Latest work based on O.J. Simpson case succeeds in enlightening, entertaining

True confession: My latest guilty pleasure is “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

Every Tuesday night the past two months after I absorb the fallout from the latest U.S. presidential campaign primaries and caucuses (because nothing creates an opportunity to rubberneck like bunch of politicians in a car accident on CNN), I turn to FX for my fix on the trial of the century.

As much as I resist watching murder stories, as I call my Beloved’s favorite nap time snoozers–the true-life murder documentaries aired by Dateline and others–I can’t get enough of “The People v.” I guess I don’t want to admit to being entertained at the expense of victims of murder. But as described in The New Yorker, “It’s a tasty Proustian cronut that makes you remember the events of not only 1995 but 2015.” (That would be a “brief, vivid, sense memory” of a lighter than air but delectable croissant-doughnut pastry, for those of you outside The New Yorker’s realm.)

Back in 1995 when Simpson was being tried for the murder of his ex-wife and an ill-fated waiter who may or not have been involved with her, I was a daily newspaper copy editor who read nearly every story written about the farcical circus as it came across the wires. I distinctly remember putting a say-nothing story about some minute detail of the trial on the front page one Friday night for publication the next morning because there was no other news. “What a waste of newsprint,” I thought. The world, me included, was glued to the goings-on of the courtroom even when nothing was happening.

I bought the hardcover of prosecutor Christopher Darden’s “In Contempt” when it came out a year later because I was fascinated with the behind-the-scenes dilemmas he described in his memoir.


The defense team/FX Network

“The People v.” casts light on many elements of the case I hadn’t realized even though I was following it so closely 20 years ago. Like who would have assigned such empathic soul to Simpson friend and attorney Robert Kardashian, played masterfully by David Schwimmer in the TV series? (I love him in this role!) The amount of evidence against Simpson was monumental, yet the defense team deftly overcame it. I witnessed but hadn’t understood the racial strategy they employed that played on the sympathies created with the Rodney King riots. Yesterday, the series explained why the jury all wore black one day in court. And I had forgotten such juicy details as Faye Resnick’s tell-all and the dancing Itos.

There are two episodes left in this “American Crime Story,” and I won’t be missing a single minute. If you haven’t given it a try, check it out.

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