Starting the episode with the Kardashian kids was ridiculous. Apparently that fabricated crap is going to continue in every episode. On the one hand, they do show Marcia Clarks’ kids on the series and I realize that there was a lot going on with Robert Kardashian’s divorce and the fact his family was so close to Nicole, but this just seems like pandering to the nth degree to me.
Is it me or is John Travolta becoming “less Liberace” with every episode. With a toned down Shapiro and the short, dark-skinned OJ in lockup, it’s a bit easier for me to get into the series this week. Racial tensions escalate when Time releases a cover of a very dark skinned OJ. This makes no sense when you cast a darker skinned actor in the role of OJ. Especially when colorism is part of the storyline. Literally every time I see Cuba Gooding Jr. I wonder WTF they were thinking with this casting? Thankfully we see him very little this week.
When we do see him, he delivers the infamous line, “I’m not black, I’m OJ.” and is dead set against hiring Johnny Cochran. Shapiro used some football references to try to convince OJ to agree to adding him to the team. Meanwhile, Shapiro reluctantly added F. Lee Bailey to the team, along with Alan Dershowitz and Barry Scheck. Scheck was on the forefront of DNA evidence which was brand new at the time. We’ve come a long way since then. There are a lot of huge egos on the defense team which will result in a lot of jostling for alpha dog. However, Shapiro was always the lead attorney and never came off as insecure as Travolta plays him.
On the prosecution side, Clark pulls in Chris Darden. The District Attorney, Gil Garcetti, focuses on venue and jury selection. This will pan out to be two of their biggest issues with the case. Marcia is focused on witnesses, Darden makes her aware of the Furman issue. Clark struggles to keep witnesses from selling their stories to the media. She scratches those that have from the witness list. Later she is furious that the 911 tapes are being played on every station to the media. All of her evidence is leaking before the trial.
The defense is gleeful that Furman is a racist. It will become the focus of their defense. For now, the defense team is very optimistic. Their entire case will be against the racist police force. The necessitates OJ calling Cochran and getting him on board. This is Cochran’s major issue at the time. We have a manufactured scene that seems included simply to show that Cochran believed in OJ’s innocence. Which is absurd given that the entire team knew he was guilty. Cochran says that he just needs one juror to hang. Does that sound like he believes he is innocent?
So the “dream team” is finalized and the prosecution is coming together. Next week we might get to the courtroom. Maybe.
What did you think of this episode? There weren’t many surprises for me. Were there for you?
A commenter, Chi feels that OJ was in fact dark skinned based on photos she has seen. I thought I would amend this to show OJ’s color transformation after incarceration. It was a matter of some discussion over time that he went from “white OJ to black OJ.” During his incarceration prior to trial, in all of the books on the subject I have read, there was a discussion about how the trial became a trial about the racism in the LAPD. This was in fact why Cochran was hired. They could not win the case off evidence, which the prosecution had plenty of, but they could, and did, get a jury nullification verdict based on the systemic racism within the LAPD at the time using Mark Furham as a prime example. The irony of the situation was that OJ had deliberately distanced himself from the black community. To the point where his attorneys had to take down all the photos in his house that had not a single black person in them, and replace them with black people, a fact that was shown in episode two. It seems apparent to many that OJ was deliberately lightening his skin. Let’s look at some photos.
Here is OJ giving his deposition in 1996
I would consider that light skinned and certainly lighter than Cuba Gooding Junior. But perhaps it is the lighting. So let’s look at another photo
On the left is OJ on trial for double homicide. On the right is OJ years later on trial for the trial that actually sent him to prison.
Here is Cuba as OJ. In my opinion, the Cuba version on the show, is much darker than the OJ Simpson we saw on out TVs watching the trial. While actors can certainly be cast of all colors, OJ’s disavowal of his color and the fact he was light skinned was an ironic part of the trial which ultimately turned out to be not about double homicide, but about the racism that was prevalent in the LAPD. So for me, Cuba was quite miscast. Not just due to his skintone, but that was certainly an issue, but for his height, his effeminate voice he selected for his portrayal and his general lack physical stature that would be believable as a professional athlete.
Hope that clears it up for you.