The penultimate episode of the series (I really hate to see this go), is entitled Manna From Heaven specifically it seems to draw attention to Johnny Cochran’s use of Christianity as a tool manipulate the public. If Johnny Cochran were a housewife, his tagline would be, “Only God can judge me, and he is really impressed!” Cochran practically pioneered the concept of spiritual opportunism. And referring to a racist recording as “manna from heaven,” while holding court with various church leaders to sway public opinion exemplifies his misuse of religion for personal gain. In this case, to free a man who violently killed two people in a gruesome fashion.
This week we covered the last weeks of the trial when for a moment it looked like everything the attorneys, the defendant, the victims families and the jury had been through for nearly a year would all be for nothing because Judge Ito’s wife lied about a relationship she had with Mark Fuhrman. The possibility of a mistrial loomed. I will never understand why the prosecution didn’t fight for the mistrial. On the other hand, it is generally the defense who is asking for a mistrial. For the prosecution to do it, they would be admitting they just wasted millions of tax payers dollars and were not confident in their case.
Hardly, manna from heaven, the tapes were so vile that not a single person could listen to them without feeling sick to their stomach and outraged. Cochran, who took the case that appeared to be unwinnable specifically to further his own personal agenda of exposing the racist and barbaric acts of the LAPD, got his personal victory. If nothing else, there would be no more ambiguity about the depths of the police corruption. But even Cochran it seems could barely tolerate listening to the proof he had been seeking for so long.
Darden was also infuriated by the tapes, not only because they tanked his case, but because of the sheer nature of the evidence. If anything is more horrific than the murder of two innocent people, it was the Fuhrman tapes. Both Darden and Cochran knew what they were dealing with from the onset when it came to Furhman. And when the tapes smacked Clark across the head with the reality of the nature of the LAPD, she realized she really screwed up not listening to Darden in the first place. In a moment of anger Darden delivered the most biting quote of the episode to his closest ally, “You hired me because you wanted a black face at the table. You did not want a black voice.” Ouch.
Racial issues were not the only societal ills going on at this time. It may have gone unnoticed to some that when Judge Ito discussed the plight of working women in the nineties and all of the grief they take from male authority figures, he seemed completely oblivious to his frequent dismissals of Marcia Clark. In Clark’s book she speaks at length about her feeling that Judge Ito was discriminatory toward her because she was female. If you notice on the episode, the camera goes directly to Clark’s face while Judge Ito is extolling the virtues of women in the workplace.
For the most part this episode was fairly accurate. Some scenes, like Darden’s outburst appeared at an earlier point. That is pretty much how it all went down.
Next week, I can’t wait to see how the producers choose to cover the verdict. I am really impressed by the way this long and difficult case has been whittled down to a mere ten hours, and the accuracy they were able to maintain in the retelling. Sure there were a few liberties taken along the way. But as Darden said about the defense’s tactics this week, “People love a good story.”