American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson 1.10: “The Verdict” Episode Review

This week, the final episode of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson starts with a warning that it contains strong language and nudity. I instantly pictured Marcia Clark.

Pleaseohpleaseohplease—I thought to myself—can we please get a booty shot of my chain smoking heroine with the perpetual resting bitch face, cursing in the shower. I know—I’m not well. This obsession with actress Sarah Paulson I’ve had through our recaps needs to be examined.

The finale to the OJ show (titled “The Verdict”) starts with Johnny Cochrane saying, “Today’s the day.” They un-cuff Simpson and suit him up for the trial. The tact on the defense’s side is to keep Simpson from testifying, but allow him a “statement” regarding his right to testify on his own behalf.

Clark flips—as well she should. It’s an obvious ploy by the defense to get information into this newly created info-tainment data stream, media debacle, so the jury, who wasn’t in the courtroom at the time, could receive information that wasn’t obtained under cross-examination of the accused. All I can say is, pretty sneaky, Mr. Cochran—pretty sneaky.

And, of course, Judge Ito allows it. Because, why not? Every other ridiculous mistake has been made in this trial. The best parts of this show, so far, have been the illustrations of the vast amounts of stupid that are perpetrated by our police, lawyers, and judges to this day. 

Simpson, up to this point, has not actually been a key player. If I was Cuba Gooding’s agent (Jerry McGuire?), I’d have been a little pissed that my client—whose character is the focus of the trial—got so little play.

Simpson goes on to say his peace, to which Clark verbally challenges him to take the stand. That’s my girl!

The defense is going over the case, when the news hits that Johnny Cochran is getting death threats. Johnny is at his desk fiddling with closing statements—if the glove don’t fit—MASSIVE light bulb moment.

Clark addresses the jury about Detective Mark Fuhrman being a racist butt-crack, but tries to turn the tide of the ever-growing defense storm surge by asking: if he is a racist, does that mean a killer, swimming in a sea of evidence, should go free? Are the police idiots, or are they running the cunning conspiracy?

She then goes through the evidence, and we are reminded that race, contextual timing, and class do, in fact, tell us how justice is skewed and subjective. We hear about the DNA, a history of OJ’s domestic abuse, and that the case is not about the “N” word, but about the “M” word.

Chris Darden calls Simpson out. “I’m not afraid to point at him and say he did it,” he says. Simpson half rolls his eyes. We hear how Nicole had amassed evidence of the abuse before she died.

I have to say this: I would be more than a little irritated if I was the family of either Nicole Brown or Ron Goldman. The amount of focus on them and what the family went through is negligible in this series, and we tend to forget that people lost loved ones here—in a horrendous, brutal, monstrous manner. These people died, terrified and struggling for their lives, and were dispatched by a murderer that could kill two grown adults, with a knife.

Seriously, think about that.

Think about how one person could kill not one, but two people in a confrontation. The rage. The power of the killer must have been animalistic in its wrath. Imagine the demonic determination the killer must have had to do this.

Yeah, if I were the Browns or the Goldmans, I’d be spitting at the screen for the lack of attention they got in these 10 episodes, but hey, it’s all about *SHOWBIZ!* And, this case made it clear to us that real life, as insane as it is, is far more interesting than re-runs of Happy Days.

Cochran makes his statements—racism, racism, racism, cops are dirty, cops are dirty, Fuhrman, Fuhrman, the LAPD is corrupt. He wants to make a case that the decision isn’t about OJ, it’s about social justice. Then, he lobs some bombs invoking Adolf Hitler and, of course, “If it doesn’t fit…” Yeah. 

The defense and the prosecution break to await a verdict. Cut to the jury. The jury takes a little straw-poll paper ballot amongst themselves, regarding their verdict thoughts.  Not guilty, not guilty, not guilty, not guilty, guilty, guilty. Two hold-outs. Accusing camera shots of white people ensue. One of the holdouts is confronted and asked: did the prosecution, in fact, prove Simpson was, in fact, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

One of the other bizarre things about this case was the fact that they reached a verdict so fast after the closing statements. When Ito is told they have a verdict, he replies with, “You’re shitting me!”

Everyone then loses their noodles about the fast verdict turn around on both sides. But can you blame the jury? They were involved in a torturous case that took them out of their lives for excruciatingly long periods of time.

When we come back from commercial, we have defense attorney Robert Shapiro lashing out at Cochran, who has enlisted the aid of none other than Louis freaking Farrakhan to help guard him, because of the threats on his life. For those not in the know, the honorable Minister Farrakhan has been known to say some seriously caustic things about Jews. Shapiro looks like he’s about to have a double stroke. Shapiro is also finally slapped in the face with the race-card monster he himself created. Los Angeles and the world boil while they wait for the verdict.

The jury enters to announce the verdict. I feel like I am watching Titanic. We all know the ship goes down, but we hope otherwise anyway.

Cut to scenes across America of people in anticipation.

Not guilty.

And, there are the families. Disgusted. In shock. Trembling in anger.

Shots of happy black people. Shots of confused, frustrated white people. The rest of the episode is people dealing with the aftermath.

We get Bob Kardashian realizing he has let a murderer walk, throwing up into a court bathroom sink, and then staring at Clark like a man who lost his soul.

The defense is in complete disbelief. Clark breaks down in shame for “botching an airtight case.”

The last scene between Cochran and Darden is especially poignant with Cochran telling Darden he wants to “bring him back” into the black community. Darden calls out Cochran, saying that he didn’t change a damn thing for black men, unless they are a “famous rich one in Brentwood.”

That said though, this case got the President talking about race and the Justice Department investigating the LAPD, which makes me ask, where was the Justice Department after the Rodney King case?

All I can say is this: this show was done excellently. It kept us riding along, even though we knew so much about the case already. But at the end, the parts that are left with me are all the things this case opened up to America that we still deal with.

We are a country with deep-rooted racial issues. Our current political climate is making that really clear, but I have to ask again, what is our real issue? Race? Class? Apathy? Media manipulation? Corruption?

Bottom line, the last episode leaves us feeling absolutely filthy, until Chris Darden asks Marcia Clark what they are going to do now, and Clark replies, “Is it too early for a drink?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

There goes my girl again!

The biggest disappointment though is close to the end, when we get scenes of OJ decompressing at home, and rather than have my Sarah Paulson fantasy fulfilled, we get Cuba Gooding’s sagging behind in the shower. THERE IS NO JUSTICE!!!

Nudity? HUMBUG I SAY!

As we go to the inevitable “where are they now” credits telling us what has become of each player, we get a little Bill Withers.

“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…”
 

 


Spyridon P. Panousopoulos spends his time whittling sharp sticks out of blunt ones. He has written for Flavorwire.comThe NY Press, and Gen Art in the past. He has 3 cats that all hate him. Follow him @TheRevSpyro.

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