The People v. O.J. Simpson: 100% Not Guilty

"The parries, the jabs, the turns of phrase -- that's where a case is won."

I am absolutely 100% in love with this show.

Everybody dance now. Sometimes I think this show has its magnifying glass on the 90s just to say: bad times. (C&C Music factory not at all withstanding!) This trial certainly represented the coalesce of the worst of a decade (if not several) that gave way to even more vitriolic celebrity worship, news cycles vying only for viewers and clickbait, in the ensuing years. I think the one of the reasons the show has a strong viewership, lively discourse and critical acclaim is because it's deeply interesting and enlightening to look back on an event with the benefit of space and time. Especially one that none of us had this particularly full picture of the events and circumstances. Most people I've talked to, even if they hated the whole thing or were barely old enough to understand it, still feel it pervaded their consciousness. All of ours. I'm sensing that there's real value in re-examining something so powerful, with so many more details to contemplate and marvel over.

And of course at the center of this review are the lawyers. Make no mistake that it's the battle between the prosecution and defense that warrants a slo-mo walk through the courtroom to Above the Law's 'Black Superman'! (A stroke of genius on the part of music sup P.J. Bloom and his team.) They are the fucking OGs of this story. Regularly shot from below more times than I can count in '100% Not Guilty', the lawyers move the narrative like crazy. Robert Shapiro has enough sense in his head to immediately issue his "mea culpa" after he makes a comment marginalizing African-Americans. Later when watching Larry King, he sees very clearly what Bailey is doing to indirectly tear down public confidence in him. He's a narcissistic chump but he's keenly aware of the temperature of any room he walks into and there's something surprisingly unsettling about seeing him dethroned.

Meanwhile, I'm fairly sure Cochran could give a pep talk to someone on their death bed and change the course of their life. His baller move to get his shoes shined so he could hold his own press conference was nothing short of a majestic coup d'etat. But his brightest moment here was in chambers spitting truth about why and how race would be a part of this trial, judo defense be damned. He succinctly left an entire of room of people, who talk their way out of things for a living, speechless.

Marcia had the cool light of reality when she realized how she's perceived by the public, but she doesn't ever wallow in self-pity or its cousin, self-doubt -- just a little well-timed tequila. She rightly predicts the majority of the Dream Team imploding in on itself then efficiently moves on to truly trying to understand her biggest obstacle -- Cochran. Darden gets the offer of a lifetime (depending on how you define offer and lifetime, I suppose) and roots himself into a seat on the DA bench. They are all like self-aware monarchy on a chess board, poised and strategic and very, very smart. And a real pleasure to watch, in my humble opinion. Every last one of them.

Add in the "non-exploitative" exploitative scene with Faye Resnick, her sleazy publishers (that wood paneling on the walls!!) and the Larry King interview and there is just enough tacky to hold together the high intellect of this show. (Not sure what Connie Britton's Resnick is on but it's definitely in the benzodiazepine family! Trés Valley of the Dolls.) And where you'd expect to see Marcia roll her eyes to herself while she was at home working and the Resnick / Larry King interview was on in the background, well, she didn't, at all. She took it all in, and no doubt was looking for the best way to place this piece of the puzzle... 'cuz she's a hustler, baby.

Closing Statement


* Ito was obsessed with time. There was a clock in every room in his home and office. He started every day of the trial at exactly 9 a.m. and, as you may have seen here, was obsessed with hourglasses. I can't wait to figure out some possible analysis of this as the show progresses.

* One reason I love Sarah Paulson's Clark so much is that her face reflects my own inner monologue about the scene. Case in point is the last 60 seconds of the episode -- her raised eyebrow and smirk. Kill me now, I almost fell off of my couch in a fit of joy.


Shapiro: "If Marcia Clark wants to go to the bathroom... we object. If they say the sky is blue? Hearsay."

Cochran: "But you, you, you willed what you needed to do into being with nothing but grace."

Ito: "This trial needs to be pure truth school."

Hodgman: "Marcia, we can't even execute Charlie Manson."

Hodgman: "Judge, seriously, they can't go five minutes without holding a press conference!"

Clark: "Bill, we cannot be so hung up on skin color. This is a reasonable panel. They're smart people who gave good answers. My gut says... trust them."


Mallena said...

Marcia Clark and associates misjudged their jury selection so badly. They didn't have a clue about what was to come. The best part was when the dream team saw Chris Darden on the prosecution's side and the way Marcia smirked at them. It did make me laugh.

ChrisB said...

I'm sensing that there's real value in re-examining something so powerful, with so many more details to contemplate and marvel over. Excellent point! As I watched this episode, I was struck at how unaware I had been at the time of everything that was going on behind the scenes. I was fascinated by the trial and followed it closely, but I had no idea of the power struggles in the Dream Team boardroom or how aware Clark was of the struggles she was up against.

I am 100% in love with this show as well as your reviews.