Last year of my Master studies is almost over. It wasn’t a busy one, I had plenty of free time and thus I’ve watched many, MANY, TV series. I’d like to share my thoughts about it with you and I’m truly interested if you share my views or not and why. Let’s start with a Netflix original – first season of American Crime Story.
For those who did not watch this series – it’s a based on facts recollection of events that occurred in 1995. The facts were as follows: O.J.Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman were killed. The police found some clues that pointed out O.J. as the killer. He was accused of double homicide and put into lengthy trial (almost 10 months…). You can read all about it on Wikipedia. There will be spoilers further on, so take that into consideration before further reading.
The story is not really about the murder, it’s not about the reason why it happened or who did it. The series shows us why O.J. Simpson was found not guilty by the jury. It shows all the police mistakes, O.J.’s lawyers’ abilities and tricks and the public opinion on this whole situation. To me, it was even better than common murder stories and I can strongly recommend it.
There are many interesting and surprising parts of this show. To start with, the whole case with how O.J. got away with conviction. I must admit I was almost sure he did it until episode 6-7. Only then, when the defence showed and proved all the police mistakes made during the collection of the evidence I changed my mind. The number of errors and possible evidence contamination was so high it’s no wonder people and the jury started to have doubts. There were DNA test made out of many blood samples and today it would be probably enough to convict someone, but back then not many people have heard about it, that’s first thing. Second is that even if DNA was a match to O.J.’s blood it didn’t mean he was there.
As it later turned out, the policeman who found the most incriminating evidence (Mark Fuhrman) was a racist who one year earlier gave an interview in which he openly admitted to beat and kill Black people, as well as to plant evidence to convict them and to lie in a way it would get them into jail. It was an unexpected turn of events in which the defence did not deny that DNA found on the crime scene was O.J.’s, but instead tried to prove this whole murder case was a set-up to convict O.J. and that there may have been another murderer which the police did not pursued. It did not help that Mark Fuhrman, when asked second time about his previous statements and if he planted the evidence, he pleaded the Fifth-Amendment to avoid possible self-incrimination.
What this show also pointed out was the way the whole trial and people involved were “medialized”. Not only did people watch the news about the trial and the live report from the court room, but also lives of prosecutors and defence lawyers were scrutinized and widely commented. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t mention the way Marcia Clark was treated (great Sarah Paulson in this role). The remarks were not on her case and work experience, but on her looks and family. Sad thing is this did not changed that much even though it’s been 20 years.
To sum up, there is many more issues going on in the series and that’s why it’s really worth watching. The whole case and trials were one in a lifetime and probably can never happen again. It was also possible in American because of the jury – a body we here, in Europe, do not have. Maybe O.J. would’ve been found guilty here? Who knows. What is really a surprising fact about this case is how no one – neither the police nor the victims’ families or the media – asked “if not Simpson, then who did it?”. Not a single alternative scenario was investigated.
In my opinion the verdict was just and O.J.’s guild has not been proven “beyond reasonable doubt”. What are your thoughts? Share in the comments! Did you like the series?