Watched the taped finale of, “The People v O.J. Simpson” last night. This is one of the finest mini series I have ever seen with some of the finest acting ever. There are several Emmy-worthy performances in this, along with a brilliant script. Watching Sterling K. Brown, I was thrown back twenty something years ago to watching Christopher Darden; the same with Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark and David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian; it was like deja vu. Schwimmer gave an amazing performance as Kardashian, the best friend who ultimately became pretty convinced “Juice” was guilty. Kenneth Choi played Judge Lance Ito; he sounded exactly like him as I remembered his voice; Bruce Greenwood gave a wonderful performance as Gil Garcetti, especially at the press conference after they lost the case. Interwoven into all of this was the personal conflicts of some of the major characters; the underhandedness of Cochrane who bamboozled himself into believe he had a nobler cause to get this murderer off Scott free–with even a glib clip of Clinton expounding his platitudes about it all thrown in for good measure. It was like stepping back into history over twenty years ago so good was this production and acting. The scenes between Garcetti, Darden and Clark after they lost the case were riveting; as was the final scene between Cochrane and Darden after the trial when Cochrane tells him, he will get him back into the community and Darden tells him that he never left it. This was a scene filled with the winner of the conflict, Cochrane, being totally dwarfed by the true moral winner, Darden. It was perfect. It was also like seeing Ron Goldman’s dad again–a lot of talent went into this on all points. The scenes of the jury deliberations were very revealing and I have to say that all the sauce, impertinent dirty looks the jurors who originally voted not guilty on the first ballot–ten to two–gave the ones who voted guilty–would not have worn me down. I would have voted guilty until the cows came home, and if a hung jury had to be declared, so be it, no way would I have been intimidated into letting that murderer go free.
Around the time of the actual trial, I had a pair of loose fitting black leather gloves almost identical to the ones in the Simpson trial. I remember when he tried them on and at the time couldn’t believe they made him try this over latex gloves. I kept saying, take off the latex gloves, but they didn’t, hence Cochrane’s famous, “if the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit.” One day, working at a hospital as I was, I got a pair of latex gloves from a clinic that fit my hands very snugly. I put them on and then tried to fit my own leather gloves that fit me a bit loosely usually over the latex gloves. I could barely get them on; I had to struggle to get them to the palms of my hands and just gave up. Taking off the latex gloves, I slipped the leather gloves back on–with complete ease.
A lot of poetic justice has played out since that farce of a trial. And that farce of a jury. Simpson lost his civil suit against the Goldmans and has been the last eight years in jail for kidnapping and armed robbery, a sentence of 33 years total. Ironically, he was convicted of this on the anniversary of the day he was falsely acquitted of murdering Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.
I can’t say enough good things about this miniseries. Maybe one qualification–I was surprised at the choice of Cuba Gooding Jr to play Simpson. The other actors, Courtney Vance as Cochrane, Nathan Lane as that shyster F. Lee Bailey, John Travolta as Shipiro, Schwimmer as Kardashian, seemed to overshadow him with really fine performances.