FIRST! If you missed it, we interviewed Jeffrey Mossa and Amber Haley, the production designer and set decorator, respectively, of this fine program, about all kinds of things — how they got the courtroom sets so perfect, the lengths they went to to recreate Johnnie’s office, how they got the Heisman, and more. Don’t miss it! They’re both incredibly talented, and it was a fascinating look into a very interesting job.
On to the episode! This was, as usual, quite interesting –although for me, I think it was my least favorite of the season, simply because, while I was interested in the juror experience, I missed the time we lost with the legal teams. Here’s what basically happened:
1) Being on a sequestered jury for months on end looks like it sucks. (I have been on a jury, but we were not sequestered. It was the summer before I went to college, so the summer before this trial. No wonder I was so into this. I was still high on the thrill of having done my civic duty and also getting to spend part of the summer in the nice A/C of the courthouse.) This week, the jury is LOSING THEIR MINDS, and rightly; this case still holds the record for being the longest sequestered jury in California history (second place goes to Charles Manson’s jury). No TV, no magazines that haven’t been approved (and had big pieces of them chopped out), having to sit around with these people with whom you have potentially nothing in common, and not actually being allowed to socialize with them much even if you wanted to.
2) If you enjoy episodes of Marcia and Johnnie shooting each other “HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS LEGAL MANEUVERING????” eyebrow raises, this was your night — because they basically got into a tit-for-tat of having jurors dismissed to try and achieve a jury that would give them the best chance of the outcome for which they were hoping. A few jurors were dismissed because they lied about domestic violence incidents in their pasts. One was dismissed because his notebook had notes on the other jurors (presumably for a book). One was dismissed because they got a call that she was trying to shop a book — the Vanity Fair piece to which I link below gets into this, but this seems to have been untrue (that she was shopping it; she really was dismissed). Clearly neither Judge Ito nor Marcia knew anything about pitching your books to agents because I can’t figure out how any agent would have known for sure that this person was “an older white woman,” and this question is never asked. The author is in sequester, so she can’t have visited said agents. It’s 1994 so there is no Skype. How would she even BE shopping a book, given that she’s not allowed to talk to people who aren’t on an approved list? Did she include a photo when she sent off pages? That seems unlikely. I suppose the pitch could have said, “Hello, I’m an older white woman on the OJ jury,” but if she went that far, why not just give them her name? There are like two older white women on the jury; you are not really concealing your identity. In real life, the tip MUST have had her name in it. (This is the first thing that’s happened on this show that hasn’t totally hung together, and I suspect it’s because the bit where this part was explained was too boring and clunky, and we don’t know the jurors’ names, so they can’t just use it.) Someone gets dismissed because they found a photo of him shaking hands with OJ. Then a juror goes nuts and makes a run for it, which also did really happen. (She got ostracized by the jury pool after she got their bailiffs swapped out — she told Judge Ito that the previous one was giving preferential treatment to white jurors — and the new dude was super mean, but she was about to lose it before any of that even happened.) This brought us the supremely comforting line, from Ito, “now, now, Juror 452.” Gee, I can’t imagine why that wasn’t effective.
3) Robert Kardashian is the only person in the courtroom playing attention to the DNA evidence and now he is convinced that OJ did it and BOY does he feel really really really UPSET about this whole turn of events. AS ONE WOULD. Speaking of the evidence, I remember seeing some of this testimony and YES, Fung’s testimony was that boring — “I wonder what Erica Kane is doing,” I thought, while it was happening — and Barry Scheck WAS that intense and totally demolished him. And Fung actually did go shake hands with everyone after his testimony, I think I speak for Marcia Clark when I say: WTF, dude?!
4) Another shout-out to the music supervisors on this show. I probably haven’t heard Folk Implosion’s “Natural One” — to which Marcia has a brief, private hissy-fit in her office — since 1995. (It is on the Kids soundtrack. That’s the only movie I’ve ever walked out of. I saw it at a screening at UCLA, and I left because I got so irritated that Larry Clark thought his leading actor was hot enough to pull that much lady tail, no matter how naive those girls were supposed to be. Listen, if your plot hinges on this kid calling himself “the virgin surgeon,” and banging tons and tons of chicks, said kid should be smoking hot, charismatic, and, as I said to my boyfriend at the time, “IDEALLY WOULD NOT HAVE A LISP!” I have always had a lot of opinions.)
Let’s discuss! Also, this week, I strongly recommend Vanity Fair’s fact-checking piece, which really gets into what it’s like to be on a sequestered jury.