“The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” may be the first and only series out there to make an entire episode around jury selection fascinating. Yet, that is precisely what they did on FX Tuesday night. They dove headfirst into the psychology of building the right jury to either incriminate or free the former football star, with each team getting a little bit of what they want.
Unsurprisingly, racial politics were front and center here, whether it be the decision from both sides to go with largely an African-American jury to also each side having at least one black attorney on board. Johnnie Cochran was ultimately the man decided on to give the opening statement for the trial, with the thinking being that his gravitas and speaking style would play well with the jurors. This in turn put Robert Shapiro through his faces, and this entire ordeal was a tale in humility for the attorney. These scenes featuring OJ’s legal team proved further how there were many hurdles in the defense, and despite bringing so much money to the table, it was incredibly hard to get everyone on the same page when it came to strategy.
Another key component of this was merely figuring out the right way for Marcia Clark to combat all of the obstacles rising against her, whether it be Faye Resnick and her new book painting Nicole Brown Simpson in a controversial light to even criticism about her own personality in the courtroom. She had to combat mass sexism, and Sarah Paulson did an excellent job in this episode channeling much of what must have been Clark’s frustration at the time.
Eventually, the stage was set with a panel of jurors for what would become one of the biggest trials of the decade. For us as a viewer, this is an exciting proposition, and we appreciate how authentic the show is trying to be, even getting Larry King to come on and reenact his old CNN show. While “The People v. OJ Simpson” may not be perfect (some depictions are better than others), this was from start to finish the most consistent episode to date. Grade: A-.
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