‘The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’ Premiere Review: Incredible Storytelling Of An Infamous Murder
The one-hour series premiere of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story presented the story from its early beginnings. O.J. “The Juice” Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) begins his story before any of the chaos occurrs, when he was just a normal celebrity.
It feels like a set up similar to a crime show like Law & Order except in that it is the portrayal of a real-life event. The series itself is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book, The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson. Simpson was supposedly on his way to Chicago when the murdered bodies of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman were found. The directors do a great job in portraying this episode – they execute the scenes precisely but mysteriously. They make the viewers wonder what piece of the puzzle comes next. Although many may be familiar with O.J.’s story, they may not know about the events that took place behind the scenes.
District Attorney Marcia Clark, played by American Horror Story’s Sarah Paulson, is one of the best characters so far. Strong-willed and confident she is ready to start this case. Simpson’s past abuse incidents had few consequences for him due to his celebrity. Assistant district attorney Bill Hodgman (Christian Clemenson) reveals that O.J. had prior reports that he had beaten up Nicole. “He never even did his community service,” he says. “He just got out, celebrity style.”
When Clark looks back at O.J.’s past issues with the law she discovers there are many. “He got away with beating her, he is not going to get away with killing her,” Clark says.
In this episode, we see the huge impact of the media on the O.J.’s story. Reporters stake out O.J.’s home as he arrives. This is the first time we see O.J’s good friend and lawyer, Rob Kardashian (David Schwimmer). As the cops take O.J. to his backyard, a more private area, a man from the press sneaks around through the bushes and gets video footage of the cops handcuffing him. Although they were taken off seconds later, this is just enough for the reporter to realize that O.J. is a suspect.
Behind the scenes, we see O.J.’s anger and frustration. We see him take mysterious pills constantly.
The funeral of O.J.’s ex-wife is where they chose to introduce Kardashian’s ex-wife Kris (Selma Blair), along with her children, Khloe and Kourtney.
As the investigation continues, clues pile up against O.J. – unsteady interrogations, failure of lie detector test, blood and a pair of gloves were found in each location (his ex-wife’s home and his own). When the blood is confirmed as O.J.’s, they finally have a warrant to arrest him. But the warrant is too good to be true. O.J’s lawyer, Robert Shapiro (John Travolta) convinces the LAPD to give O.J. more time to get ready. Doctors and therapists surround him to observe. This extra time allows O.J. to almost act on his suicidal thoughts.
Toward the end of the episode, reporter Dennis Schatzman (Leonard Roberts) discusses on the radio how he is “disgusted with how O.J. has been treated by the LAPD. He has not been charged with a crime and yet they handcuffed him.” He notes the “black white double standard” which brings a completely different element to this story: race.
As the prosecutors wait for O.J. to be turned in, cops are sent to the address where they are hiding out. When Kardashian goes to get O.J. in his room, he has already escaped and taken the car right before their own eyes.
The People V. O.J. Simpson has shown incredible storytelling already in one episode. Tune in for next week’s episode on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.