It turns out that things can grow out of toxic soil. The events of 'The Dream Team', part jaw-dropping and part horrific, show the architecture of a stunning defense. And it's bloody genius.
I don't think it was just the LAPD's racist history that poisoned the proverbial soil. There was a metric ton of self-interest in that conference room of smug smartypants lawyers. This was not your average biologically-appropriate vanity, either! But according the The People v. O.J. Simpson (as well as Toobin's book, which I picked up this week), Shapiro pulled the trigger when he sat down with Toobin and laid out the angle from which he and his stable were going to come at the prosecution. (Interestingly, other very famous lawyers declined to join the team, stating that they did not want to participate in something that could have complex and devastating consequences on our society.) Shapiro is the textbook opportunist. But as soon as that New Yorker article came out, his whole team was harmonizing on the melody. Is this a good time to mention how much I love seeing this constellation of actors assert their character's charismatic personality 7 ways to Sunday?
But Johnnie Cochran is different. By all accounts, in The People v. O.J. Simpson, he's portrayed as a prince among thieves. He back-burnered his ego, knowing that his race won him a seat on the bench above all else, in order to take this shite situation and remain authentic and genuine, committed to what he believed to be a greater good. Each moment we've seen of him so far has illuminated a nuance that somehow makes him even more endearing. This is a wonderful marriage between writing and actor -- maybe the best one of the lot. Vance makes Cochran tender and real and uncertain in all of the best ways. But really, what else could we glean from someone who pipes in Roberta Flack through the home sound system?
Over in the DA's office, even though Clark enjoys a brief moment of fame of her own (and Darden, too, to some extent, when praised by Clark), the process by which their team realizes how f'ed up things have increasingly become is a frustrating and somewhat painful one to witness. The glare of the fluorescent light and paper plate breakfasts go a long way to dramatize how out of their league the prosecution was, outmatched in so many ways by Shapiro, et al., not least of all, financially. I can't wait for this to take a turn for the gender inequalities we all know are on the horizon. I suspect that as sophisticated as the writing has handled the other heavy social ills, this will be as intelligently presented. Paulson's Clark has like five settings, all perfected, and some of them happen in the space of ten seconds. (I hope to god that somewhere Clark feels a sliver of solace that an actress with an off-the-charts EQ is playing her.) While Clark, by this point in the proceedings, is starting to wise up to the degree in which they do not have a handle on this (even the way she holds her cigarette from the third act onward screams her misgivings), her colleagues still seem quasi-shellshocked at the hugeness of both what's happening around, and before them. But none of them got the drop on Mark Fuhrman like Shapiro's investigator did. And to see Darden beam with pride that he had personally sidelined the New Yorker reporter asking for Fuhrman's file leaves a weird taste behind. He didn't think anything of it.
* Hard to believe the show isn't making up the details surrounding Mark Fuhrman's history with the LAPD. It's almost too much to conceive that things would have gone very differently if he hadn't been the first one at O.J.'s Brentwood house.
* Uh, but that Time magazine cover unwittingly ignited race issues a month before Fuhrman's past surfaced and Shapiro talked to Toobin. So. Yeah.
* Did anyone see the article in EW where Sarah Paulson said, "I love a shoulder pad." Bless.
* Of course Rob Kardashian's shirt matches the landscaping at his children's home.
* Cash-for-trash is describing a highly specified circuitry that happened so frequently in our world that we needed a name for it.
Hostess: "You can have whatever table you want."
Bailey: "Yeah, I caught that on the news."
Clark: "I'm kidding. It's the truth but I'm kidding." It takes a special person to toss out a line like that.
Dershowitz: "Right now, he's sort of like this handsome, gifted Greek god laid low."
Scheck: "Make every single piece of evidence either thrown out, untrustworthy or confusing."
Shapiro: "Now... you're New York Magazine or New Yorker?" Hilarious.
Clark: "Come on, guys. We have all the aces. Let's hold the high ground."
O.J.: "Well I'm not black, I'm O.J.!"
Kato: "Fame's complicated."
Clark: "This move may be sleazy and cynical, but it could work."
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