The People v. O.J. Simpson: Conspiracy Theories

"Now, we need to make our own big moments that land with the jury."

Darden plays right into the Dream Team's smug lawyering in the pivotal 'O.J. tries on the gloves in court' moment of the trial. Then tries to stop his lip from quivering with so much perfection when he attempts to apologize to Fred Goldman's answering machine over the debacle. And loads of conspiracy theories get thrown around, too, in, say it with me, 'Conspiracy Theories'.

Aw, man, the lawyers are proud of themselves in this trial. Both sides have had their day in the smug sun. And why not? They're making history. They made history. But if you live for the praise then you die from the blame. The ups and downs are very well laid out in this series. And the whole thing looks a lot more like tennis than chess in this hour. Darden intuited that the defense was often seen as winning because of their flashy dramatic style. He knew that somehow the evidence wasn't enough. Marcia couldn't even fathom that possibility, with her years of expertise in murder trials -- that the evidence alone wasn't a tsunami of guilt. But the gamble Darden made backfired, because of course it would. And for all of the reasons Marcia knew it would -- laying a demonstration literally in the hands of a murder defendant could only have gone one way. She has disclosed recently that she and Darden had their biggest fight, 10 feet from the court reporter after that sidebar about O.J. trying on the gloves. But she also submits that if they lost the case on that, they were never going to win it in the first place.

And anyway, this was a trial where 'Colombian necktie' was actually allowed into the questioning of a witness -- facts, reality, probability be damned. On that note, kudos to that shot glass reenactment of the discovery of the crime scene. Holy god. Was that not the best, most lively way to communicate to the audience the unapproachable mountain of deceit it would have required for the LAPD to frame O.J.? We've heard Clark refer to the overwhelming evidence several times and we all, in our recollection, know that to be the case, but it was refreshing to hear it so well-defined in those moments in the bar. Darden's friend, Byron, delivered his shrug, no less committed to the framing theory, so perfectly, too, after Marcia presented what honestly defied the laws of physics. That moment was an omen of what was to come. A heartbreaking one. The more this series shakes out, the more I come to the conclusion that the prosecution maybe never had a chance.

So when we get to the final scenes leading up to the glove demonstration, it's not a surprise, that even a credit card receipt that was proof the gloves were 'most likely' the same ones bought by Nicole for O.J., that the jury was going to overlook what was right in front of them in favor of the larger trial outside the courtroom. Maybe Dershowitz's advice to the future of U.S. law wasn't so smug after all -- Look what the culture is becoming. The media, people... They want narrative, too. But they want it to be entertainment. And what's out in the world osmoses back into that courtroom, sequester be damned. If there's gonna be a media circus, you better well be the ringmaster.

Closing Statement

* Marcia Clark could drink any human under the table. It was a skill that won her the respect of male colleagues, at times.

* "We've been dealt a King and a ten, I don't know why you're asking the dealer for another card?"

* Love this shot. The feng shui!

* David Schwimmer was outrageously great here:

* As well as here:

* Sterling K. Brown was outrageously great here:


Johnnie: "The truth will find us."

Carl Douglas: "Johnnie, Barbara is on A Current Affair." (Has there ever been a more 90s piece of dialogue on TV than this?)

Marcia: "The gloves are our conviction."

Shapiro: "Please, please no more talking. This is starting to be a conflict of interest..."

Bryon: "Yo, she's a trip."


Josie Kafka said...

Excellent review, Heather!

The way this show--which I still officially dislike although I look forward to watching it each week and am fascinated by it--plays with the viewer's knowledge is really fascinating. It's one big ball of dramatic irony.

Poor Darden. Poor Ross Kardashian.

ChrisB said...

This was an episode that was tough to watch because we all knew what was coming. But, there was so many character moments, it was hard to keep up. Shapiro needing to be loved by the DAs office, in spite of what he is in the middle of. Dershowitz showing off in front of his students. Cochran's obsession about who had leaked the story about his former wife. Darden's call to the Goldman's house. Each of these moments was stunning in what it showed us about the people involved.

Yet, I agree that Clark laying out the absurdity of the conspiracy defense with this shot glasses was three minutes of genius. Anyone watching could not help but agree with her.

As always, fantastic review, Heather.