‘American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson’ Episode 4 Recap: ‘100% Not Guilty’
This week’s episode of American Crime Story keeps pushing the momentum forward, while still artistically framing the case in both a shroud of race and media blitzkrieg.
With every episode, the racial tensions rise higher, and the bleeding effect has found its way into the O.J. legal representation. The trial is now in jury selection phase, with careful and meticulous detail being paid attention to who would theoretically occupy the juror seat, and what it would mean for the verdict moving forward.
Simpson’s representation leans into the idea of have a more “urban” and “downtown” jury, and that Cochran should take control, which doesn’t sit well at all with Shapiro. It sets up a pissing contest between the two, a goliath versus goliath of ego and legal jargon between two people who should be fighting for the same goal, instead of who gets to be lead counsel.
They put Marcia Clark through the ringer, almost berating her for sport in the preliminary hearing, just so they can flex their muscles and show their brute force. It’s a means to embarrass her, but also to reinvigorate the idea of just how forceful a foe Simpson and his defense stood to be.
This same pressure is carried over into the plea hearing where, again, the Simpson team vastly outnumbers Marcia Clark and her associate. While the size of a legal team does not a winner make, it does show just how big the uphill battle was for Clark.
In front of the recently-announced judge for the case, Judge Ito, Simpson enters a plea of “absolutely, 100 percent not guilty." Behind the scenes of the trial, the morally corrupt Faye Resnick has decided to cash in on her four and a half minutes of fame as Nicole’s friend by capitalizing on the firestorm around the trial and releasing a book about Nicole and O.J.’s relationship. Entitled Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted, it chronicles everything from Nicole’s use of cocaine, to her domestic abuse with O. J., to her creation of what is to be known as a “Brentwood Hello."
The media leaks and the news coverage of the case seems to continually and unapologetically be destroying Clark’s case. It makes her colleagues weaken their resolve. Even the family of the second victim comes to her in emotional shambles because all anyone seems to talk about is Nicole, and not the fact that two people were killed that day.
All this is happening while jury selection is still imminent, so a focus group is held. Here is where it is shown just how crippling the media has become: People no longer vilify O.J., but rather see him as a pariah of sorts; a celebrity martyr, a man and not a murderer. Inversely, all the negativity has now been placed on Clark, with quite damning results. Simpson seems to no longer be a dead man walking — there is indeed hope for this case outside of settling.
Yet while sides seem to be raising their guns and gearing their troops for battle, Resnick’s book drops in the middle of jury selection and proves to be a condemning source of bias for any juror or news outlet, forcing Judge Ito to delay the selection a bit further as a means to fully assess the damage of the book for the case.
During jury selection is when the titan fight between Shapiro and Cochran comes to a head. There were jabs here and there throughout the episode, with Cochran stealing thunder in once instance and Shapiro breathing fire back the next, but it’s evident that Cochran is pulling ahead both in terms of legal representation and in the eyes of the press, which is the final nail in the coffin for Shapiro. It is decided that a coup is to be silently organized against Shapiro and his scorched Earth tactics. And it isn’t until a visit to O.J. in prison where Shapiro presents a kamikaze idea of Simpson cutting a deal to manslaughter that Cochran, Kardashian and the rest of the Simpson squad decide that Shapiro needs to abdicate his seat at the head of the cool kids table.
Shapiro leaves to go on vacation amidst all of this, only to return to find his office has been cleared of all his files, and that he's been silently demoted by the very legal team he created — including the very man who swore to defend, Simpson himself. So with both sides sitting behind their tables, each team is ready for the trial of the century to begin.
And after the promo for next episode, it seems we’re finally ready to watch the case unfold.
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