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The People v. O.J. Simpson – A Jury in Jail

Previously on TPvOJS, ‘Conspiracy Theories’

Images: FX

Images: FX

This episode revealed that O.J. Simpson wasn’t the only one being held captive during the trial. The jurors and alternates were virtual prisoners in sequestration. To avoid the influence of outside sources, the jury was not allowed to watch unsupervised TV, read unapproved magazines/books, talk to fellow guests of the hotel, or even visit each other in their hotel rooms. Even married jurors were only permitted one conjugal visit a week. Judge Ito and the deputies often referenced the jurors merely by their juror ID numbers. There’s irony in the jurors being in a “ virtual jail” while trying to determine if O.J. himself would be a life-long prisoners is further mad apparent.

Opening the episode with the juxtaposition of the discord within the jury on day 124 and the pure optimism/excitement felt on day 1 really set the tone for the entire episode. Things were only going to get progressively worse for the jurors. They endured postponements (a supposedly 2-month trial now on its 8th), isolation, homesickness, paranoia, and even alleged racial prejudice from the deputies. With all of this ‘torment’, however, jurors were surprisingly reluctant to leave once Clark and Cochran began to play musical chairs with the jury.

Through the swarm of dismissals, the show is able to revisit the two main subject matters throughout this trial: race and domestic violence. The first released juror, Mr. Knox, lied about his police record and was very cavalier about kidnapping his ex. You know how women just blow things out of portion when you deny them from leaving a vehicle.

Through Bailey’s tactless argument, it is revealed during the second discharge that even in 1988 a woman could not legally be raped by her husband. Quite revolting. However, I was quite perplexed by Judge Ito proclaiming that if the jury were white, the defense would not want a victim of domestic violence to remain on the jury. Is this in reference to the fact that the black women in the focus groups sided with their race rather than their gender in regards to the O.J. case? Additionally, an unstable juror who is eventually sent home takes a page from Cochran’s book and claims that the deputies treat the black jurors as second-class citizens. It was very compelling that in this serious accusation, there was still bit of humor thrown in with Cochran concurring the claim that black people prefer Ross to Target. Quite right, Johnnie. Even amongst all these changes the jurors band together and protest the exchange of their deputies by wearing all black to court, forcing Judge Ito to postpone the proceedings.

During the trial proceedings, Barry Sheck finally gets a chance to use his forensic expertise to once again undermine the evidence of the prosecution. The show reminds us several times that during the time of the trial, DNA was a foreign concept to the general public. Clark attempts to put the testimony of the state’s DNA expert, Mr. Fung, into laymen’s terms and relate the precision of matching someone to a DNA profile as being much more accurate than fingerprint analysis. Fung also relays that only 1 in 170 million people could have the same DNA profile matching blood recovered from the crime scene in addition to matching to O.J. Sheck, however is still able to debunk these staggering statistics by pointing out that Fung was given the blood sample taken from O.J. on site at Rockingham while he was collecting evidence from the scene. Could Fung or the racist LAPD planted O.J.’s blood? Sheck is also able to debate the fibers matching Simpson’s hair found on Nicole’s body by Fung foolishly using a blanket taken from Nicole’s home to cover her dead body; a blanket that very well could have had her ex’s husband hair on it.

Rob K in court

The jury again appears to resonate more with the defense’s narrative, but Kardashian is not so easily persuaded. With the show previously portraying him as a bit naïve and Simpson’s lackey, I was happy to see Kardashian actually confront O.J. about the blood/DNA evidence. Schwimmer’s performance in the scene where he declares to Kris that Simpson will forever be out of their lives following the trial greatly elevated the character and depicted the lawyer’s true priorities.

Finally, the show ended with the first true cliff hanger of the season with a tip coming in about the infamous tapes of Fuhrman uttering the word “nigger”. Next week is sure to be filled with racial tension and Emmy winning performances.

Judge Ito

Eh, What’s Up Doc?

Here are a few facts from the A&E documentary entitled “The Secret Tapes of the O.J. Case: The Untold Story,” Dateline’s “The People vs. OJ Simpson: What the Jury Never Heard,” and the I.D. documentary entitled “O.J: Trial of the Century” that pertain to this episode:

  • The defense team set up a 800 hot line number so that the public could call in with tips to aid in finding Nicole and Ronald’s true killer. This is the line in which the tip came in about Fuhrman being on tape saying the word nigger.
  • Even O.J. was involved in managing the jury. According to Carl Douglas, Simpson was the most intelligent and engaged client he had ever seen. When Ito had made some mistake on a particular ruling, Simpson instructed the defense team to not attack the judge because he is like a father to the jury. Ito allows them to go on trips, outings, etc. Simpson felt it would not be smart to attack the father of the people who potentially were going to set him free. Furthermore, O.J. would non-verbally communicate with the jury through his reactions to evidence and testimony involving his relationship with Nicole.
  • Robert Kardashian did in fact sever ties with O.J. after the trial. Simpson even called Kardashian when he was on his death bed, but he refused to speak to O.J.
  • According to Kris Jenner, Nicole predicted her own death: “He is going to kill me and he is going to get away with it.”
  • Lon Cryer, a juror, has said the DNA evidence was in fact very boring.
  • Clark feels that the DNA was not the problem, but that the jury just did not want to believe that O.J. was guilty.

The following facts answer some previous questions that I – and I’m sure most viewers – have had concerning past episodes:

  • Carl Douglas actually redecorated the Rockingham estate before the jury visited. He has admitted to swamping out picures of the football star with white women for pictures of him with black people, including his mother. A Norman Rockwell painting was also brought in from Cochran’s own law office. Douglas does not consider this tampering with evidence, but simply making the house presentable like one would when setting the table with a vase of flowers.
  • Faye Resnick made it sound as if Nicole was a willing participant, but O.J. did in fact witness her having sex with another man. On one of his many stalking adventures outside her house, a perverted Simpson saw Nicole being intimate with her then boyfriend Keith Zlomosowith through a window. The next day, O.J. angrily confronted the couple about what he saw and told Zlomosowith that Nicole was still his wife.
  • As insinuated by Resnick, the Simpsons did attempt on multiple occasions to reconcile. In May of 1993, Nicole wrote a letter to O.J. proclaiming, “ There is so much I wanted to say to you. I want to put our family back together. I want to love you and cherish you and make you smile. I want to wake up with you in the mornings and hold you at night. I want us to be the way we used to be.” Six weeks before the murders, the Simpsons went on a family vacation with the Kardashians to Mexico. Following the trip, however, Nicole finally decided to call off the relationship once for all. On the day of her murder, Nicole shunned O.J. at Sydney’s dance recital and told him they were done.
  • Paula Barbieri, Simpson’s girlfriend, did indeed break up with him over his answering machine on the day of the double homicide.
TPvOJS-E8
  • 9/10
    Story - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Dialogue - 9/10
9/10

Summary

A sneak peek into the plight of the jurors was interesting, especially in witnessing that the same racial conflict present in the general public was present in the jury room as well. With the constant dismissal of jury members, I had no idea that the trial was at one point in danger of ending in a mistrial. I am definitely looking forward to how the prosecution is going to handle the train wreck that is Fuhrman next week.

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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?).
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