AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMSPON – EP. 3 – A REVIEW BY HAYDEN PITTMAN

Cochran

(CONTAINS SPOILERS) 

Another week, another episode of “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” on FX. This week’s episode is entitled, “The Dream Team”, and really begins to dive into O.J.’s defense strategy and the completion of his “dream team” of lawyers, which includes the African American, Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance).

The opening scene of this episode shows Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer) taking his kids to Father’s Day lunch. At first, the restaurant appears to be too crowded to find a table, but after the hostess recognizes Robert and refers to him as “Richard Kardovian”, or “the O.J. guy”, they are immediately seated. Robert then begins to talk to the kids about whether O.J., who also happens to be their godfather, is guilty or not, and after mentioning that Robert will be interviewed by Barbara Walters, he tries to impart some wisdom to the kids.

Regarding fame, Robert tells his kids that, “We are Kardashians, and in this family, being a good person and a loyal friend is more important than being famous. Fame is fleeting, it’s hollow, and it means nothing at all without a virtuous heart”. Whatever the reason behind this scene is somewhat unknown, but it is a bit comical that the show continues to highlight the Kardashians (more than just Robert), and that in this scene, Robert is discussing fame, which we all know the kids would go on to strongly desire someday.

Most of the episode depicts the beginnings of putting together O.J.’s defense, which happens to involve using the race card. Apparently some of the white policemen involved with the case and evidence are known racists, and as a result, O.J.’s lawyers believe that they can get much of the evidence and witnesses dismissed, and similarly, if they can get even a single African American juror, they are confident they could at least get a hung jury.

O.J’s head lawyer, Robert Shapiro, brings in additional help through other big lawyers, such as Alan Dershowitz (Evan Handler), as well as a Special Investigator and a DNA specialist, in hopes that they can find a strategy that will work. After getting some new faces on board, O.J. finally has what the episode calls his “dream team” of lawyers.

Shapiro figures that the team needs another face that will be good with a certain type (or race) of people, so he suggests bringing in known African American lawyer, Johnnie Cochran. O.J. actually rejects this idea at first but eventually comes around and invites Cochran to visit him in jail (at Cochran's request), so that he can tell him to his face that he is innocent.

On the prosecution’s side, what originally looked like an open and shut case, now slowly begins to fall apart, as one piece of evidence or witness after another begins being shown heavily in the news. They too have to evolve and develop a strategy that they hope O.J. and his lawyers can’t beat.

What I like most about this show involves the solid characters and actors that portray them, the look of the time period – from hair, to clothing, cars, buildings, etc., and the little details about the case that viewers find out in the show that they might have never known before. Details like O.J. not wanting Cochran's help in the beginning and how Cochran received a prank call from someone calling themselves O.J. and asking for his help before he actually received the call. It’s also amusing that the show continues to showcase the Kardashians, and that many viewers I’ve talked to would rather see more O.J. related content than the Kardashians.

TOP CHARACTERS/ACTORS OF THE WEEK: Johnnie Cochran, played by Courtney B. Vance, and Alan Dershowitz, played by Evan Handler. John Travolta and Sarah Paulson, who play Shapiro and Marcia Clark, respectively, also continue to show strong performances.

You can catch “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” on Tuesday nights on FX, and you can watch the first two episodes on http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/full-episodes.

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