Clark and Darden here.

Cochran then starts with an emotionally volatile argument and, parallel to Marcia, brings Mark Fuhrman into the story right from the start. Johnnie says that even back when OJ was being accused of domestic abuse it was Fuhrman who came to the door. He represents the entire LAPD and thus their verdict will impact the entire LAPD. Johnnie tells them they have a responsibility to remedy the wrongs of the police saying, “If you don’t stop this coverup, who will?” and then about the gloves adds the memorable line, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” as the final statement for his comparatively short closing statement.

Afterward Marcia leaves to take her kids away to Santa Barbara. The Dream Team all talk about taking their own vacations too. Then they leave Shapiro alone on a bench in the courtroom lobby, their disdain for him lingers behind like a smelly fart in his face. It’s clear everyone thinks the jury will be deliberating for a long time and that makes sense given that they’ve been listening to evidence for eight months. But when we see the jury begin their deliberations it seems like they haven’t been listening much after all. Before they deliberate everyone votes using paper ballots just to get a sense of the room. This initial vote results in all but two not guilty votes. Is it a coincidence that there are two white members of the jury? It seems no because many of the jurors eye the two white jurors when the not guilty votes are read aloud. Then the juror Cochran refers to as “the demon” is first to admit that she voted guilty because of all the evidence. As a group they debate the evidence briefly but end up quickly agreeing that even if they do think he did it, they can’t honestly say that the prosecution proved it beyond a reasonable doubt. After less than four hours of discussion they have a verdict. When notified of this none of the lawyers can believe it. It’s truly unprecedented.

There are crowds building outside the courtroom now that it’s hit the news that a verdict is imminent and then we see a split screen of the defense and prosecution tables inside the courtroom. Of course we all know that the verdict will be, “Not guilty,” but it still feels surprising when it happens now in the TV show universe, twenty years after the fact. The crowds outside the courtroom and across the country react with an overwhelming response of equal parts disappointment and cheering. Ito then dismisses the jury after thanking them for their service. OJ’s face registers his surprise and Marcia looks over at him, disgusted, as she meets his gaze. Speaking of disgust, Kardashian runs to the bathroom and vomits, not even making it to the toilet. In the DA’s office later Clark cries and says she’s ashamed but Gil comforts her saying she played it clean and straight. Then they do a press conference and say the jury based their decision on emotion rather than reason. Marcia thanks the victims’ families and says she hopes this doesn’t discourage people from seeking help for domestic violence. Then Darden breaks our hearts with his sincere sadness; breaking down and hugging the Goldmans rather than finishing his statement.

The press conference ends and one of the reporters asks Gil if he’s going to look for the real killer now and he doesn’t respond. Outside the press conference Cochran talks to Darden a bit and says he wants to help bring him “back into the community”. But Darden says he never left. He tells Cochran this isn’t the civil rights moment Johnnie thinks it is. He hasn’t changed anything for the black community – not really. All Cochran showed was that he could game the system for a black defendant. But then Johnnie gets the reinforcement he seeks back at his office when the news is talking about the change he accomplished. President Clinton speaks about it and says the trial brought race dynamics into the light for the country. Johnnie says, “Our story is now out of the shadows,” and it’s clear that’s how he really sees this whole story – as an unveiling. Cochran never stops looking at the macrocosm of the societal situation overall rather than the microcosm that was the specific OJ Simpson trial. Johnnie’s an ends justifies the means type and he achieved the ends he sought.

But the means are all Marcia and Darden can think about. She’s upset that people are celebrating outside. He says it’s time for him to resign. All these politics aren’t him, Darden explains. Marcia says maybe you have to be driven with a need to avenge to fit in here. She tells the story of being raped at seventeen and how it fuels her to get justice for victims. “Everyone wants justice for victims, right?” They both thought so until today. So, Clark too starts to have doubts about belonging in this system. Then the duo leave to get a drink together. We find out in the closing credit sweep of where are they now that both of them left The DA office after this. Clark works as a mystery novelist and Darden opened a private practice.

In the next scene we see OJ hug Kardashian outside the prison. Simpson thanks him for his support and returns the bible Kardashian gave him when he entered prison. Then on the trip to OJ’s house Robert asks him what he’s going to do and OJ says throw a party. There are people protesting outside his house and OJ doesn’t get it, “What the hell are they doing here? I was found not guilty!” His family welcomes him home but the Browns didn’t bring his kids over for the welcoming. Then OJ takes a shower and stands in front of the mirror looking at himself. He puts on a bathrobe and sits down for a cry. There’s a knock on the door and it’s his son with a puppy as a gift for OJ, “To make sure he always had a friend”. Surrounded by his family, OJ watches Barbara Walters interview Robert Shapiro but he shuts it off pronto when Shapiro isn’t uber supportive of him. Simpson tells his son to call the Riviera Restaurant to reserve a table for fifteen that night. We then see the party and it’s a rager but OJ’s disappointed that he doesn’t know anybody there. He asks AC where his real friends are but nobody knows. Not even Kato showed. OJ gives an awkward speech about how he wants to find the real killers. Then Kardashian leaves and it’s for good this time. He drops the bible on a table and doesn’t look back again. OJ’s son then tells him the restaurant won’t take them because they don’t “have a place for him” in there. He wanders out of his party full of strangers and stares at his self portrait statue in the backyard, a stranger to himself.

The finale ends with a wrap up for each character and the most surprising of all is OJ Simpson. Many of us knew that he’s currently in prison for kidnapping and armed robbery but not many were aware that he’ll be eligible for parole next year. A real stunner also in these final shots is a picture of OJ from the trial set next to one of Cuba Gooding Jr. We’d forgotten how gorgeous OJ was and this picture really makes it hit home after a whole season of looking at Cuba Gooding Jr. The real OJ was literally as handsome as a movie star. A gorgeous football hero already beloved by America and with a team of the best lawyers money can buy… it’s no wonder how it all ended. Yet we’re still somehow in awe that it all came to this end. Something to keep in mind is that the way our justice system works we have it built in that sometimes guilty people are going get away with crime. That’s why we have the notion of reasonable doubt, it’s to protect the innocent ones. The ideal practice of our system would protect the innocent and in the meantime, yes, some guilty will get off too. That’s the price we pay to protect the innocent. But one of the major issues brought up in this trial is that so often the innocent are, in fact, not protected by our system. And far too often it’s because of the color of their skin. So, if we’re to find a silver lining in this story, let it be that it drew attention to the fact of this unfairness on a national level.

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “Manna From Heaven” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
Manna From Heaven. Johnnie Cochran and F. Lee Bailey go across country to acquire the Mark Fuhrman tapes.

“Manna From Heaven” opens with the Dream Team’s investigator calling a woman to ask her about tapes she made of Mark Fuhrman but she doesn’t want to help OJ Simpson and refuses to even talk to him. Then he tells the team the tapes are filled with offensive language including the n-word all over the place and talking about planting evidence. But they can’t get the tapes because the woman who has them wants to sell her screenplay. She can’t be bought otherwise. Johnnie latches on to the importance of these tapes and won’t abide Scheck’s comment that lucky breaks doesn’t just fall from the sky. “Oh yes they do,” Johnnie says, raising his hands to the ceiling. “God brought us these tapes… this is Manna From Heaven” and he spends the rest of the episode arguing this point.

The prosecution isn’t quite so ironclad or optimistic, though. Darden is flustered from Cochran’s avalanche of courtroom accusations of racism and it adversely affects his lawyering ability. He’s rattled and it doesn’t help his nerves that the whole thing is televised. Marcia, who cares only about winning at this point, is not exactly empathetic to Darden. They’re cranky and intolerant with each other at a time when they need each other’s support more than ever.

The Dream Team then puts forth a subpoena for the thirteen tapes; they’re in North Carolina so the Dream Team needs to send members to fight for them. F Lee Bailey explains that he should go because he’s won over two hundred cases in North Carolina. Of course, Johnnie has to go too, as the self-proclaimed true believer in the tapes. They fly to North Carolina immediately and right away sit down to read the transcripts. It turns out that, indeed, racist hate and the n-word are all over these tapes. Johnnie argues a case in the North Carolina court that the tapes need to be brought to California for the OJ trial but the judge isn’t persuaded and denies his request. On the way out of the courtroom F. Lee Bailey suggests that he present a prompt appeal merely because he’s a more welcome sight in a southern courtroom. Of course, it turns out he’s right and subsequently the tapes go to California for the trial.

The next step is getting Judge Ito to find them admissible. While we’re waiting on that decision we hear some outtakes from the tapes and they’re horrifying. But it gets even more complicated when Clark and Darden play a tape for Gil (the DA) that has Fuhrman talking about how much he hates Judge Ito’s wife, a high ranking officer in the LAPD. This represents a gigantic problem because it’s a conflict of interest for Ito. This would mean a mistrial. Once Ito gets wind of this situation he brings it all out in court and says he doesn’t want to trigger a mistrial and thus thinks another judge should determine if he should continue to be the acting judge on this trial. The new judge reviews the tapes and listens to arguments, in the end finding that Ito should remain on the case. Then we’re back to the issue of admitting the tapes.

There’s some Darden and Marcia drama that plays out so true-to-life it’s tugs at even our jaded, fossilized, hearts. First Darden yells at Marcia because he’d fought so hard against using Fuhrman. How many times did he tell her? So many times. And Marcia ignored him over and over again. He says, “You put me on this trial because you wanted a black face but you never wanted a black voice,” powerful and true words that Clark really seems to hear, finally. Then in a later scene she apologizes to him for not listening about Fuhrman. Darden then apologizes to her for not listening to her about having Simpson try on the gloves. They shake hands and are a dynamic duo again. But, unfortunately, no make-up sex. We do predict some Clark/Darden romantic fan fiction appearing on the Internet in the near future, though, so don’t get too bummed. The nation demands titillation and it always gets what it wants eventually.

Fighting to get the tapes heard by the court, Cochran argues that Fuhrman uses the n-word thirty times and cites harsh and unwarranted punitive actions against suspects based on their race. The tapes are literally a bloody racist mess and all from a man who testified that he’s never even said the n-word. Marcia argues that she’s not here to defend Mark Fuhrman but rather Ron and Nicole. These tapes merely cloud the real issue at hand, she says. This is a murder trial. Ito then decides he doesn’t want to suppress any information because of nationwide interest so he will play the tapes in court but keep the jury out for the initial listen.

Trouble is that because the tapes are played in court and thus on nationwide broadcast, this Fuhrman disaster does indeed overshadow the other evidence. The information on those tapes is such a grand scale with enormous repercussions that it took over the minds of everybody so that it’s no longer just a murder trial. Ron Goldman’s father speaks to the TV press about how it’s a tragedy that this trial has completely lost sight of the murder victims. And he’s right. In fact, critics on both sides are right. Darden was right when he said the trial has become a circus but Cochran is also right that there is a larger societal issue at hand. The fact that this was going on in the LAPD shouldn’t be ignored – also true. So, what do you do when both sides are right? That’s when you have to rely on the rules of law as applied to the issue at hand. So, this is how Ito handles it. He decides to allow the jury to hear only two sentences from the Fuhrman tapes. From those two statements the jury will know that Fuhrman committed perjury which is the alleged purpose of playing the tapes. Although, everyone’s fully aware that Cochran has a higher purpose in mind as well.

Next we see Johnnie get the news that only two sentences of the tapes will be admitted into evidence. He’s upset that he can’t put the whole racist system of violence and oppression that Fuhrman represents on trial. For him it’s a personal loss even though, for this particular case, it’s a technical win. The jury only hears twelve words but Johnnie’s wife points out to him that the world already heard the rest of the tapes. There’s evidence of this the next day when picketers attack vehicles outside the courthouse holding up signs that say “Get the KKK out of the LAPD” and similar statements. Then Fuhrman sits on the witness stand yet again. This time Darden walks out of the courtroom before Fuhrman testifies. But all Fuhrman will say is that he wishes to assert his fifth amendment privilege as an answer to every question. It’s a waste.

In the last scene OJ dances with glee as he changes from his courtroom suit to prison clothes. He’s celebrating his inevitable freedom as Kardashian looks on with disgust all over his face. Meanwhile at the DA’s office, Clark finds out she got primary custody of her children in her divorce settlement. Her assistant says, “So, you got everything,” and Marcia looks up at her, bewildered. Of course she didn’t get everything but yes, she did get primary custody of the kids. You win some you lose some, her eyes seem to say but you never ever “get everything” that’s for certain. These last two facial expressions, on Kardashian and then Clark, perfectly comprise the resonant feeling of this episode. It’s as if the characters are starting to realize this trial is actually quicksand and no matter how hard they fight, it’s a sinker. There’s a scene where Clark and Darden discuss if maybe a mistrial wouldn’t be such a bad thing. It could represent a chance to “do-over” having learned from all their mistakes. Then Marcia points out that of course we all want to do over certain regrets from life. But we live in reality and thus, instead we have to forge ahead, move on, and do the next right thing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how any of us might want to rewrite the OJ Simpson case. There is no do-over even in this semi-fictionalized universe of “American Crime Story”. Because it was a real life event, this trial will proceed the way it happened, whether we like it or not.

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “A Jury in Jail” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
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.

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “The Conspiracy Theories” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
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.

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
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.

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “The Race Card” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
The Race Card. As the trial begins Christopher Darden and Johnnie Cochran go head to head in court.

The episode summary for “The Race Card” says Cochran and Darden go head to head in court but really they ram at each other in AND out of the courtroom. It’s like the characters are two sides of an embattled, self-loathing coin. This sense of war between them arises throughout the episode with the use of the n-word. It comes up right at the start when Cochran’s daughter asks him if a police officer said the n-word to him and again later in the courtroom when the two lawyers debate the word’s presence and relevance in the trial. What we realize from this episode is that much like OJ’s trial, their fight both is and isn’t about race. On one hand it’s a fight between former friends who maybe know each other a bit too well to keep the fight clean but on the other hand race actually is an issue they both care about deeply. The passions are high and nothing raises heart rates higher quite like the n-word.

Johnnie Cochran gets pulled over by a police officer and ends up cuffed for no real reason. After calling the station about him, the cop wishes Johnnie a nice evening and lets him go. Then Cochran’s at church where the minister says a special communal prayer for his work on the OJ Simpson trial. The DA’s office watches the news showing the church’s support of Cochran. Johnnie then comments that isn’t it interesting that now with eight black people put on the jury, the prosecution suddenly adds a black man to their team? Darden see this and looks deer-in-headlights tasered.

Next Marcia leads prosecution strategy meeting while at the same time we see a parallel defense meeting led by Johnny. For every point Clark raises “The Dream Team” notes a counterpoint. She brings up OJ’s history of domestic violence, sixty two instances on record. She says this shows he was a serial abuser and proves motive. Then Dershowitz implies that they will keep all that evidence out of court. Bill then says the the prosecution has a solid timeline and on the defense side Barry Scheck counters saying the fact that the DA’s timeline does them a huge favor because it’s such a small window and thus can easily be attacked. Kardashian also mentions that “their bombshell witness is a dog,” which the prosecution neglects to see as a potential issue. In fact, they romanticize it saying, “Everything begins with the plaintive wail of the Akita”. Marcia then talks about all the blood evidence and Dershowtiz says there’s no way they’ll put Fuhrman on the stand given his racist history. The DA talks about the evidence as “devastating proof” while the defense speaks of the “haphazard” collection of it. So, both sides have their arguments ready, now they just have to distribute the work to back it all up. Clark hands out assignments and gives Darden the detectives Vannatter and Fuhrman to prepare as witnesses.

Next we see Darden interviewing Fuhrman and though he has all the right answers, Darden senses that something’s off with him. He tells Marcia they really don’t need Furhman because someone else entered the gloves into evidence anyway. She’s stubborn about it and says they need Fuhrman. It’s unclear why Marcia doesn’t trust Darden’s instinct on this but what’s abundantly clear is that Darden’s gut is getting tied into knots with all this BS and being ignored.

So, the prosecution is wrapped up in laying out the evidence but back on “The Dream Team” Johnnie explains that evidence doesn’t win the day. Juries go with the narrative that makes the most sense to them. It’s essentially a storytelling contest, whomever has the more convincing story wins.

Next we see Judge Ito and Dominick Dunne discuss how he’s going to sit in on the trial while writing about it for Vanity Fair. Ito gives him a permanent seat in the front row next to the Goldmans. They talk about how Dunne can empathize with the Goldmans because of his own daughter’s murder. What Judge Ito doesn’t seem to realize is that Dunne essentially writes gossip. He’s just a dapper little buzzing bee with thick circular glasses and a burning desire to divulge secrets. Yes, he did lose a daughter but then he used her tragic murder to spark a career for himself writing stories about Hollywood killers. Empathy is not exactly Dunne’s mantra, motto, or strong suit. Hyperbole might be, though. Again this is a case of the strongest story “winning” no matter how much of it actually rings true. We see this later in the episode when Dunne gossips galore at a luxurious dinner among his peers, dishing out dirt on the case like a dump truck in the desert… but only when the “help” is out of earshot.

At the courthouse Johnnie shakes Darden’s hand straight away. Then the emboldened Darden says he hopes they can put their shared past behind them and be respectful. Johnnie pulls Darden closer to say he’s not looking to be respectful, he’s just trying to win. So, it’s ON. Then in the courtroom Shapiro right off the bat asks to exclude the 62 allegations of abuse e as irrelevant because it’s a murder case, not a domestic violence case. Bill then speaks for the DA and says the context and nature of their relationship is crucial to understanding what’s behind this case.

Then Darden brings up Furhman to the Judge and says there’s no reason to forage fifteen years into his past for his use of a reprehensible word. He says this word will hinder the jury’s ability to see the facts of the case. Then Cochran gets up and preaches that it’s insulting to the African American community to say they can’t handle hearing offensive words. They can still tell right from wrong and have to face hearing that word and making important decisions that all the time. The next day the front page of the newspaper is all about this face off on race between Cochran and Darden. At the office Darden asks Gil if he can do some follow up interviews with the black press but Gil says no way. Then Darden approaches Marcia and says they really should take Fuhrman out of the case. He warns her many times over he course of the episode but she neglects to listen.

Johnnie gets a late night call from the office letting them know that Shapiro’s staff screwed up and forgot to submit twelve witness names from their discovery roster, a big boo boo that makes them look bad. The next morning Marcia Clark gives the prosecution’s opening statement. She talks about OJ’s public persona versus the private person. Marcia brings up the blood evidence and how it ties OJ to the murders. Then Cochran gives the defense’s opening statement and quotes Martin Luther King. Then he starts listing witnesses but as he says names that aren’t on the prosecution’s list Bill gets very upset and interrupts to say they don’t have these witnesses on their list. The day in court is cut short when subsequently Bill has a heart attack and exits on a stretcher. Turns out Bill’s down for the count and now off the case, so Marcia recommends they elevate Darden to co-prosecuter and suddenly these two are the dynamic duo – odd couple Wonder Twins against “The Dream Team” and it’s clear that this isn’t a fair fight right from the start.

In the next scene Cochran removes OJ’s whitewashed home decorating and replaces it with items that are a bit more black-friendly. There’s an upcoming jurors tour of the house and of Nicole’s as well. Marcia gets upset during Nicole’s house tour because the defense had all the furniture and personal items cleared out of Nicole’s condo so there are no indications that she was a mother with a family and the human element of the scene is gone. The opposite happens at OJ’s house where Johnnie has completely staged the place to perfection. Marcia complains to Judge Ito in OJ’s backyard and while she does Darden sits on a bench. Then OJ starts yelling at Darden to get off HIS bench. Darden tells Cochran to get his client under control. Then Cochran says OJ just “gets emotional”. Yeah, so we heard on the 911 tapes, dude.

In a dramatic and swift shift, Johnnie then pulls him close and tells Darden not to question Fuhrman, “make the white people do him,” he says. Next Darden practices questioning Fuhrman at the DA’s office and gets frustrated yet again. It’s pretty clear the Fuhrman has something to hide and is lying about using the n-word. During Darden’s questioning Fuhrman mentions that he collects WWII memorabilia along with some sports. Afterward Darden stands firm with Marcia for the zillionth time saying that he can’t put Fuhrman on the stand until finally Marcia agrees to just do it herself. Then in the last scene we see a shot of Fuhrman polishing his WWII memorabilia and turns out, surprise, surprise – it’s Nazi medals. Looks like Darden’s gut is worth listening to after all.

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “100 Percent Not Guilty” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
100 Percent Not Guilty. The entrance of Johnnie Cochran adds an interesting energy to the case.

“100 percent Not Guilty” opens in a dance club where OJ is getting down with champagne, oysters, shots and doing coke off the chest of a beauty in a tiny red dress. Then we see that it was all in his frustrated head and back in the present OJ sits in his cell, pissed off. This lifestyle comes up again later in the episode when Lee Resnick describes exactly this sort of night life as shared by OJ, Nicole and their alleged cocaine-fueled conquests for her tell-all book about Nicole.

At the first Dream Team meeting when Cochran finally joins them Shapiro opens with the question “Who thinks OJ did it?” but nobody wants to play that game so then he says, “me neither”. Then they discuss the benefit of a downtown jury where there will certainly be black men and Shapiro points out that Cochran knows the language of “these people,” thus irritating Johnnie to the core. One thing they all agree about is their strategy to fight each and every item brought up as if the whole case depends on each and every tiny point of contention.

We see this in action right away at the preliminary hearing when Cochran vehemently objects to Marcia Clark’s request for hair samples, escalating it to the point that they end up requesting a special hearing just for hair sample discussion. Cochran then goes to visit OJ in prison and gives crankypants a pep talk. Johnnie’s a fantastic storyteller and makes OJ smile even with his red-rimmed eyes, clogged toilet, nasty prison food, and wrinkled brow. Johnnie reminds OJ that he’s an inspiration to many people, including Cochran.

Next we see Judge Ito telling his wife, a police officer, that he got assigned to the Simpson case. He’s excited and immediately has her fill out “the usual spousal conflict form”. She scans the list and pauses significantly over Mark Fuhrman’s name before signing off on it. Then we see Ito taking OJ’s plea in court, he makes that famous statement saying, I’m absolutely “100 Percent Not Guilty,” after which some music plays to indicate that the charade within a carnival within a TV show is about to begin.

F. Lee Bailey and Shapiro have dinner and Bailey asks who he should send his billable hours to but Shapiro tells him he’s going to be working pro bono on this one. It’ll be worth it because it’s such a high profile case, Shapiro promises. Bailey balks at this and points out that he was the first lawyer Shapiro called. One can’t really blame Bailey for this, he’s already a household name from the Sam Shepherd and Patty Hearst cases, thus likely doing it for the money and not so much additional fame at this point. What Shapiro is too bloated in the head to realize is that he needs Bailey as his ally on the dream team and alienating his buddy like this is a stupid move.

Next Faye Resnick feeds tawdry stories about coke binges and anonymous Brentwood BJs to the ghost writers for her trashy book about Nicole. She talks about how the reason behind Nicole and OJ’s fights was that they were always breaking up and reconciling but then one of them would invariably sleep around and screw it up. Resnick said all sorts of horrifying things with seemingly no filter and then published the book in a frenzy so fast that Judge Ito brought the lawyers into his back office to discuss it before the jury has even been selected. The prosecution and defense teams both read the book, along with the rest of the United States. Every character has their own individual shocked reaction and then Shapiro points out the lesbian sex page for the convenience of “The Dream Team” as they sit around a table reading it in tandem.

Meanwhile at the DA’s office the Goldman family comes in to talk to Marcia. Ron Goldman’s father is justifiably angry that nobody seems to care about his son’s death or if they do it’s seemingly only to tarnish his name. Ron was truly a good person and not just the hottie people see in his photos. He volunteered with sick kids and never drank or did drugs but all the press talks about is his modeling and tanning salon. Mr. Goldman softly relays how many times Ron was stabbed, even after he was dead and it’s heartbreaking to imagine losing your child this way, to a monster. Marcia’s moved and takes his hand then promises, “We’re going to get him,” and Mr. Goldman says, “You better” which just kills us even more because we know this promise gets broken too.

After that Marcia meets with Gil and Bill who give her the bad news that they can’t go for the death penalty. Nobody in America wants to execute OJ, they explain. We can’t even get Charles Manson executed, for God’s sake! Then they tell her to go see the focus group guy. He’s a real pro and offered to do them for free on this case. In the first focus group Marcia and Bill see all the black people raise their hands to indicate that they think OJ is innocent and all the white people think he’s guilty. Then the focus group watches a courtroom tape of the lawyers in action and subsequently describe Marcia as a bitch, strident, a know-it-all, and shifty. Uh oh. After the focus groups Marcia gets advice to soften her hairdo, wear skirts and maybe try smiling. Black women especially don’t like her. She’s beside herself and, unfortunately, doesn’t really believe it. Marcia keeps insisting that black women love her because she’s helped so many with battered wife cases in the past. What she doesn’t realize is that previous truths no longer apply with this case. It’s a different world with OJ.

Meanwhile the defense runs focus groups of their own and are surprised to learn that black women love OJ but call Nicole a “gold digger,” welcome news for their side though. Kardashian can’t see past the fact that he’s upset by it and says, “Nicole wasn’t at all like that. She really loved him,” etc. It’s a challenge sometimes to remember that technically Kardashian was also on the Dream Team because he acts more like their dufus waterboy half the time.

Marcia meets with Darden then and tells him they have to drop the Cowlings case after all because OJ is taking all the attention of the DA office. Then they share a drink and chat about jury selection. He asks her how Johnnie scored in the focus groups and she tells him a ten and how poorly she did – a four. It doesn’t bode well and she asks Darden what it is that’s so special about Cochran. He says not to underestimate Johnnie because he’s the real deal.

Jury selection begins and “The Dream Team” leaves day one’s courtroom deciding to do a press conference about the jury already leaning too white and Shapiro insists he be the one to speak to the press because he’s the team leader. But after Shapiro’s PR speech falls flat, the press follows Johnnie to his shoe shine and Cochran gives them the quotes they really want. This leads to a front page headline about racism already arising in the courtroom. Then Gil advises Marcia and Bill they need a third lawyer at their table and it needs to be somebody “good for optics” AKA black. Marcia then suggests they add Darden to their team. She’s not making these smart choices in the courtroom, though. Back at jury selection the dream team adds more black women and Marcia’s a bit too open-minded about it. Instead of taking the focus group information into account and challenging the jury makeup which is heavily stacked with black women and men, Marcia holds out on principle against Bill. Should it matter? No. But it does matter. All Bill asks for is one white guy because hey, “We live in Los Angeles too,” and he’s got a point.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. Sometimes the word of the people outweighs even principle… like in a courtroom where the jury decides.

Next thing we know Johnnie gives OJ the good news that his neighbor’s maid can give testimony that messes up the prosecution’s timeline. This gives the defense team hope. Then Shapiro waltzes in and advises OJ to plead manslaughter. He should say he went to the house to slash Nicole’s tires and things escalated to killing her and then subsequently “the Ron fella” out of jealousy. This horrifies the rest of the room but Shapiro goes home oblivious. His wife begs him to drop the case but he can’t drop it, he explains. Shapiro knows everybody in their whitewashed world thinks OJ is guilty. That’s the world he lives in too and clearly it’s where he’s comfortable. But the rest of “The Dream Team” is at least playing along with the “100 Percent Not Guilty” plea and he needs to get on board because it’s his job.

The Dream team and OJ then convalesce while Shapiro takes a vacation to Hawaii. They even go to his office and remove all of his OJ files and put them in Cochran’s office. Shapiro is pissed to come back and find this out, especially when The Daily News splashes it across their front page. He confronts them when he gets back, rushing into Cochran’s office. The Dream Team were waiting for him and have OJ on conference call ready to talk it out. At first OJ tries to tell Shapiro with football metaphors. But then F. Lee Bailey gives Shapiro the bad news point blank – looks like Bailey will be billing hours after all on this case. When the rest of The Dream Team concurs with Bailey, it’s officially decided to make Cochran leader and Shapiro has no choice but to accept. Truth is, this frees him from the very problem his wife talked about. Now defending OJ isn’t all on his shoulders anymore. But this is a man who hates to lose any ground. So, he pouts anyway. In the final scene The Dream Team walks into court and are taken aback by Darden’s presence on the prosecution team. OJ asks Cochran, “When did they get a black guy?” and Marcia smiles at them. She’s finally got one small victory for her side.

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “The Dream team” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
The Dream Team. Robert Shapiro begins putting together OJ Simpson’s legal counsel.

“The Dream Team” essentially gets down to the brass tacks of doing business in Los Angeles. But because it’s Hollywood, baby, fame matters. And emotion matters even more, even in the business of criminal justice. This is one of the major flaws in the idealism of the prosecutors from the very beginning. They decide it works for them to have the trial “downtown” rather than Santa Monica where the crime took place. Gill likes the idea because he’s thinking of his next election and wants a few black people on the jury and Marcia Clark is bursting with confidence because of her record wins and the abundance of evidence against OJ. She does make a telling joke, though, about how it’s too bad OJ won’t get a jury of his peers, rich white people. Another significant but seemingly offhanded joke is when Darden explains to her that many black people are convinced OJ didn’t do it, “They’re emotional,” he says and notes that she doesn’t “get it” because she never gets emotional about her cases. This is apparently a point of pride for Marcia Clark. Unfortunately, it will also be her undoing.

The episode opens on Kardashian eating out on Father’s Day with his kids where he gets recognized for being “the OJ guy” and thus seated right away. His daughters ask if he thinks OJ did it and he says no way but they insist that their mother thinks he did it. King Kodependent says he believes in OJ and also lectures them that being a good person and loyal friend is much more important than being famous. “Fame is fleeting and means nothing without a virtuous heart,” he says. Kardashian’s sincerity is evident but his idealism also feels touched with delusion given that the children listening to this and nodding their heads in agreement are Kim and Khloe Kardashian.

Meanwhile, Robert Shapiro’s incredibly pissed off by the media’s portrayal of the OJ case. He calls F Lee Bailey and has him over for some expensive booze and wooing. He cries to Bailey about how bad it looks for OJ: the trail of blood straight into his house, the gloves, running away in the Bronco, etc. Then they turn on the TV and see Dershowitz talking about how terrible this whole thing is for OJ. They discuss smug Dershowitz and agree that the only way to shut him up is to hire him. Next they bring on Barry Scheck, the best DNA guy in the business. When they all meet to discuss the case Dershowitz lists all their mistakes including reading OJ’s apparent confession on TV. Once he’s finished pissing all over their parade they all start sharing strategies. Barry Scheck’s strategy is to show errors in the handling of DNA samples to attack every assumption brought by the prosecution. Dershowitz then takes this strategy further and says they’ll do the same with all the evidence and get as much thrown out as possible. Later Pat McKenna, their team’s lead investigator, says the LAPD treated OJ like they were his butler but he does happen to know one of them, Mark Furhman and that he’s a real prick – even Johnny Carson didn’t like him.

Cochran hasn’t yet joined the team but tells his wife he doesn’t want to lose along with that crowd of fancypants. She says sure sure but how would you feel if they got Simpson off without you on the team? Johnny has to admit he wouldn’t like that. OJ’s face is on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and all the other news magazines and there’s outrage in the media about how they made him look darker in his mugshot. So, the topic of racism has already entered the conversation. Next we see Pat McKenna back with Shapiro after investigating Mark Furhman’s files at the lAPD and it turns out he’s been deemed racially biased and it’s all on record. Thus, the cop that found the glove – the most crucial evidence – can be taken down on the stand for his “known racism” and now Shapiro has his strategy. This information combined with the LAPD’s history in the black community gives him all he needs to clinch the case. It’s the first time Shapiro has smiled in a long time. A reporter from The New Yorker Magazine comes by his office and Shapiro tells him about Mark Furhman and that the police set up OJ Simpson.

Then Marcia Clark sees her eyewitness, the one OJ screamed at from his Bronco. She’s on Hard Copy talking about the incident with Simpson on the night of the murder and basically gives all of her testimony right there on TV. Turns out the show paid her five thousand dollars to tell her story. Even though she’s the only real eyewitness for the prosecution from the night of the murders and crucial to the timeline, Marcia says they have to pull her from the witness list now that she’s been tainted by the media. Clark says they still have all the evidence they need to hold the high ground. Uh oh. Slippery slope here they come.

Next we see OJ talking to Shapiro, Bailey, and Kardashian. Shapiro says he wants to add Cochran to the team so he can better communicate with the downtown jury and OJ doesn’t like this idea at all. It’s in direct conflict with the way he self-identifies. “You want to make this about being black but I’m not black. I’m OJ,” and now we see that OJ never really liked or agreed with the very defense that ended up freeing him.

Christopher Darden gets a call from the reporter at the New Yorker and he tells Marcia about it, saying he knows Furhman is an important witness for her. She then asks Darden what he thinks about the case. He says it seems bulletproof. But Marcia’s shocked when Darden adds that it’s interesting how a lot of black people don’t think OJ did it. So, he attempts to explain the phenomenon but Clark never quite grasps the concept. Next she asks him what he thinks of AC Cowlings being prosecuted for aiding and abetting a felon when he drove OJ in the Bronco. Darden points out that OJ having the gun pointed to his head makes it complicated. Marcia says she wants Darden to lead this aiding and abetting case against Cowling and Darden says he hasn’t been in a courtroom in a long time but she insists he’s the right one for the Cowlings case.

Then things unravel even further for the DA’s office when the news media starts playing the 911 tapes of Nicole calling in about OJ beating her. Marcia rants that her evidence is already all on TV and she’s going to have nothing left by the time the trial starts. It certainly won’t help her case now. Then The New Yorker issue comes out and F Lee Bailey praises Shapiro for his big brass balls. They talk about how the 911 tapes being exposed puts them back in the winning game now that this article is the followup. How can having the 911 tapes out there help them? It’s a lot like what Robert Kardashian told his kids, “Fame is fleeting. It’s hollow,” so people get emotional about it today, yes. But then they move on to the next thing as they do with all news stories. There’s a new one right around the corner that will make them feel something completely different. And guess what that next thing is – Shapiro and his story about how it’s impossible for a black man to get a fair shake with the LAPD.

Meanwhile Darden tells Marcia and Gill he thinks this Shapiro story from The New Yorker could stick. The DA office starts to realize their case is no longer such a slam dunk and it’s going to be a battle after all. Kardashian then reads The New Yorker article to OJ in prison and Shapiro explains to OJ how the 911 tapes hurt his reputation as the golden boy and they need to bring Cochran on the case to seal the race story for them. Shapiro finally gets the OK from Simpson but then faces another obstacle when Cochran says he has to look into OJ’s eyes and believe him before he can join the case. Shapiro clearly doesn’t believe Simpson and thus gets a worried look on his face at the prospect.

So, then Cochran visits OJ in prison and they sit, just the two of them, while OJ cries. He loved Nicole. He didn’t do it. He couldn’t have done it. Johnny just has to believe him. OJ uses emotion like a master, wiping away the tears and tapping deep into Johnny’s soft heart. Cochran says he does believe it and that all he needs is one black juror for a hung jury and then OJ can go home.

In the final scene Marcia smokes at a picnic table in her backyard just as the sun’s coming up on a new day. She smokes her billionth cigarette and looks at the paper. On the front page is the news that Cochran has joined “The Dream Team,” and Clark only has one word to say about this, “Motherfucker”. She’s facing a formidable opponent in Cochran because he taps into people’s emotions, a skill Clark doesn’t have. In fact, this theme resonates throughout the episode. From the scene where Darden points out to Clark that her stoicism prevents her from understanding the black community’s point of view, to the argument among OJ’s Dream Team when they accuse each other of being too emotional. Yes, they are emotional and it works for them. You have to care deeply to convince people to think in different ways. You need passion and this dream team has tons to spare. Now, with Cochran joining them they have a veritable wall of passion. It’s all about getting the job done but in this case their work is a war with an ice queen armed with facts. So, who better to battle her than warriors with hearts afire?

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “The Run of His Life” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
The Run of His Life. With OJ Simpson missing in the white Bronco his lawyers must deal with the fallout as the DA’s office and LAPD scramble.

Episode two, “The Run of His Life” opens with Kardashian AKA King Kodependent praying for OJ and Shapiro begging on the phone with the DA, Gil Garcetti, saying he had no idea OJ was going to run. Shapiro’s so smart. He begins the discussion by saying, “I’m so sorry he did this to US,” immediately aligning himself with Gil, whom he also reminds came to his fiftieth birthday party. The DA isn’t empathetic and ends the call abruptly by hanging up on Shapiro. Then Kardashian shows Shapiro OJ’s suicide note, signed with a happy face. The news media is all over OJ on the run while the DA’s office watches horrified and points fingers of blame, mainly at the specter of OJ’s celebrity and Robert Shapiro. Gil says this is the worst day of his life, worse than when he was diagnosed with cancer. Teams of news crews and cop cars hit the road searching for fugitive OJ. There’s only one story being told in the United States today and it’s the car chase to end all car chases… except that it’s really not a car chase at all. OJ isn’t chased but rather escorted. The police had an opportunity to shoot him or at least take him into custody and instead they let him go then cleared the freeway, surrounded his vehicle, and escorted him home to Brentwood.

In this episode we only see a tiny glimpse of the angry Simpson that raged through the first one and that tiny bit of OJ anger is directed at AC, who keeps flipping out under the pressure. This episode is all about apologetic OJ. He says sorry over and over and over, mostly to the police who, we soon come to realize, adore him and OJ desperately wants to keep it that way. It’s unclear how sincere OJ’s suicide threats are but what resounds abundantly clear is that he uses them to hold the one thing hostage everybody cares most about – the icon, OJ Simpson. Maybe he wanted to set off a reminder flare about how much this “American Hero” meant to us right before the arrest. Or maybe he really just wanted to kill himself. Either way, by holding the gun to his head OJ runs the entire show from a seemingly passive and vulnerable position. Meanwhile he’s getting highways cleared and police escorts home. This is a person who definitely doesn’t think the rules apply to him and he’s going to make sure the whole country knows it. We must never forget that he deserves special treatment simply because he’s OJ. No matter that he’s suspected of double murder with a warrant out for his arrest.

Meanwhile at the DA office Gil gets on the news and says that anybody who helps OJ is harboring a fugitive which is a felony and he’ll personally make sure they’re prosecuted. He makes clear that the DA’s office alleges the murder weapon was a knife. Christopher Darden, who’s taking a few days off, then arrives at his family’s home and the one living room in the country watching the PGA golf tournament rather than the white Bronco. Darden changes the channel to watch the news and sees his peers from the DA office on TV. He empathizes with Marcia and Gil immediately and his father says, “You know those people?”. Meanwhile Shapiro and Kardashian do their own press conference, mainly to help clear Shapiro’s reputation. Shapiro declares that he had no idea OJ was going to run and then talks primarily about what a reliable person and fantastic lawyer he is. Johnnie Cochran, watching this, says it’s a mistake and that an attorney should always put their client’s needs first. Then King Kodependent reads the “suicide note” as part of the Shapiro press conference as well. In it OJ says he sometimes felt like a “battered husband” which dumbfounds Marcia Clark who’s watching in her office. Then Bill quips to her, “Well, you know, he cut his hand while he was killing her,” deftly delivering the best line of the episode.

In the meantime to the tune of the Beastie Boys singing Sabotage, a couple in a VW van recognize the white Bronco with AC at the wheel on the California highway and call it in from a highway pay phone. The police quickly pull up to the bronco but AC won’t comply with anything; even the mere request to speak to OJ. He just says OJ’s in the back with a gun to his head. Though they have guns drawn at the white Bronco, AC won’t even open a window. The cops then refuse to shoot at OJ Simpson without authorization so AC ends up simply driving away from them because they don’t even threaten to take action or try to negotiate terms. He drives away as soon as he realizes their guns are simply bluffing.

Then Kardashian, weepy in a flowered tie, goes to OJ’s family members and tells them about the suicide note. He adds that “We have reason to believe he’s killed himself,” but just as they’re all joining him in weeping the nearby TV broadcasts that OJ’s in the back seat of the white Bronco driving down the freeway, alive. Shapiro also sees this news from his own living room and hears the broadcaster say Simpson’s basically driving up and down the freeway with a police escort. “Good for you, OJ,” Shapiro says, “We’re still in the game” so we see that his earlier press conference was made under the assumption that OJ was dead. Shapiro thought the game was over and didn’t realize it was all really just beginning.

The DA team discusses what the protocol could possibly be for apprehending an armed celebrity fugitive surrounded by police cars and helicopters. Nobody has an answer but Marcia does suggest shooting out his tires – not the worst idea but poo pooed by Gil for representing a shootout on national TV. Simultaneously in the white Bronco, AC and OJ talk about what they should do and AC tells him to think about his kids. OJ says he needs to see his mother. So, AC calls 911 and says “they” need to clear the freeway so OJ can go to Brentwood. Turns out the operator took immediate action and the police quickly do clear the highway for OJ. Just like that. At that moment on TV it’s the NBA finals and the producers interrupt the game to go to live coverage of the OJ story. Clark walks through the DA’s office where everybody is watching the news reportage and then she calls Bill and asks how OJ got his white Bronco back when they impounded it and she’s told it’s actually AC’s bronco; he copied OJ. It’s OJ’s world, they’re just living in it, it seems at that moment.

OJ then calls King Kodependent from the car and they revel in their bromance and tell each other “I love you,” then OJ reminisces and tells Kardashian to say goodbye to everybody for him and starts listing people. Kardashian says OJ can tell them himself because he’s going to see them again. OJ says he just wants to go home to see his mother but Kardashian says that’s probably not the best idea right now. Next we see Cochran in a news interview talking about how OJ is innocent until proven guilty. He also tells a story about one of his clients who was also innocent until proven guilty but was killed by police anyway simply because of the color of his skin. It was the first of many such cases, unfortunately, Cochran says. OJ then gets a call from a detective at the police station and apologizes profusely to them for making them work so hard “late on a Friday when they probably want to go home to their kids,” and says the gun isn’t for hurting them. He would never do that. The gun if for himself, he says. They tell him they’ll let him go home but that the gun is scaring everybody, won’t he throw it away? OJ says no because he “deserves to get hurt” and says he wants to join Nicole.

Meanwhile Christopher Darden talks to his family’s neighbors over the backyard fence. They are speaking highly of OJ and Darden points out that Simpson never really gave back to the black community, so they can’t really claim him as one of theirs. He left never to return and basically became white. But the neighbor says, “Well, you got the cops chasing him, so he’s black now”. The news media shows crowds of people holding up signs and chanting that OJ’s innocent. OJ sees them and cries when AJ says it’s because the people love him. Marcia Clark watches a news report that seems like a eulogy for OJ and declares that they have to get him alive so he can face and pay for what he’s done. Meanwhile OJ can’t get to the house in Brentwood because of all the people outside with supportive signs, blocking his way. But then they finally pull into the driveway. Once there, AC and OJ’s son beg him not to shoot himself and OJ finally puts the gun in his lap, crying. Night falls and OJ remains in the Bronco, surrounded by helicopters and with AC on the phone with police. His home is full of SWAT police as well. He decides it’s time to just do it and puts the gun in his mouth. Then the phone rings and it’s King Kodependent again. Kardashian convinces OJ to come inside. The deal is that he has to leave the gun in the Bronco and in exchange the police won’t put him in handcuffs outside but will do the arrest inside the house. No perp walk – just like OJ wanted all along. So, OJ comes out of the Bronco apologizing all the while to the police. Initially they think he has a gun until Kardashian screams that it’s just pictures of his kids and saves him from being shot. OJ comes inside and collapses into King Kodependent’s arms. He keeps apologizing over and over. Then, once seated on his couch, OJ asks for some orange juice and talks to his mother on the phone.

The news media then declares that OJ’s been arrested and we see him get in the back of a police car and it starts driving toward the station. Marcia Clark seems happy and satisfied that they’ll be taking him to trial after all. Christopher Darden in the backyard of his family’s home comments that he may get put on this trial after all. Darden’s family neighbors say they hope he’s not representing the state on this case because OJ was clearly framed. This surprises Darden who says no, he’s certain OJ wasn’t framed but the neighbors can’t be dissuaded from their point of view. A line of separation forms here for Darden on principle and it’s a line that will grow longer and longer until it divides the entire country as the trial commences and everybody takes a side – each based in their own strong principles.

–Katherine Recap

[For The People v. OJ Simpson “From the Ashes of Tragedy” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]

FX Summary:
From the Ashes of Tragedy.In the episode “From the Ashes of Tragedy” the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman lead the LAPD to the home of OJ Simpson.

Often cited as the most publicized trial in American History and the “trial of the century”, the double murder trial for the killing of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman spanned eight months in 1995. The trial ended with OJ’s acquittal and spotlighted a nationwide polarity in black and white opinions as to Simpson’s innocence or guilt. Based on the book The Run of His Life: The People v. OJ Simpson, by Jeffrey Toobin this show seeks to explore the many sides of an emotionally powerful and intrinsically fascinating drama many Americans feel they witnessed firsthand. We watched the trial on TV and the daily media frenzy that followed each day but weren’t privy to many of the events portrayed in this show. It’s the behind the scenes good stuff that brings out the intrigue and keeps us riveted, especially characters like John Travolta’s Robert Shapiro, a hilarious and real character that he wears like a glove.

As a refresher and reference here’s the cast of characters:

Cuba Gooding, Jr. as OJ Simpson – Former football Hall-of-Famer and actor accused of killing his ex wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark – Prosecuting attorney on OJ Simpson trial – mother of two going through a divorce during the trial
John Travolta as Robert Shapiro – One of Simpson’s lead defense attorneys – a celebrity lawyer who has become a celebrity in his own right
David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian – Close friend of OJ Simpson who took up practicing law again just to support Simpson throughout the trial
Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran – One of the lead lawyers on OJ’s defense
Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey – Famous criminal defense attorney on many high profile cases, including the OJ Simpson trial
Billy Magnussen as Kato Kaelin – Houseguest of OJ at time of murders and witness at trial
Connie Britton as Faye Resnick – Friend of Nicole Brown Simpson and witness at trial
Steven Pasquale as Mark Fuhrman – Detective on the murder case who played a crucial role in amplifying the issue of race in the Simpson case.
Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden – Lawyer for the prosecution – brought onto prosecution team when Clark’s co-prosecuter took ill – had OJ try on bloody glove
Kenneth Choi as Judge Lance Ito – Judge on OJ Simpson trial
Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Al Cowlings AKA “AC” – OJ’s friend who drove the white bronco
Evan Handler as Alan Dershowitz – well known lawyer on the Simpson defense
Rob Morrow as Barry Scheck – Lawyer on OJ’s team
Robert Morse as Dominick Dunne – Haughty society journalist reporting for Vanity Fair

The first episode “From the Ashes of Tragedy” opens with a compilation of news coverage videos from the LA riots after the Rodney King trial verdict. It’s a reminder that these events happened only two years before the Simpson trial in that very same city. Next we see OJ’s driver picking him up for the airport on the night of the murders. He’s late because he “overslept and had to take a shower,” Simpson explains to his driver. Then a man notices a barking dog and thus discovers first bloody footprints leading to a gate and right after the full on crime scene outside the front door of Nicole Brown Simpson’s condo.

Soon homicide detective Mark Furhman shows up at the condo crime scene and with fellow lead detective Phillip Van Atter it’s decided they need to notify OJ of his ex wife’s murder. Furhman says he knows where Simpson lives, having been there for a family dispute a few years earlier. Outside OJ’s house the detectives see Simpson’s white Ford Bronco and spy what looks like blood on the door near the handle and in the interior. OJ isn’t home but when they knock on the door of the guest house out back they find an out-of-it Kato Kaelin inside. He says he’s not “an official person” and “I just kind of live back here,” then recommends they talk to OJ’s daughter. So, the detectives then call to notify Simpson of his ex wife’s death. He doesn’t ask how she died and hangs up after saying he’ll be back in LA the next day. Next we see Kato in Simpson’s backyard directing Mark Furhman to where he heard a loud banging on his A/C unit and then Furhman finds a bloody glove right under the air conditioner and detective Van Atter declares it a crime scene.

He’s the link to the next scene when he calls Marcia Clark for advice. Van Atter tells her about the crime and the evidence they’ve found: drops of blood leading to Simpson’s house, what appears to be blood on the Ford Bronco, and two bloody gloves; one at the murder scene and one at Simpson’s that appear to match. Clark immediately says it sounds like they’ve found enough evidence to arrest Simpson. Van Atter says he’s really just trying to get a search warrant at this point.

Marcia then briefs the DA office on the known details of the case. They work out a timeline and note that OJ’s flight took off at 11:45 and the murders happened at some point between ten and eleven. Clark then describes Ron Goldman as a twenty five year old actor/waiter returning glasses to Nicole that her mother left at the restaurant where he worked. They look at the crime scene pictures and have to pause a moment when they see that Nicole’s head was nearly severed from her body. These were brutal murders. Bill, Marcia’s co-council, shares the info about Simpson’s abuse conviction for beating Nicole when they were married five years ago. She’d called 911 eight times over the years of their marriage and had a black eye and split lip on record. OJ also shattered her windshield with a baseball bat at one point. In the end Simpson got off easy with community service that he never did, Bill recounts. Then they listen to the interview with OJ talking about the night of the murders and he’s vague about timing when asked about the events; even answering what time it was with, “seven, eight, nine… I don’t know”. Marcia complains that the investigators aren’t doing their job because they don’t get any specific information from him. Bill tries to explain to her what a giant football star OJ was and that the detectives were intimidated by his celebrity but Clark dismisses all that and says. “It doesn’t matter. He got away with beating her but he won’t get away with killing her,” although a worthy goal it also refuses to acknowledge the power of OJ’s celebrity. This could perhaps have been the fatal flaw in their prosecution tactics. We see Clark doesn’t have it easy in her life outside the trial either. She smokes constantly and sweats stress deep into the seams of her cheap suits – one of the hardest jobs imaginable ahead of her and going through a volatile divorce as well.

Next we see Robert Kardashian (King Kodependent) and Howard (OJ’s initial lawyer) at Simpson’s house to support him. OJ’s car from the airport drives up and he’s already surrounded by police and paparazzi. The police take him in the backyard and start to handcuff him but Howard stops them and then OJ offers to cooperate with Van Atter against Howard’s advice. One of the paparazzi catches the interaction on tape and announces, “OJ is a suspect,” then broadcasts the picture of the momentary handcuffing so that it appears on the news soon after. Van Atter then gives the blood evidence to an examiner to test for DNA and the forensics guy says they can’t rush it because DNA is serious stuff.

Clark then interviews witnesses who interacted with OJ the night of the murders. A woman OJ nearly hit swerving his SUV at 10:45 who, because he screamed at her, knows she can be certain it was OJ Simpson. Then the driver who took Simpson to the airport places OJ at the house a bit later and this grants the prosecution a solid timeline for where OJ was that night. Their timeline gives him plenty of time to have done the murders. Meanwhile Shapiro and Kardashian sit by while a polygraph examiner tabulates Simpson’s responses to questions about the murder and Simpson fails the polygraph, doing the worst possible – a score of negative 24. This sets OJ off on a rage in which he blames Kardashian and Shapiro for not “being there for him” during the polygraph. What the hell’s he paying them for anyway? It’s unclear why Kardashian remains so loyal to OJ after outbursts like this, thus his fetchland nickname King Kodependent.

Then we’re introduced to the colorful Johnnie Cochran choosing an outfit from his massive closet. He goes to the DA’s office where he chides Christopher Darden for being on the wrong side of the law when it comes to justice for black people. The one thing they agree on, though, is the endless cycle of bullshit that is practicing the law in a system that claims to administer justice but instead perpetuates racism and unfairness. Cochran leaves the office saying that although Darden couldn’t get justice for his client he will advise them to sue the city for police brutality and wrongful death. “You see,” Cochran says, “sometimes money is the only way to get justice,” and thus we now we see the introduction of the themes of race and money with these two characters, Cochran and Darden. They’re so similar and yet, once both involved in the trial, worlds apart and in total opposition on these two, arguably most crucial, themes of the story.

Next we see OJ stressed to the max at his house surrounded by friends. He’s popping pills and raging while Robert Kardashian gives him advice including that he needs a better lawyer than Howard. At this mention we’re introduced to Rico Suave himself, Robert Shapiro at a fancy lunch getting a call from OJ Simpson. In their first meeting Shapiro name drops celebrity clients like Rainman with a box of toothpicks. Then Shapiro tells Kardashian he needs to get his license to practice law back in gear and join the team so he can support his best friend in the courtroom. After Kardashian agrees, Shapiro asks to speak with OJ privately for a moment. Then he promises to keep Simpson’s answer confidential before asking him if he did the murders. OJ doesn’t hesitate before saying no and adds, “I loved her”.

At the funeral Faye Resnick and Kris Jenner (Nicole’s closest friends) gossip about OJ’s rage and how Nicole was terrified of him. They both think he did it. Even the paparazzi seem suspicious when Simpson brings Shapiro to the funeral. Only a guilty man would need his lawyer at his dead wife’s funeral. But really, no matter what he did or how he conducted himself, Simpson couldn’t win in this situation. OJ goes to the coffin and kisses Nicole, to Shapiro’s chagrin. What should he have done? It appears only his celebrity lawyer has that playbook.

In the next scene Marcia gets the DNA report which matches Simpson’s blood to the crime scene and gloves. Immediately after Shapiro finagles on the phone with the police negotiating Simpson’s imminent arrest. He says he’ll bring OJ in at eleven. But then Simpson is unwilling to even consider going. Shapiro keeps insisting he needs time alone with OJ so he can say anything he needs to say because they’ll always be observed after this. Want me to clear this room? I can clear the room. The comedy of errors starts rolling then as Shapiro tries to hold off the cops with a variety of lame excuses while he has a string of different doctors examine OJ to provide series of back up plans for his defense. Kardashian then goes to reluctant Simpson to get him and OJ holds up a will he’s written longhand and threatens to shoot himself saying it’ll just be easier for everybody this way. Kardashian holds him off but it doesn’t seem like OJ means it. In fact it feels like nothing more than a histrionic diversion and that’s exactly what this threat is, as we’ll see in the climatic scene of the episode.

Meanwhile Marcia Clark snarks on the phone at Robert Shapiro and threatens that he’s harboring a fugitive. As Shapiro continues to struggle off to the side on the phone with her, Al Cowlings (AC, OJ’s friend and fellow footballer) shows up. Kardashian tells AC that Simpson’s got a gun and he should help him out, a vague statement that AC apparently misinterpreted to mean, “do whatever OJ says”. Next thing we know the police are at the door to bring Simpson downtown and we hear the song I Shall Be Released as they all realize that AC took off with OJ in the white bronco onto the Los Angeles highway. The episode ends with Marcia Clark shaking her head in her boss’s office. She says, “We’re all going to look like morons,” and in the end that turns out to be true for certain. But not quite yet, Marcia. Not quite yet.

There are several takeaways from this first episode and it’s interesting how they seem to balance each other, from OJ’s intense rages and narcissism to Kardashian’s gentle kindness, patience, and refusal to see that there’s even a slight possibility his best friend could be guilty of this crime. Another such opposite duo are Shapiro and Clark. She’s a tightly wound little bundle of nerves, smoking so much we can practically smell the nicotine on her while Shapiro is a master of cool. He’s so savvy he can give the worst possible news to a rage-aholic (the cops are coming to take you to prison) with ease and warmth. The man is a master communicator and funny to boot. It seems like every few minutes Shapiro asks OJ if he wants him to “clear the room in case there’s something you want to tell me in confidence”. This is a man accustomed to the role of confidant and dealing with people at their very worst. Another dichotomy is the parallel relationship between Cochran and Darden. Both are merely on the periphery of the case at the beginning but they’re lawyers who deal with racism and criminality every day on the job and agree at the onset of this story that getting justice regardless of race is a thankless task – a road to nowhere. But once working on the trial, these characters will create a fork in that road. This very impasse then becomes like a divining rod for racism in the justice system of this country. The OJ Simpson trial woke us up to how celebrity affects our culture, signified by OJ and his best friend, Robert Kardashian. It was also the first time the American public really watched our justice system on TV and with characters such as Marcia Clark and Robert Shapiro the trial grabbed our attention and didn’t let go. So, each of these three pairings represent the three big themes of the show and pull us in different directions, just like the OJ Simpson trial itself.

–Katherine Recap