I’m currently on episode two of the five part series, and it really is spectacular and should win all the awards. All of them.
Even thought I was in my twenties and remember precisely where I was during the OJ chase, but I didn’t know who OJ really was other than a retired football player and sometime actor. This documentary really does an amazing job of filling in the pieces of why so many black activists didn’t like him, and ties it in with the history of racism in the LAPD.
Mark it down as a must watch.
I’ve avoided all the OJ stuff so far, but I’ve heard glowing things about this series.
We’re getting ready to watch part 3. It really is an excellent documentary.
It’s SOOOO good. They really did a great job of telling the backstory of LA, Rodney King, LAPD etc., as well as the history of abuse that OJ got away with against Nicole. That part was tough to watch. She lived in fear of her life for so many years with the police doing basically nothing about it. Then she finally broke free and divorced him and had just begun to start to live her own life when she was murdered.
G has been watching it and says it’s excellent. It fills in a lot of background not just about the case, but about Los Angeles, USC, and OJ’s life overall.
It is really well done…
…but I’ll share a warning. In episode 4, it shifts rather unnecessarily to a lengthy sequence where the wounds to Nicole and Ron were described a little (a lot?) too luridly and the pictures were a little (a lot?) too graphic. I know there were warnings but it really was unnecessary to go there.
I remember exactly where I was during the low-speed chase. I had left my office a little early for a colleague’s retirement party and had gotten on I-5 south. I knew something was up when there was a multi-jurisdictional break on the other side of the freeway–Santa Ana (and other) PD, OC Sheriffs, CHP, and then a phalanx of helicopters. My car radio wasn’t working. I called my Dad, who mis-heard me and thought I was behind the break, and almost yelling at me to get off the freeway now because “OJ had a gun in the back seat!”
I had completely forgotten about “A Killing Affair” the made-for-TV movie starring OJ and Elizabeth Montgomery.
@amygdala: I walked into a bar to meet some people and, having not paid any attention to the news that day, was immediately confuzzled at the sight of everyone watching the low speed chase.
I remember one of the reporters (during the OJ chase) being pranked by a Howard Stern fan, who led him on with some bullshit “eyewitness” stuff before yelling “Ba ba booey!” The reporters were so desperate for something, anything, they’d listen to anybody.
Reelz (a channel I don’t get) has a documentary that sounds interesting about Robert Kardashian and how he may have ditched evidence for OJ. The bastard (for spawning some whacked out kids).
I was in a bar Thursday and this was playing closed-captioned. Even under those circumstances I was transfixed.
(Also put me down for the “OJ didn’t do it but he was covering for his son” theory.)
This series is very good. I had forgotten he had San Francisco roots, lived in Potrero Hill, went to Galileo HS and City College of San Francisco, was only at USC for two years (!). Somehow got in to the Pro Football HOF because of a couple of good seasons — yes, one of those was the two-thousand yarder– and how OJ told the 1968 Black Power Olympic Boycott folks (incl Ali) to take a hike even though he had absolutely no plans to run track in the ’68 Mexico City Games.
How this guy became a symbol for racial justice for African-Americans in this country and LA only informs me just how fucking awful African-Americans have had it, and still have it, with police forces, the justice departments, and just everyone in everyday life.
Darden said no to this doc. I do not blame him, but it is his story I care about nearly as much. I would love to get his side of things.
I wonder how OJ and Nicole’s children are doing. Is this addressed in the documentary?
Tivo tells me that only episodes 3-5 are currently available. How does one fine episodes 1 and 2?
@germy: Uh, me too. That looked creepy and bad.
James Watt Riot
For those who enjoyed this, Ezra’s earlier documentary ‘The Curious Case of Curt Flood’ is also required viewing.
ETA: …or so they’ve been saying repeatedly; haven’t tried it personally.
@Omnes Omnibus: It was all OJ, all the time in SoCal during the trial–the local stations, on top of the networks.
I missed the whole thing when it was happening. I was on vacation in a house on a beautiful lake in Wisconsin. No tv, no news. If there were cell phones back then, we sure didn’t have them.
I was probably one of 10 people in the country who didn’t know a thing about it until a few days later, so I could have been on the jury! (The 10 people includes me and the 3 others I was with in Wisconsin.)
@The Dangerman: Duh. I have apple tv, I wonder if I can get it through that. Thanks for the tip!
@WaterGirl: What lake?
Baud, if you are here… Since you’re not getting the iPad, spend some of your money on Apple TV. I don’t think you would regret it.
We were in a mall to see Speed and the chase was playing on all the tvs in the mall. Then watching Speed with the extensive helicopter shots, it was surreal. No wonder LA has trouble with reality.
I saw OJ play against the Raiders in the UC Berkeley football stadium, the one that straddles Hayward fault. I had the number 32 in Junior Bantam football. I learned the hard way about hero worship. :/
I don’t really watch a lot of TV. What’s it got that I can’t get elsewhere?
David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch
the cautionary tale about OJ is you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
outwardly he was funny and very friendly (who didn’t like him in the Naked Gun). under the surface he was sadistic and only cared about himself.
In many ways Trump and OJ are exactly alike (including their intense misogyny).
@Omnes Omnibus: Maybe Devil’s Lake? I should know for sure – I was there several times with my -ex. So beautiful. I may have to send an email to ask, because now i want to know!
@Baud: Not sure about what you can get elsewhere… but I love the interface – for me, it makes watching Netflix a joy instead of a chore.
@WaterGirl: I don’t have Netflix!
I do have a Chromecast, which I love.
I was driving east on the 401 through Toronto during the chase, and can remember tuning in to a Buffalo sports station and pretty much every caller was adamant that OJ had been framed. A couple were actually in tears, and [this may sound wrong] they all sounded pretty white to me.
@James Watt Riot: That is very good, too.
@LesBonnesFemmes: I watched part 1 for his football career. He did have 5 one-thousand-yard seasons out of 9 (the last 2 were his ‘farewell tour’ with the 49ers. He would have had 2 more if John Rauch had just given him the ball instead trying to make him a receiver. Compare with Gale Sayers who had 2 one-thousand -yard season out of 5 and went into the Hall of Fame easily.
@germy: I really don’t know, but I know the daughter was working at restaurant in the Atlanta area several months ago. I don’t know if she is still there.
Got to see Gale Sayers when he played in college, oh my what a talent.
@swiftfox: Hey, maybe Sayers should not be in the HOF, either. I’ll look at the numbers. I suppose OJ hit 10,000 yards total, but bad coach or not, five “good” years out of nine does not add up to a HOF career. It’s prob just me.
From a filmmaking POV, I’m guessing they did that to break the audience’s identification with OJ and emphasize that, yeah, he had a sucky life in some ways, but that doesn’t excuse him for murdering two people.
I read the Jeffrey Toobin book (which they apparently utilized as well as interviewing Toobin) and Toobin comes to the conclusion that OJ was guilty — there were eyewitnesses who did not testify, among other prosecution blunders — but the idiocy of the LAPD and the LA district attorney’s office let OJ’s lawyers build enough reasonable doubt that he was acquitted. It really was a poorly investigated and poorly prosecuted case (Darden is the one prosecutor that Toobin praises).
This is the weirdest election ever.
Be careful of Part 4.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I heard three or four interviews with the filmmaker before someone mentioned (Chris Hayes) that he’s the son of Peter and Marian Wright Edelman.
I assume that was Episode 4 (I haven’t watched 5); it was … well, I’ll leave it what I said above, it was unnecessary.
I miss funny loveable OJ – him and Arnie renting cars is stuck in my memory. Too bad he turned out to be a murderous sociopath.
I don’t remember where I was when that asinine “car chase” happened, because I didn’t pay any attention either before or afterward. I do remember that I was in high school at the time, and either the day of or the day after, some guy I barely knew suddenly sat at my lunch table and started babbling about how “They got him!” and “He did it!” I can only imagine how blank my look must have been because I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.
Shortly after that, I made a conscious decision to ignore the whole stupid mess, and purposefully didn’t watch or read any news about it. I think I’m a better person today than I would have been thanks to that choice.
Generally agreed, but the blame should really go to Judge Ito; he let it turn into a circus (well, it was always going to be a circus, but Ito made sure it had all three rings going).
Also, and one thing this series brings out clearly, in the wake of Rodney King, OJ was never getting convicted downtown (at the time, IIRC, I thought the jury would hang).
@swiftfox: Don’t fucking even compare him to Sayers.
Ito was fucking incompetent. It was his court room; he should have run it.
@Mnemosyne: As a kid, I thought OJ was getting somewhat railroaded when everyone was for sure that he was guilty (or was for sure that he was innocent and being actively framed). As the years have gone on, I more or less ascribe to the idea that he is the most likely person to have murdered those two, but the prosecution was awful to the point where I don’t think he should have been convicted as the case was presented.
If we didn’t have the double jeopardy laws we do, I do believe he would have been convicted on a re-trial, but even a case like his doesn’t justify ever removing the double jeopardy protections we have.
David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch
@Mnemosyne: Could they have done better, sure, but they did good enough to put him away. Any unknown person would have been convicted. People in didn’t want to believe it. Michael Moore (the Michael Moore) wrote a book saying OJ was innocent (link)
Imagine if Larry Bird was arrested for murder, would people in Boston believe it – no.
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: Larry Bird was innocent of whatever you’re defaming him with.
@The Dangerman: Honestly I thought the same thing, I thought it would have been a hung jury and then a retrial somewhere else, even though as a 10 year old I wouldn’t have understood the exact mechanisms of a hung jury (I guess I would have thought the jury tied guilty/not-guilty and they do it over with a new jury).
Was living in San Pedro (SW LA) for both Rodney King and OJ (Not to mention the Northridge earthquake). Not a great time. But in a way, I’m glad I was there for them. Helped make me who I am today.
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: I haven’t read Downsize This, but saw this in wikipedia:
@Baud: Sounds like you’re covered then. Pretend i never said anything.
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: What that trial really should have shown is that rich people get off because they can afford the best defense lawyers to wriggle out of these charges. If OJ Simpson was a second-string RB from USC who was an employee in a car dealership, he probably doesn’t get the best lawyers, and even that shoddy prosecution gets him convicted of both murder charges.
I can only say one thing positive about Ito; I think everyone wrote books or otherwise “cashed in”. Ito maintained his silence. So far anyway.
David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch
@redshirt: Craig James killed five hookers at SMU and no one would believe it (link)
My writing group was meeting that night. We ended up getting nothing done and just watching the chase on TV. I ended up staying too late for the bus home and stayed the night. Laughing now that it was a walk of shame sort of thing. Only stayed up all night watching OJ, not sex.
@efgoldman: I was working at FIDO HQ when the decision came down and it was amazing – almost everyone left the office (this never happened before) and went to O’Reilly’s which was packed to the gills but had two small TV’s. When the decision was announced I felt an audible, collective breath go through the crowd.
I see the case more of one of a rich guy getting away with it than anything to do with race. Sure, the public was divided by race, but at the end of the day, in the courtroom, it was a rich guy who could afford good lawyers. Because if the guy were poor, all the bad prosecuting wouldn’t have made a lick of difference.
I didn’t follow the OK trial so I don’t know the chronology of events but Stephanie Miller’s had on John Melendez who was friends with Rob Kardashian and his wife. Anyhow, he said the Kardashians had a story of OJ staying with them one night early on(when he was released on bail?) to avoid the media. OJ apparently insisted on keeping his golf bag with him that night instead of leaving it in Rob Kardashians car. They woke up in the middle of the night and saw OJ walking down their driveway and then the street with the golf bag, so much they figured he must have had the knife in the golf bag and gotten rid of it somewhere in their neighborhood. Part of me used to think it was the older son who had issues with Nicole, because of his reaction during the reading of the verdict and the DNA evidence could be explained being that they were father/son.
I’ve avoided all OJ-related material over the years because it is such a tawdry and sad story. But I’ve read so much praise for this doc that I might have to take a look.
I don’t remember the slow-speed chase at all. But I do remember the verdict because I was in Vienna when it came down and everyone was asking us about it.
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: It’s just a meme, right?
You will probably remember that Johnnie Cochran’s daughter (Tiffany Cochran) was a reporter for 11-Alive for a while. No idea what became of her or what she’s doing now.
@WaterGirl: I would never do that.
Ito didn’t help, but the DA’s office was a disaster in the 1990s. They got a hung jury in the first trial for the Menendez brothers, who shotgunned their parents to death so they could inherit faster.
Toobin’s opinion was that both the LAPD and the DA’s office had gotten lazy and assumed they could always get a confession, which is why you had dumbass stuff happen like the coroner leaving blood evidence in a hot car.
@efgoldman: Uh, where did you get that quote from? Because I’m quite certain I never wrote that, and it has nothing to do with this topic anyway.
Anyway, I never watched TV news, and it was easy enough to just not read any of the articles about it in the newspapers my folks subscribed to. So ignoring it was pretty simple.
I owned a white Ford Bronco at the time. While driving around town more than once someone would yell out “you have o.j. in there?”
Since it’s slow-speed chase story time, I was assistant manager of a Crown Books on Pico at the time. We didn’t have a TV, but customers kept coming in and giving us updates.
During the trial, I spent a night in the hospital in case my appendix had to come out (it didn’t) and my hospital roommate was watching the trial on TV while I was trying to nap. That was pretty surreal.
Ito let his courtroom become a circus. He couldn’t really prevent things from being a circus outside the courtroom, but he could, and should, have had control within it.
JosieJ (not Josie)
A lot of us thought at the time that that’s exactly what that trial did show.
David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch
@redshirt: see. no one wants to believe it.
I don’t disagree, but the DA’s were a mess. Toobin’s book is really interesting because he got to talk to the lawyers on both the defense and the prosecution. There were some direct eyewitnesses who saw OJ in the neighborhood that night, but Marcia Clark decided not to use them because they pissed her off somehow. Stuff like that.
Toobin does say that, in his opinion, Darden’s closing argument was one of the best he’s ever heard, but by that point, it was too little, too late.
OJ’s Not Guilty verdict was correct.
I believe that.
I believe that the LAPD attempted to frame a guilty man. The way that they had done numerous times to Black men repeatedly.
But those Black men didn’t have Johnnie Cochran.
I am a highly educated Black woman who has never gotten on a trial, but if I did, I would never cut law enforcement a break. I would never give them the benefit of the doubt. I would be among the most skeptical of jurors. Because my and my family’s experience with law enforcement colors my view of them.
I wonder if OJ ever gets paroled in Nevada; IIRC, they threw the book at him (30+ years?) but I think he’s eligible for parole fairly soon. Here’s hoping Nevada does us all a favor and keeps him behind bars for a long while.
@Mnemosyne: Ito was responsible for the case being a circus because he let it happen. The prosecutors are responsible for the case they presented. The defense used both to OJ’s advantage.
That’s been my opinion for 20 years. I think the criminal and civil juries both got it right.
@efgoldman: Yes, and the documentary argues, probably the beginning of Reality TV and the final jump to a click-bait journalistic model.
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: I’ve got no vested interest in Craig James, and the first responses to your link (all the time I was willing to spend) made it seem like it was an internet meme.
Is it true? Is James a serial killer?
Jeffrey Toobin’s book about the case definitely convinced me that the prosecution deserved to lose. They got overconfident and didn’t do their homework, and they didn’t have good police work to back them up. Just a giant mess all around.
@Mnemosyne: I think that’s the right take. The cops made up their mind early in the process so they were sloppy, or worse, but they were right that OJ did it. They thought they didn’t have to actually prove it.
Even the bit with the glove – OJ acted up a storm struggling to put it on (and of course a leather glove that had been sitting around drying out for months would be harder to put on than when new), but apparently pulled it off easily when few were watching after proving his point.
I worked with a guy who told me several stories about being hassled and worse by the LA cops in the late ’60s. They had a bad culture and it apparently continued for decades (as we saw in the Rodney King beating and trial).
Their arrogance, willingness to break the rules and the laws when it suited them, and disrespect for the justice system (along with apparent mistakes or worse by the DA’s office) caused a murder to walk free. But the jury was right that we cannot tolerate such things by our police and prosecutors.
David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch
@redshirt: it’s a prank.
It was the beginning of the end for the daytime soap opera.
I read Vincent Bugliosi’s “Outrage” years ago and found it pretty convincing that 1.) OJ did it and 2.) a guilty verdict could have been won had the DA, police and prosecution not been so terrible. Hell, just his chapter at the end where he does a hypothetical closing argument of his own based on the evidence and testimony up to that point, made it very clear that the Prosecution did a terrible job and that every indicator pointed to OJ and nobody else. That said, it’s always seemed to me that the verdict was a bit of a chance for the Black community to say “yeah we can fuck with you through the courts too so fuck you” to the White establishment, and frankly I’m kinda fine with that given the history of the LAPD and the numerous acquittals that had been awarded to killers of Black people. It’s pretty understandable, though it sucks for the Brown and Goldman families.
The OJ case convinced me that I am against cameras in the courtroom.
@David ?Canadian Anchor Baby? Koch: Glad we settled that. Now on to JoeScar’s intern….
@Wayne: I saw a white Bronco a couple weeks ago in Duarte, CA with a “Not OJ” license plate.
The music is exceptionally well done. It sets the mood for each scene without drawing attention away from the story flow. The original score soundtrack is gorgeous. The songs chosen from the era are perfect.
Oh and the behind-the-scenes from the newscasts is also really fascinating.
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: (second time writing, FYWP)- I read Bugliosi’s “Outrage” years ago and became pretty convinced that 1.) OJ did it, 2.) the police and prosecution fumbled it to an astonishing degree given the amount of evidence that pointed to OJ and nobody else, 3.) the verdict was a big time FU to the White justice system and I can’t really blame them given the long and recent history of injustice towards minorities in LA. The best part of Bugliosi’s book is his hypothetical Closing Argument which basically took the jury step-by-step through everything that would have had to happen for the Defense’s theory that OJ was framed by the LAPD to happen. Not just one, or a couple, all of them would have had to happen for their theory to be correct. It was very well-illustrated and left me feeling even more disappointed in the incompetence of the Prosecution. Bugliosi was not kind to them in the book. There were numerous passages that essentially began: “In 40 years in criminal law, I’ve never seen a DA do something this foolish in this scenario, etc.” But I am not a lawyer so full caveat.
I just watched Part 5 and the whole thing is VERY well done. My opinion was that he obviously did it but that the criminal verdict was correct because once Fuhrman jumped over that wall without a warrant, everything thereafter was tainted. We have a 4th amendment for a reason – if they had gotten a warrant (it would just have taken a few hours), then a lot more police officers would have been there and someone without Fuhrman’s background would have found the glove and all the blood stains and even if the trial had become a circus, those essential facts could not have been challenged. The wrongful death verdict of liability was also obviously correct as was the armed robbery verdict. In the end, justice was served. It took awhile, but he’s in jail where he should be and the Goldmans and Browns have some sense of closure.
As for the sports angle, OJ clearly deserved the HOF but he was a mediocre actor. The person that comes off the worst in the documentary is the Hertz chairman, who is racist as hell. Fuhrman and Gates are presented badly, but they deserve it. Darden putting on the glove try-on was one of the worst lawyer moves I have ever seen. Marcia Clarke was just as irritating as during the trial. Johnny Cochrane was quite good, but that Hitler reference in his closing statement was WAY over-the-top. Barry Scheck is a good lawyer and avoided every single question about what he believes/d, which to me, indicates that he knows OJ did it.
@Uncle Ebeneezer: Thanks.
Or that he made sure that he never knew for sure one way or the other – which is not a bad thing to do.
Now that FSM help me I’m enjoying both playing and watching golf, I can understand why OJ spent much of his time looking for the real killer on the golf course.
@Omnes Omnibus: Well, as you know, the opinions of criminal defense lawyers are irrelevant to the trial – they weren’t there and couldn’t possibly “know” anything. Sure, they can make judgments like the jury, but in the trial, who really cares what their judgments are? But 21 years later, for a documentary, it is interesting what they think. But Scheck, even now, avoided the question like a good lawyer should. To me, he won the case for OJ by raising doubt about all the blood and DNA evidence, which otherwise would have been overwhelming. The LAPD mishandled the evidence, they handles it without gloves, moved it, put foreign objects all over it, there wasn’t a consistent chain of custody and the outrageous fact that they took the evidence from the lab back to the crime scene raised reasonable doubt, in my view. Cochrane’s racial antics were probably more important for the jury, but if I were on the jury, I would have had doubts just because of Scheck. That said, looking back, I have no more doubt – OJ clearly did it. But the prosecutors and the LAPD didn’t prove that at the time, in my view.
@patroclus: As I noted above in agreement with rikyrah, I think both juries got it right. I don’t do criminal law now, but I would avoid ever asking a direct question of did you do it.
I was listening to an interview on NPR Thursday (with Toobin, maybe?), and he said that Cochran told OJ to stop taking his arthritis meds several days ahead of the glove try-on. Without the meds, his hands/joints swelled up, and voila! The gloves didn’t fit.
@cckids: If so, it was prescient. For the prosecution to try the glove stunt was shit-all stupid. Making sure a possible stupid gambit fails is brilliant planning. The defense in this trial was so much better than the prosecution that is not funny. Ito’s incompetence aided the defense, IMO.
Death Panel Truck
@Mnemosyne: Toobin praised Darden’s performance? The guy who said:
@Death Panel Truck:
Toobin said that Darden did a very good job of laying out the timeline of abuse and explaining to the jury that the murders were a very typical end to an ongoing abusive relationship. Basically, that Darden took it out of the context of “celebrity” or any notion that OJ was being punished for his race and put it back into the context of domestic violence.
@Mnemosyne: Darden said exactly what he had to say to counter the notion of a racist prosecution. His best just wasn’t good enough.
My personal memories are kind of hazy on the whole case, but I distinctly remember something about the cops testifying that when they went over the wall of the Simpson estate without a warrant, they didn’t consider him a suspect at the time. I’m sorry, but when a woman gets knifed to death at home, how is it that her husband or ex-husband isn’t at or near the top of the initial suspect list?
And it may seem counter-intuitive, but the question the jury had to ask wasn’t so much “did he do it?”, but “has the state proven that he did it?”
I think he actually did it, and if I’d been on the jury, I would have said “Not Guilty”, because that prosecution would have left me with doubts as to whether Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald.
You can watch all 5 parts here:
@cckids: Interesting. Thanks.
Getting back to the original topic, I’ve got no interest in watching the show (I didn’t watch TPvOJS either). It’s too big a time investment even if it’s great acting. I wouldn’t watch some miniseries on Oscar Pistorius either. The tragedy was what they did to others, not the path that got them there. Yes, the societal implications are important and must be addressed, but it’s not my kind of TV.
@The Dangerman: I don’t think it was unnecessary at all: it put together a coherent theory of the crime, one which, frankly, I wasn’t aware of. The autopsy photos are used to illustrate how this theory was put together. Also, it sets up a nice contrast with the scene that immediately follows: an OJ toadie flatly denying that OJ could have done it.
I agree with rikyrah – I 100% believe he killed them. and I 100% still believe that the police attempted to “enhance” the evidence, and that they did that crap all of the time – it’s just that *this time* the defendant was a wealthy celebrity that could afford to spend the money to get the benefit of the doubt that most criminal defendants (particularly people of color) never get.
(everyone focuses on the glove, but I actually agree with Marcia Clark on that one – the simple forethought necessary about whether OJ had an alibi at that point make that the evidence that is probably too difficult to actually have planted. But I’ve ALWAYS been convinced that the bloody socks, sitting in that otherwise pristine bedroom, were hella suspicious. And those weren’t collected until AFTER all of that bullshit with Vanatter driving around for a day and a half with vials of OJ’s blood in his car and bringing them back to the lab techs at the crime scene instead of following procedure and checking them into evidence – I mean, seriously. WTF?).
I also went to college in Buffalo from 92-96. there was some very serious cognitive dissonance going on in that town during that trial. OJ had been such a hero to that city, and that period in particular (the 4 superbowl losses in a row), everything revolved around the Bills.
@Bruce K: If you watch the documentary, you can see them explain that they went to his house to do a notification/ask questions, because OJ and Nicole were still technically married so he was next of kin, and when they got there they discovered blood on his Bronco, which turned it into ‘exigent circumstances’.
If that explanation was ever challenged by the defense (I honestly can’t recall), the fact that the evidence collected was admitted by the court means that any challenge didn’t work, so the explanation was at least..defensible.
Way late, but I watched some of the episodes. I think the background parts (1-3) were absorbing. It fuses together elements of some of our most vexing social pathologies — the role of football in transcending race yet the propensity towards violence, and protecting abusers, especially celebrity abusers. It was painful to watch. I skipped most of Part 4, because I remember too much of it too painfully. There was an enormous, and not hidden, divide between the black (mostly secretarial) and white (mostly professional) staff in our office that was all by itself painful to live through. When the verdict was about to be announced one of the criminal defense lawyers I worked with told me not to watch it because he already knew it would be acquittal — no jury would convict a man charged with such a serious crime in less than two hours. Here is my take on the prosecution: I believe that they proved their case, but that the jury — not unreasonably, perhaps — interpreted clear evidence of procedural and evidentiary improprieties as reasonable doubt, and it was extremely easy for the defense to raise the inference that a racially motivated police force would be willing to resort to that kind of tactic. Never mind that OJ skated all those times when Nicole called the police when he was battering her. Why would someone try to frame an obviously guilty person? And as for the celebrating — I had to leave my office. Even if I understood the pent up emotions and the extreme frustration of being on the receiving end of relentless racial injustice, I think that celebration should be reserved for real justice, not indelible evidence that we were moving closer to equal opportunity injustice so long as the defendant was a celebrity. And Part 5 — the aftermath — is just painful to watch. More than once I wondered if Simpson had CTE. I also did not know that his father was gay (why would I?) but it added a layer of complexity to his apparently insatiable need to seduce women, even after he was married. But the ultimate irony (not part of this series) is knowing that Kim Kardashian tweeted the equivalent of wailing over the injustice of Casey Anthony being acquitted of capital murder in the death of her daughter. Nobody Kim Kardashian knows would ever help someone get away with murder. So, it’s worth it just for putting her idiot sycophant of a father in a permanently bad light (which it does).
I watched the slow speed chase in the Tokyo airport, suffering from jetlag on the way back from a three day trip to Hong Kong. It was dreamlike. Large crowd. White people staring rapt at TV monitors. Asian people staring mostly at the white people, wondering why they were so fascinated. The essentially static picture of the white Bronco against a dull-colored background interrupted periodically by wild Japanese commercials, full of color and movement.
@sam: Nicole and OJ were divorced in 1992 and he murdered her in 1994 – he was NOT her next-of-kin. That first lie by the police was the key to the case. They thought he did it and went to his house to question him and when they couldn’t get in, Fuhrman jumped the wall without a warrant, which would have only taken a few hours to get because they had found the blood on the Bronco. Instead of following the rules, they decided to ignore them and create “exigent circumstances.” Police commonly do this because they know courts will uphold them if they lie about it just right. To me, as explained above, that was the key to the case – everything found after Fuhrman blew off the warrant requirement was tainted. The documentary didn’t go into this lie sufficiently because the trial didn’t end up turning on that, but to me, it should have. OJ was NOT her next-of-kin.
Paul in KY
@LesBonnesFemmes: Gayle got in due to his career being cut short by injuries. You could see he was a HOF talent.