Superbowls are big, but there are only a handful of major events and news stories that occur in life where you can actually recall where you were at the time and remember it being all anyone talked about. These can be natural disasters, elections, scandals, tragedies, or in the case of FX’s new TV series, “American Crime Story”, a white Ford Bronco speeding down the highway with fans cheering and the police in pursuit of the celebrity, O.J. Simpson, who would soon be put on trial for murder.
Tuesday, February 3rd, American Crime Story’s first season premiered on FX, with the topic being “The People v. O.J. Simpson”, based on the book, The Run of His Life: The People v O.J. Simpson, by Jeffrey Toobin, which focuses on Simpson’s murder trial and the accusation that he killed his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. Starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson, Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta and more, this show is already getting very high praise and in my opinion is all around extremely well put together.
Beginning with actual video footage of police brutality and violent riots, the pilot episode flashes back two years and really gets going right before the death of Nicole Brown Simpson. One of the first things we see is a neighbor walking his dog and approaching Nicole’s house, where he finds a dog with bloody paws running loose that leads him to two dead bodies, Nicole’s and a male’s body outside her house. The police investigate, and after going to O.J.’s house to notify him, they find blood on/inside his bronco, inside the house, and two matching black gloves, one at his house and one at Nicole’s.
O.J., who is apparently in another city at the time, quickly comes home distraught and angry, but willing to help the police in any way. Between the evidence found by the police and the fact that there is prior history of O.J. abusing Nicole, he is brought in for questioning but answers all the questions in a very odd, vague, and uncertain way. He is let go, and within no time, the blood comes back as a match, and they put a warrant out for his arrest. Before they attempt to arrest him, O.J. assembles a team of lawyers, including Robert Shapiro (Travolta) and Robert Kardashian (Schwimmer).
O.J.’s lawyers convince the police to let them bring him down to the station at a certain time, but when that time approaches, they are no where to be found. Instead, O.J. is at home freaking out, writing a will and letters to his friends and family, before pulling out a pistol and threatening to kill himself. The police arrive, but before they can arrest him, he escapes in the white Bronco. This is where the pilot episode comes to an end, but not before showing a series of future scenes and episodes that show promise for the future of the show.
For weeks prior to it’s showing, I saw the trailer for this show and looked forward to viewing it. The pilot episode was as good or better than expected, and the show appears to be doing all the right things. The acting is top notch all the way around, with a variety of known and unknown quality actors, the writing and characters is very smart and well thought out, and even though many viewers already know this story, the show does a great job at creating suspense and revealing facts that I personally had never heard before.
Cuba Gooding, Jr., John Travolta, and Sarah Paulson seem to stand out the most with their strong performances. Gooding, Jr. is just right for the hot-tempered Simpson, Travolta is perfect for a sleezy type lawyer, and Paulson plays the fierce prosecutor, Marcia Clark, who is set on nailing him to the wall and could care less about who O.J. Simpson is or any of his past glories. The film also stars Schwimmer, Kenneth Choi, Christian Clemenson, Bruce Greenwood, Nathan Lane, Courtney B. Vance, and has recurring performances from Selma Blair as Kris Kardashian, Connie Britton, Jordana Brewster, etc.
“American Crime Story” is a true crime TV series, which means that the show examines an actual crime that took place, as well as the details and actions of the real people involved. From the people that brought shows like “American Horror Story”, “Glee”, “Nip-Tuck” and more to television, along with additional writers and producers, ACS first started being developed at Fox, before coming to the company’s sibling cable network, FX. The first season, which focuses on the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, is slated to consist of ten episodes, and the second season is rumored to focus on Hurricane Katrina.
“American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” can be seen on FX on Tuesday evenings and you can catch up on the pilot episode by going to http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/full-episodes.