And we’ve arrived at the penultimate episode — which is as compelling and fascinating as the rest of this series has been. Sincerely, if you haven’t watched this show and are just reading these, truly, you should watch it. It’s tremendously good, uniformly so, and I feel like I’ve learned so much from it, even as a person who watched this trial and lived in this city while this was happening. Much of what happened this week I don’t have a personal take on in the way that I have in previous recaps, simply because these turn of events occurred after I had returned to college, and so I wasn’t watching CourtTV daily. I remember reading about most of this in the LA Times, of course — the disgusting contents of the Fuhrman tapes were front page news, obviously — but one of the things this show has accomplished so elegantly, I think, is making it very clear why the jury acquitted OJ. You’ve got a city that’s hugely distrustful of the LAPD, you believe the gloves at the crime scene may not fit OJ, and the detective who discovered most of your DNA evidence has taken the 5th when asked if he has ever planted evidence in this specific case. There’s your reasonable doubt. And I think everyone in the courtroom knew it. This is definitely not a proper recap, but we have a lot to talk about, including that. Other things to discuss:
1) This twist about Judge Ito’s wife is, as Nick Dunne says to Tobin, something you wouldn’t believe if you read it in a book, but it IS true. (Marcia calls it an “O. Henry twist,” and that’s dead on.) There is something almost poetic about it — that a high ranking individual at the LAPD would lie about having had interactions with another LAPD officer to help her husband’s career, only to have that LAPD officer about whom she lied turn out to be an otherwise GIANT LIAR who still inadvertently reveals the truth.
2) Speaking of Furhman, there is also great irony in the fact that this time, he more than likely didn’t do anything ethically questionable (I say that because, as Marcia pointed out to Chris’s friends in that great scene a few weeks ago with the shot glasses, he didn’t logistically have the opportunity to do so, and didn’t have enough information about what was actually happening for it to occur to him even if he wanted to), but his utterly abhorrent behavior in all other walks of life comes along and bites him in the ass in the biggest case of his entire career.
3) Mark Furhman is possibly the one character in this show who was cast WAY HOTTER than he actually is.
4) I never would have thought that Chris Darden would prove to be the most interesting character in this mini-series, but I think he is. Some of that is thanks to Sterling K. Brown’s sublime kindness in the part — there is no one for whom I feel more sympathy than him — but I think the show was also brilliant to take this role and really flesh it out. He is the character with the most inherent internal conflict, but I think he was so often dismissed as a sidekick to Clark that it wouldn’t have occurred to lesser writers to explore that, and I think it’s just been beautifully done. I also find it really fascinating that Marcia is drawn as being the better lawyer in court — more measured, more adept, less flappable (not unflappable), all of which is due to experience — but Chris is much, much better at reading people, from the public at large, to the jury, to Furhman himself.
As ever, I recommend the Vanity Fair fact-check piece. A lot of what happened this week was true — including Marcia offering to go to jail with Chris over the contempt of court charges; be still my beating heart!