‘American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson’ Episode 6 Recap: ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’
This week’s American Crime Story focuses solely on Marcia Clark, and the fact that her private life was thrust into the public, forcing her to undergo intense scrutiny from the media.
Clark is involved in a heated custody battle with her ex-husband over the contention of spousal rights because of her workload, and the fact that it takes away from her responsibilities as a parent. Her personal turmoil spoils over into the Simpson trial as she arrives late, facing sideways glances from all parties. It paints the picture of a woman torn between family and work, finding it almost impossible to juggle motherhood with the trial of the century, and understandably so.
Clark seemingly becomes the face of the trial, almost as much as Simpson, facing intense sexist scrutiny from media outlets over her appearance — something that would only happen to a woman, not a man. The clothes she wears, and the way she styles her hair, all influence the public opinion, and therefore influence the result of the case.
Both sides go into questioning the Rockingham police officers, who were first on the scene of the murder and handled the evidence. Cochran aims to depict the detectives as shady; officers who didn’t act in the best interest of the case, but rather in the best interest of themselves. Cochran implies that the detectives possibly planted evidence in the Bronco and took evidence home with them in order to not book it.
The next witness meant to be questioned is Rosa Lopez, the housekeeper of Simpson’s neighbor who is being summoned as a means of establishing a timeline between Simpson and the Bronco. Cochran asks for an extension in order to hear the testimony of Lopez, but Clark has personal issues with the extension, in that it interferes with her parental needs, so it again brings Clark into question within the walls of the courtroom.
Her identity is even brought into question in the DA’s office, as she’s reprimanded for needing to go home for her kids, even being gently pushed by her boss to consult with media specialists over her appearance. She decides to stay at the office out of some innate feeling of obligation and calls her ex-husband to watch the kids, despite their ongoing custody battle.
The testimony of Lopez transpires and signals a swing of momentum for Clark: Cochran stated that Lopez is planning on leaving the country, but Clark exposes the fact that this is all a lie. Lopez is an unreliable witness, seemingly under Cochran’s influence — even going so far as to say that her recollection of the night is “whatever Mister Johnny says.”
Clark emerges from the courtroom a winner in that moment, surrounded by fans of her work, being lauded by the very media who shamelessly victimized her. The win doesn’t last long, as the next day, Clark’s ex-husband publicly humiliates her by questioning her parenting in front of the camera.
Clark decides to take back some of the control the media-hungry wolves have stolen from her and decides to get a haircut in hopes of lessening some of the scrutiny. It horribly backfires, eliciting snickers and laughs from the court, even landing her magazine covers that are simply used to lampoon her in front of the whole country.
The next witness of the trial is Fuhrman. Clark uses his testimony to boost the identity of the LAPD, establishing their meticulous handling of the crime scenes and even going further to explicitly state once again for the jury how incriminating the blood evidence is against Simpson. Fuhrman essentially takes Clark and the jury through the events of what happened the night of the murder when he arrived on the scene. The infamous glove is brought into question as a means of Simpson’s team to imply that the glove could have been planted, but Clark quickly dismisses that.
Simpson’s team then take sets their sights on blood and goes the jugular. In order to back Fuhrman into a corner and paint him as a racist, Simpson’s team question him about his use of the N-word. Fuhrman still explicitly states he has never used the word, but the seed has been planted in the heads of the jury.
Yet in the closing of the episode, it all comes circling back to the scrutiny Clark faced as a woman in the media. Nude pictures are released to the media by another one of her ex-husbands, and so Clark is thrown into the limelight,becoming a victim of the tabloids. With the stress of everything getting to her, Clark breaks down in court and effectively gets the trial delayed a day by the kindness of the court. Under the intense pressure of being a mother, a lawyer and now a media staple, Clark cracks inside her office, sitting on the floor with her world being thrown into the media circus, front and center.
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