The People v. O.J. Simpson is a look at the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, for which O.J. Simpson was found not guilty.
For those of us who lived through every second of it, it brings back a lot of memories -- the Bronco chase, Mark Fuhrman, the verdict, and everything else in between.
If you are too young to remember, the O.J. trial took over the airwaves for months. It also dominated news and talk shows.
This is the story of the case, but also some behind the scenes drama. I'm assuming some of that is at least partially true.
David Schwimmer plays Robert Kardashian. Kardashian was on O.J.'s dream team for support -- thanks to the prominence of his family today, I imagine he'll be front and center. His ex-wife and children are, and I don't remember them being mentioned originally.
Kardashian finally decided O.J. was guilty and stopped speaking to him, even refusing to talk to O.J. when he was on his deathbed.
Courtney Vance sounds just like Johnnie Cochran, a brilliant attorney who was responsible for getting O.J. found "not guilty" by distracting the jury and changing the trial to one about racism. Of course, that opportunity was handed to him by Mark Fuhrman. Before Fuhrman testified, Cochran approached Chris Darden and said, "Chris, don't put that white boy on the stand." They did, and there went their case.
Don't ask me what John Travolta is doing. Normally he's an excellent actor. Sarah Paulson does a terrific job as Marcia Clark. Kenneth Choi is so much like Judge Ito it's scary. The casting is astonishing. You feel as if you are watching the actual people.
Bruce Greenwood is Gil Garcetti. When we were watching all this take place 20 years ago, this was a perfect role for Clint Eastwood.
There is one part where the casting seemed wrong - Cuba Gooding as O.J. He is a good actor, but unlike the rest of the cast, he does not really embody the character. O.J. is handsome and charismatic, not to mention a bigger man in stature.
Billy Magnusson is good as Kato. Kato got 15 minutes of fame out of the trial and milked it.
Some of what takes place in the film isn't quite correct, as I recall it anyway. No one called O.J. and said, "your wife Nicole has been killed." I remember that as being a big part of my belief that he was guilty. He was called and told, "Your ex-wife has been killed." Well, he had two, but somehow, he knew it was Nicole right away. As far as him asking how she was killed, he probably didn't.
In the beginning, the prosecution seemed to have O.J. dead to rights, with his blood on the sidewalk and the gloves showing a mix of his and the victims' DNA. But they were undergunned. And frankly, the charisma of Johnnie Cochran was overpowering. I think a lot of the jury was mesmerized by him. Chris Darden, on the other side, went to his funeral. A powerful adversary you couldn't help but admire.
Barry Schenk's complete ruination of Dennis Fong is considered one of the great all-time cross-examinations - here it was truncated but still powerful.This was the beginning of Schenk's Innocence Project, which has, through DNA evidence, been able to get twenty innocent people released from prison. Unfortunately it couldn't get O.J. in prison. Too new back then, I guess. But the verdict went beyond the DNA, if what went on in the jury room is to be believed. Four hours of deliberation? And why did the people who believed him guilty cave so quickly? It seems like everyone wanted to go home.
In the end, this trial was a big waste. Johnnie Cochran put the LAPD on trial, and as Chris Darden tells him, "They're still going to beat us, arrest us, harass us." History has proved him correct. There were people on the jury who had no intention of voting for O.J.'s guilt.
So other than reality shows for Faye Resnick, Kato, and Kris Jenner, a huge book deal for Marcia Clark, franchised offices for Robert Shapiro, private practice for Chris Darden (once he recovered from a near-nervous breakdown), a brain tumor for Johnnie Cochran, and more golf games for O.J., what was accomplished for Nicole and Ron Goldman?
The last half hour or so of the final episode has some of the most stunning moments on television, particularly the very end. Very emotional and thought-provoking.
I was surprised to read that some younger people had no idea O.J. played football. I don't know why I should be surprised. There are people on this site who think Gandhi was a fictional character.
Whether or not you're familiar with the case, the series will prove fascinating.