Where last week’s episode was all about the mental interior of those involved in “The People v O.J. Simpson,” in the third episode fame took center stage. In the first scene, Robert Kardashian braces his four kids for a long wait for lunch at Chin Chin’s for Father’s Day only to discover that he’s now a celebrity by association. The hostess recognized his face but butchered his name; still, she seats he and his family immediately. But like Kato Kaelin is heard saying to his jogging buddy, “Fame is complicated.”
Fun fact: The Kardashians refer to O.J., who is Kimmie’s godfather, as Uncle. Throughout the show, there are references to witnesses selling their stories. (one got $5,000). Is this what they mean by it pays to be at the right place at the right time?
Not long after, we find ourselves looking in on three White reporters at Time magazine, who think it’d be brilliant to take artistic license and darken O.J.’s face in a cover story, “An American Tragedy.” It did not take long for all hell to break loose.
Robert Shapiro finally proves he can do something besides dine at fancy restaurants. Watching Marcia Clark lay out her evidence at a press conference: Blood is EVERYWHERE — O.J.’s is at Nicole’s townhouse and Nicole’s is at O.J.’s. There is also blood from Nicole and Ron in O.J.’s Bronco — Shapiro sets about building his Dream Team: F. Lee Bailey; Alan Dershowitz; and finally, Johnnie Cochran.
Shapiro’s disappointment in Dershowitz’s blowing off lunch at Spago quickly abated when Dershowitz’s protege and DNA expert, explains how they intend to make the damning DNA evidence inadmissible. “At the very least, we will create doubt.”
He then catches a break when his detective discovers that Mark Furhman, the same man who found all the evidence, is a self-professed “racist.”
“Imagine! Imagine that O.J. Simpson was set up by the cops because he was a Black man. And because the LAPD has a systematic racism problem.” – Robert Shapiro says.
It’s not long before Shapiro is running with his, “the police framed O.J.” narrative, a theory he first tests on a reporter from The New Yorker, the now famous Jeffrey Toobin. After Toobin makes an inquiry into Furhman with Christopher Darden, who seems to be “the only one” in the D.A.’s office, Clark snatches Darden up to work on the case (even though he hasn’t tried a case in years).
The cover story that emerges from Shapiro’s interview with Toobin, is one that leaves two distinct impressions:
F. Lee Bailey tells Shapiro: “I hear a sound of metal orbs clanging together. Oh, my God, it’s coming from your pants, Bob! Balls, big brass balls. God love ya!”
Marcia Clark tells her legal team: “We have to stop looking at this case as a slam dunk.” She doesn’t realize how right she is.
Yolanda Young writes for The Guardian, CNN, and USA TODAY. She is the founder and editor of Lawyers of Color and On Being a Black Lawyer. Follow her @yolandayoungesq.