News Ticker

The People vs. O.J. Simpson – From the Ashes of Tragedy

Images: FX Networks

Images: FX Networks

On the early morning of June 13, 1994, the stabbed bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife to Orenthal James Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, a waiter/actor, were discovered outside Nicole’s LA home. In an attempt to notify him of his ex-wife’s murder, LAPD detectives go to O.J. Simpson’s home. While on the property, detectives interview Kato Kaelin, a friend staying in the guesthouse, on O.J.’s whereabouts and then unintentionally discover evidence on the property seemingly linking Simpson to the double homicide.

O.J. returns from a promotional event in Chicago and is questioned by the police. When O.J. begins to ascertain that he is a viable suspect for the murders, O.J. takes the advice of his friend Robert Kardashian and obtains the new legal representation of Robert Shapiro.

Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Bill Hodgman interview potential witnesses and determine that O.J. could have had time to commit the killings before leaving on his 11:45pm flight to Chicago. Coupled with the witness testimony and the DNA/blood evidence found at the crime scene, police charge O.J. Simpson with double homicide. Shapiro arranges for O.J. to turn himself in on June 17 into police custody, but Simpson flees with his friend Al Cowlings (AC) in his now infamous white Bronco.

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Episodic Images 4

The Details

The Race Card

The show does a nice job in setting the scene for O.J.’s defense team to claim misconduct and racial bias against the unsavory LAPD: the opening scene is of Rodney King being beaten by police 2 years before the murders and the subsequent L.A. riots after the police are found not guilty.

From a radio broadcast we learn about Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner, who just a month earlier had guns drawn on him after the police misidentified him as a hit-and-run suspect – just like tennis player James Blake in 2015.

Johnnie Cochran scolds Christopher Darden, ADA of the Special Investigations Division, for not bringing charges against seven police officers who shot Sonji Danese Taylor, a mentally-ill black woman wielding a knife. Again, is this 1994 or 2015?

O.J.’s Alibi & The Crime Timeline

O.J.’s alibi is muddled to say the least. He claims he last saw Nicole after their daughter’s dancing recital around 6:30pm. However, he cannot recall whether he went home around 7, 8, or 9 PM! O.J. further claims he went out for burgers with Kato that evening. I get the sense, though, that this is a lie when he hounds Kato to confirm that he corroborated the story to the police. O.J. is even shadier when he can’t recall if he cut his left hand on a glass in Chicago or if he hurt it playing golf in LA.

Based off the evidence and witness statements, prosecutors Gil Garcetti, Marcia Clark, and Bill Hodgman develop a timeline for the crime:

  • Just before 10pm, Ron Goldman leaves work to return a pair of glasses to Nicole.
  • 10pm-11pm, the murders occur.
    • 10:15pm- Neighbors hear Nicole’s dog barking
    • 10:45pm- O.J. is witnessed by Jill Shively running a red light and driving erratically up Bundy Drive (where Nicole lives).
    • 10:40pm- O.J.’s limo driver arrives at his house to pick him up for his flight to Chicago, but no comes to the gate. Interestingly, he sees a man just before 11pm enter around the back of the house. The tardy O.J. tells his driver he overslept and had to take a shower (Murder is a messy ordeal, after all.) After leaving with O.J., the driver notices O.J.’s white Bronco parked on the street and is certain it was not there when he had first arrived.

It’s not looking good, O.J.

Detectives Tom Lange, Phillip Vannater, and Mark Furnham, are the leads on the case and observe a glove, hat, envelope, and bloody shoeprint near the bodies.

A blood trail to the left of the footprints leading away from the scene indicates the killer was bleeding from their left hand. Doesn’t O.J. have a fresh cut on his left hand?

A bloody glove matching the one at the crime scene is found at O.J.’s residence near the guesthouse. The blood and DNA is a match for OJ.

O.J.’s Bronco has blood on the car as well as inside the vehicle. There is also a blood trail leading to O.J.’s door.

Shapiro and Kardashian have O.J. take a polygraph for their own purposes and O.J. fails horribly.

O.J. was convicted of domestic abuse against Nicole in 1989.

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Episodic Images 2

The Juice is Loose

After the blood and DNA at the crime scene matches O.J., the cops set up with Shapiro for O.J. to turn himself in at 11:00am on June 17.

The police charge him with double homicide under special circumstances: No bail. He will stay in jail until a verdict is reached.

Shapiro has O.J. inspected by a shrink for a backup diminished capacity defense.

Suicidal O.J. writes a will, a letter to his fans, a letter to his mom, and a letter to his kids for Rob K. to have. O.J. then flips out and puts a gun to his head. (Maybe he is insane.)

AC (I didn’t even recognize the actor playing him is Malcolm Jamal Warner A.K.A. Theo from The Cosby Show until this moment) and O.J. escape from the Kardashian house before the police have a chance to bring O.J. in.

Eh, What’s up Doc?

Here are a few facts from the Investigation Discovery documentary  OJ: Trial of the Century that pertain to this episode:

  • In addition to never serving community service for assaulting Nicole, O.J. was only fined a measly $700.
  • Nicole’s body was spotted by the neighbor 10 minutes after midnight on June 13.
  • June 15: Ron Goldman’s dad, Fred Goldman, makes the following statement. “Ron was a good human being both on the outside and the inside.” Fred wished for things to not turn into a circus anymore than they already had. Clearly he did not get his wish.
  • June 16: People begin leaving flowers on Nicole Brown Simpson’s gate. One friend left a poster with the following message: “Nicole – The white light. The world’s best mom! You gave your children so much love. It will carry them through 100 lives. You will be missed. Our hearts are one forever. I love you.”
  • Friends describe the Simpson marriage as a whirlwind of loving bliss and emotional battery.

Well, That’s News to Me (I was 5 in June, 1994)

  • O.J. was dating a woman named Paula Barbieri at the time of the murders.
  • Nicole’s house was completely undisturbed on the night of the murders.
  • O.J. had an ostentatious statue of himself in his yard. Talk about ego.
  • Christopher Darden. Never heard this guy’s name until the show.
  • Rob Kardashian was not a criminal defense attorney.
  • Marcia Clark was getting a divorce during the time of the murder.
  • There was DNA and blood evidence that linked O.J. to the crime.
  • O.J. was not driving the Bronco during the highway chase.

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Episodic Images 3

I Have Questions?

  • What was that loud noise Kato heard outside the guesthouse? O.J. knocking into the AC as he was rushing to get ready for his flight?
  • Was the murder planned? O.J. knew he had a plane to catch at 11:45 pm, so why would he plan a murder of his ex-wife at 10pm? Or was it a crime of passion when O.J. saw Ron with Nicole? But if it wasn’t planned, then where did the knife come from? Who just carries a knife around with them unless you plan to use it?
  • Would O.J. have been able to kill both Nicole and Ron by himself or did he have help?
  • Do you think Shapiro believes O.J. when he says he is innocent. The show is depicting Shapiro as being doubtful.
TPvOJS - Episode 1
  • 10/10
    Story - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Dialogue - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10
9.3/10

Summary

This series is off to a compelling start and seems to be staying pretty true to the actual events. I greatly appreciate the show not shying away from the racial tension between the black community and the LAPD. Additionally, the show is shedding light on major issues that are still affecting American society today: lack of concern or punishment for domestic violence, racism, police brutality, and favoritism towards the wealthy. One missing element that I am yearning for is to learn more about the victims, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman; however, the show is about the murder trial so I will not get my hopes up.

Sending
User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Jada Selma (22 Articles)
Jada is a graduate student living in Atlanta, GA , who utilizes TV and podcasts to break away from her taxing life behind the lab bench. She is an admitted daydreamer and Investigation Discovery aficionado. Her fandom aspirations include co-hosting a podcast and meeting Idris Elba (at least one is bound to happen right?).
Contact: Facebook

Leave a comment