American Crime Story is an anthology series on FX, which chronicles different cases in the US. This season dealt with the case of the People vs. OJ Simpson.
In order to fully under one must look at the time the trial was taking place. It was the early 90s, and the Rodney King verdict was still fresh in peoples minds. OJ Simpson was still the “American golden boy”, famous NFL player, a likable movie star, and was very charismatic. So when is ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman was found dead and OJ was the suspect, no one didn’t really believe it at the time. From the white Bronco chase to the trial itself, it played like a soap opera. Of course in the end we all knew the verdict, but this series takes you inside the trial itself.
Let me first talk about Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark. She was fantastic in this series. I was always a fan of hers since Studio 60 and American Horror Story, but in this series she really shines. She portrays Clark as a hard working attorney also dealing with a custody battle and how the media depicted her as a cold ice queen. She brought a lot of depth to the role and made Marcia Clark a much more rounded person than what the trial depicted her as.
Another standout performance is Sterling K. Brown as Chris Darden, Marcia’s co-consul on the case. He portrayed an African-American attorney who is brought on the case and facing criticisms such as being an “Uncle Tom”. He also did a very good job acting along side Courtney B. Vance who played Johnny Cochran, who was a former mentor of Darden. I think he gave such a great performance, and he deserves an Emmy nomination and maybe win for his performance.
The big standout performance was of course Courtney B. Vance as Johnny Cochran. He was explosive in this show, and he really highlighted how Johnny Cochran “lawyering” in the trial, as he tried to put the LAPD on trial.
The other performances were pretty serviceable. John Travolta as Robert Shapiro was little too mugging for the camera. David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian did a good job at playing a person whose best friend’s wife was murdered and had to deal with whether or not he did it. The only performance that wasn’t that great was Cuba Gooding Jr. I think the problem was not really his performance but how it was portrayed. He did a good job in the second episode which had the Bronco chase, but other episodes I couldn’t tell if his portrayal was that if OJ was guilty or innocent.
What I liked about the show is that it took you back in time during the trial and who it affected both sides, seeing how court strategy plays out. The prosecution displaying their evidence against OJ Simpson and the defense trying to discredit it. It also surprising took a look at what the jurors went through being sequestered for 8 months during the trial. I think the show painted a picture of what happened during that time especially how the media was involved, seeing daytime shows pre-empted because of the trial coverage, made everyone involved in the case sort of celebrities. It also showcased a little bit of the personal side of everyone involved in the trial that the media didn’t show which showcased these attorneys as people working on a case.
In the end, I thought the show was amazing and I look forward to what other cases the series looks into. I know next season will be Katrina related, but I hope the show covered other trials.
Season MVP: Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance
Best Episodes: The Run of His Life, Marcia Marcia Marcia and Manna from Heaven