Previously on TPvOJS, ‘From the Ashes of Tragedy’
Aided by his faithful friend AC, a suicidal O.J. Simpson fails to turn himself into police custody on Friday June 17, 1994 and hits the highway in the iconic white Bronco. Gil Garcetti gives a press conference proclaiming O.J. as a fugitive on the run and urges the public for any information on his whereabouts. In response, Robert Shapiro pleads with O.J. to turn himself in. Additionally, Robert Kardashian reads O.J.’s suicide note to the public in which O.J. declares himself innocent of Nicole Simpson’s murder.
Hours later, a young couple witnesses AC driving the Bronco with O.J. in the backseat and calls the authorities. Weapons drawn, the police corner the vehicle. AC implores the police to back off, fearing that O.J. will discharge the gun he has pointed to his head. Surprisingly, the police allow AC to take off and begin to clear the road of all other traffic.
With twelve police cars and seven helicopters trailing O.J., the highway pursuit becomes a media frenzy. All TV networks, even those covering the NBA finals, interrupt their regular programming and broadcast the live footage of the car chase. Fans show their support by shouting O.J. from the side of the road and displaying “Go Juice” signs from the highway overpasses. Distraught, O.J. calls Kardashian and announces he wishes to kill himself at his home after seeing his mother one last time. Detective Tom Lange calls O.J. on the car phone to convince him to toss his gun out the window. Refusing this request, O.J. asserts to Lange that he has to be with Nicole and he deserves to get hurt. (Doesn’t sound like the proclamations of an innocent man right?)
AC and O.J. finally arrive at O.J.’s neighborhood that is swarming with fanatic and curious supporters. Through negotiations with the police and Kardashian, O.J. finally decides to leave the car around 9 PM and allows himself to be arrested inside his home, free from the watchful eyes of the media.
Johnnie Cochran Puts His Hat into the Ring
After watching Shapiro absolve himself of all blame for O.J’s disappearance, Johnnie Cochran imparts to his fellow law firm associates that a lawyer always advocates for his/her client. During a TV interview, Cochran demonstrates this very sentiment. Johnnie implores for the public’s sympathy towards O.J. and describes the former football player as being fragile, confused, and innocent until proven guilty. He states that whenever he sees a black man getting chased by armed officers, his defenses go up. Cochran relays to the audience the story of his first racially charged case involving Leonard Deadwyler. Thirty years prior to the O.J. case, Mr. Deadwyler was shot dead by the police for speeding as he was attempting to transport his pregnant and in labor wife to the hospital. Cochran states that the LAPD clearly has a history of shooting first and apologizing later. Much like O.J., Cochran says, Deadwyler’s only crime was the color of his skin. Here, Johnnie Cochran is clearly auditioning to join what will later be known as “The Dream Team.”
Did that really happen?
This episode really depicts Rob Kardashian as a very emotional man. I love a sensitive guy, but the depiction that David Schwimmer is portraying seems to be out of character for the real life lawyer. From the footage that I have seen, Rob Kardashian appeared to be a very composed, caring, and confident man. Schwimmer practically has tears in his eyes this entire episode and even breaks down in his car after leaving the press conference. Of course we expect him to be emotional while thinking O.J. could kill himself, but Schwimmer’s depiction of Kardashian comes off more as unhinged than depressed.
Additionally, the show portrays Kardashian as being an imperative part to O.J.’s surrender. Just before O.J. is about to pull the trigger with the gun in his mouth, Rob Kardashian calls the car phone and talks O.J. into being arrested inside his house. O.J. steps out of the car and repeatedly apologizes to the police (Again, did this really happen?). A trigger happy LAPD officer mistakes the square, framed pictures that O.J is holding for a gun; Kardashian miraculously steps in as O.J’s savior and exclaims that O.J. is merely holding photographs of his children. I have the feeling this is one of those moments where the show took dramatic license.
Finally, O.J. enters his house and requests to call his mother and for some orange juice. This seems a little too on the nose and cheeky, but I will allow it.
Eh, What’s up Doc?
Here are a few facts from the Investigation Discovery documentary entitled OJ: Trial of the Century that pertain to this episode:
- Time line of the chase:
- 11:00 am- O.J. does not turn himself in to the police. The deadline is extended to forty-five minutes later.
- 12:00 pm-The press conference is delayed.
- 3:00 pm- Gil Garcetti speaks out and declares O.J. a fugitive.
- 5:00 pm- Robert Shapiro and Rob Kardashian give their own press conference.
- 7:00 pm- The white Bronco is spotted on the highway.
- 7:30 pm- Detective Lange talks with O.J. on the Bronco car phone.
- 8:15 pm- A.C. and O.J. arrive at O.J.’s house.
- 8:47 pm- O.J. finally gives himself over to police custody.
- When reading O.J.’s suicide note, Rob Kardashian does not mention the lines “At times I felt like a battered husband. Thank you for making my life special. I hope I helped yours.” I am not sure if this was left out of the documentary or added to the show script.
- The documentary never shows police approaching the Bronco with guns drawn. However, this particular scene in the show could have happened before news choppers were on the scene.
- The conversation O.J. has with Detective Lange was quite different from the show: O.J.: “I will give you me. I’ll give you my whole body.” Lange requests he just throw out the gun, but O.J. refuses. O.J.: “All I did was love Nicole. All I did was love her.” (Don’t all abusers love their wives/girlfriends that thye beat and kill?) “I love everybody and I tried to show everybody my whole life…that I love everybody.” Lange: “We know that, and everybody loves you.”
Well That’s News to Me
- The white Bronco during the police chase was actually A.C.’s. O.J.’s Bronco was still in police custody as evidence.
- Robert Shapiro negotiated the surrender of Erik Mendez, who along with his brother was convicted of killing his parents, from Israel in 1993.
- O.J. did not engage in philanthropy for the black community.
- L.A. District Attorney Gil Garcetti had plans to run for mayor.
I Have Questions
- Is A.C. going to face jail time for assisting in O.J. resisting arrest?
- Would the police have taken more aggressive action with O.J. and A.C. if the chase was not broadcasting on every TV channel?
- Do O.J.’s supporters change their tune once the damning evidence is presented at trial?
- Was O.J. really suicidal or did he just make a big scene to get sympathy from the public?
- What is going to coerce Christopher Darden to join the prosecution team?
TPvOJS - Episode 2
This episode was quite compelling in displaying the stark contrast between the special treatment O.J. receives from the LAPD and how ordinary black residents are handled. One cop even admits he will not shoot at O.J. Simpson unless someone authorizes it. Additionally, the police avoid blowing the Bronco’s tires out due to the live media coverage of the car chase. We also get insight into the initial theory from the black community that O.J. had been framed for the murders by the corrupt LAPD. Utilizing this sentiment to his advantage, Johnnie Cochran begins to plant the seeds for a racial discrimination defense. I am quite excited to see how this claim will factor into both sides’ jury selection.