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The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story

  (Redirected from American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson)

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story is the first season of the FX true crime anthology television series American Crime Story. The season, which debuted on February 2, 2016, revolves around the infamous O. J. Simpson murder case and is based on Jeffrey Toobin's book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson (1997).[1]

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story
The People v. O. J. Simpson - American Crime Story poster.png
Promotional poster
Starring
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 10
Release
Original network FX
Original release February 2 (2016-02-02) – April 5, 2016 (2016-04-05)

The People v. O.J. Simpson was acclaimed, receiving praise for most of the performances, directing and writing. For the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, the season received 22 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, in 13 categories, winning nine, more than any other show, including Outstanding Limited Series.[2] It also won the Golden Globe Awards for Best Miniseries or Television Film and Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film for Sarah Paulson.

Contents

Cast and charactersEdit

MainEdit

RecurringEdit

GuestEdit

EpisodesEdit

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Prod.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
1 "From the Ashes of Tragedy" Ryan Murphy Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski February 2, 2016 (2016-02-02) 1WAX01 5.12[3]
In the early morning of June 13, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman are found stabbed to death at the entrance of Brown's Brentwood condo. Brown's ex-husband, NFL superstar and actor O. J. Simpson becomes a person of interest in their murders. District attorney Marcia Clark immediately takes the case and discovers that Simpson had beaten his ex-wife multiple times in the past. Meanwhile, high-powered black defense attorney Johnnie Cochran challenges a fellow black attorney, Christopher Darden, for not standing up for his race in his work as a prosecutor. Simpson is questioned by police detectives and his responses are vague, unreliable, and do not establish a timeline for June 12, angering Clark who suspects that Simpson is guilty. Robert Kardashian talks Simpson into hiring celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro as his new attorney. Simpson is found to be suicidal and has a gun, and Kardashian attempts to calm him down. Police officers then arrive to arrest Simpson for the double murder; however, he has disappeared. Kardashian, Shapiro, and the police search the house before Kardashian realizes that Simpson had disappeared with Al Cowlings in Simpson's white Ford Bronco.
2 "The Run of His Life" Ryan Murphy Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski February 9, 2016 (2016-02-09) 1WAX02 3.90[4]
In a press conference, DA Gil Garcetti issues a statewide manhunt for the missing Simpson. Shapiro and Kardashian fear the worst when they discover Simpson's suicide letter. Shapiro holds a press conference of his own to save face, and Kardashian reads the suicide letter to the media. A driver on the LA freeway I-405 sees Simpson in the white Bronco and calls the police, which leads into the infamous, media headlining, low speed chase. The suicidal Simpson has Cowlings drive him to Brentwood, at first refuses to get out the car, and comes close to killing himself then and there. Kardashian pleads with Simpson over the phone to peacefully surrender, and Simpson complies. Simpson is then charged with the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and is taken into custody.
3 "The Dream Team" Anthony Hemingway D. V. DeVincentis February 16, 2016 (2016-02-16) 1WAX03 3.34[5]
With Simpson now in custody, Shapiro begins assembling his defense team, while Clark confirms to the media that Simpson is to be prosecuted for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, which means he is eligible for the death penalty. Clark also reveals the evidence, the glove, and the blood trail to the media, leading most of the media (and Clark herself) to believe that the case will be an easy win. A controversial issue of TIME magazine featuring a darkened image of Simpson on the cover raises issues of racism among the media. Shapiro signs F. Lee Bailey first onto the team, who recommends bringing aboard Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz mentions they could argue that the DNA found at the crime scene could have been tampered with, and this is later made the main defense after it is revealed that Mark Fuhrman, the LAPD detective who found the glove that is key to the prosecution's case, has made racist comments frequently during his career. Deciding to go with the argument that the LAPD is systemically racist and has framed Simpson for racist reasons, Shapiro talks to a reporter from The New Yorker who publishes it as a front-page story. Simpson, after meeting with Shapiro, Bailey, and Kardashian, reluctantly agrees to bring aboard Cochran as the final member of his defense team. Meanwhile, the prosecution is forced to move onto the attack for the trial after most of key evidence is leaked to the media, and they panic over Shapiro's plan for the defense.
4 "100% Not Guilty" Anthony Hemingway Maya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky and
Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
February 23, 2016 (2016-02-23) 1WAX04 3.00[6]
Simpson's "dream team" bears down on the trial, with Shapiro adopting a strategy of barricading and objecting to every motion the prosecution attempts. However, the defense suffers from dissent in the ranks, as Shapiro begins making desperate efforts to remain the lead defense attorney, despite Cochran's being clearly more qualified for the position as the defense increasingly begins to lean more on racial tension. Eventually Bailey, Cochran, and Kardashian stage a minor coup while Shapiro is on vacation, and convince Simpson to endorse Cochran as the lead attorney. Lance Ito is called to preside over the trial, and the process of jury selection begins, with both sides seeking a racial composition favorable to their own agenda. While both Clark and Cochran are correct that whites are biased against Simpson and black men are biased in his favor, they each have their own respective theories about why black women would be unsympathetic to him: Cochran believes they would resent Simpson for marrying a white woman, while Clark believes they would be sympathetic to Nicole as a battered woman. However, this theorizing proves inaccurate when all potential black female jurors align with Simpson as much as their male counterparts. Clark is also forced to confront the fact that she herself is singularly uncharismatic to jurors of all demographics. Adding to the media circus surrounding the case is a book published by Faye Resnick, detailing Brown Simpson's lifestyle and relationship to Simpson, and detracting[clarification needed] more potential evidence from the trial itself. With Clark and her team realizing the case is not the easy win they initially thought it was, she and Garcetti decide that the only possible buffer against the charismatic and beloved Cochran is to add a black lawyer to the prosecution. She calls on Christopher Darden, and he joins the prosecution team, surprising the defense.
5 "The Race Card" John Singleton Joe Robert Cole March 1, 2016 (2016-03-01) 1WAX05 2.73[7]
The Simpson murder trial begins when in his first contribution to the prosecution, Darden attempts to sway the jury from any racist implications of the case. His wording backfires severely when Cochran delivers a fiery and moving rebuttal, humiliating all of the prosecutors. Clark also assigns Darden to interview Mark Fuhrman and coach him on how to speak during the trial as a credible witness. Darden gets a bad feeling about Fuhrman, strongly suspecting him to be the latent racist suggested by his murky history, but Clark disregards his suspicions, leaving him increasingly conflicted about his role in the case. Meanwhile, Cochran redecorates Simpson's home, re-imagining him as being more proud and in touch with his African American identity, for a tour by the jury. After the defense springs a surprise and illegal move by introducing new witnesses, William Hodgman suffers a panic attack and faints in court. Clark nominates Darden to replace him as co-leading prosecutor. A new obstacle emerges to the prosecution, unbeknownst to Clark, when Darden's suspicions are confirmed and Fuhrman is shown to have a collection of Nazi memorabilia.
6 "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" Ryan Murphy D. V. DeVincentis March 8, 2016 (2016-03-08) 1WAX06 3.00[8]
Clark is going through a bitter divorce. The media criticizes her attitude and appearance and she becomes overwhelmed with her sudden celebrity status. Television networks preempt their daytime programming for coverage of the trial. Darden and Clark bond at the office after-hours with drinks and dancing. A reporter from Los Angeles Times confronts Cochran about the alleged past domestic violence against his first wife. Clark decides to get a haircuit in response to the media's criticisms of her, but it is not well received. Bailey gives his cross examination of Fuhrman, asking him if he has ever used the 'N' word in the last ten years, which Fuhrman strongly denies. Darden consoles Clark, who bemoans finding herself being turned into a public personality like the defense lawyers.
7 "Conspiracy Theories" Anthony Hemingway D. V. DeVincentis March 15, 2016 (2016-03-15) 1WAX07 2.89[9]
Shapiro tries to convince others to agree to a plea deal. Kardashian finds himself unable to believe Simpson's story because of the lack of any other suspects. Clark travels to Oakland with Darden for a friend's birthday showing the increasing closeness between them both. Simpson tries on the gloves (found at the scene of the crime). After he seemingly struggles to put on the gloves, it appears that they are too small.
8 "A Jury in Jail" Anthony Hemingway Joe Robert Cole March 22, 2016 (2016-03-22) 1WAX08 2.92[10]
The members on the jury start to go stir-crazy and deal with cabin fever during sequestration. A few of them are excused for lying on the questionnaire or having connections with Simpson in strange ways. The defense and counsel begin to focus on getting alternates who they are sure would vote favorably at the end of the trial. After the glove debacle, everyone assumes that Simpson is not guilty but when Clark fiercely presents the DNA evidence in court, doubts start again. Even the ever-faithful Kardashian begins to doubt Simpson's story while Cochran and Shapiro seem unconcerned with this.
9 "Manna from Heaven" Anthony Hemingway Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski March 29, 2016 (2016-03-29) 1WAX09 2.77[11]
Simpson's attorneys uncover tapes of Fuhrman recounting horrifying stories of torturing, murdering and framing black suspects for fun. It emerges that one of the people Fuhrman attacks in those tapes is the wife of Judge Lance Ito, and a mistrial is barely avoided. The tapes are released, Fuhrman takes the stand and further incriminates himself by refusing to answer any more questions, much to the dismay of Clark.
10 "The Verdict" Ryan Murphy Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski April 5, 2016 (2016-04-05) 1WAX10 3.28[12]
On the last day of proceedings, Simpson declines to take the stand, but makes a brief statement, saying that he maintains his innocence and yearns for the trial be done with and to return to his family. Following only four hours of deliberation among the jurors, the verdict is in: Simpson is found not guilty for the murders of Nicole and Ron, which causes both rejoicing and shock around the country. Simpson finally returns to civilian life though he enters a society where he is perceived as a different person as he was before the trial with some (mainly his family) welcoming him home while others now forever viewing him as a murderer. At a welcome home party where he announces his intent to find the real killer, he eventually discovers those involved with his life before the crime and trial have all but disappeared. In the final scene, a depressed and lonely Simpson stands in his backyard gazing up at the life-size statue of himself in his prime as a football star with cheering fans heard in the background which slowly fade away as the screen turns dark. The epilogue reveals what happened to the major players and ends with photos and a memorandum of Nicole and Ron.

ReceptionEdit

ReviewsEdit

The first season of American Crime Story has received acclaim from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an approval rating of 97%, based on 64 reviews, with an average rating of 8.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story brings top-shelf writing, directing, and acting to bear on a still-topical story while shedding further light on the facts – and provoking passionate responses along the way."[13] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 90 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[14]

Many critics singled out many cast members for the performances, particularly Paulson and Vance.[15][16][17] Dan Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter praised the performances of Paulson and Vance, writing: "As Clark's discomfort grows, Paulson's collection of tics seem more and more human, [...] Vance's Cochran is sometimes hilarious, but he has a dynamic range such that he's occasionally introspective and always intelligent as well."[16] Brian Lowry of Variety praised the casting of the smaller roles, particularly Connie Britton as Faye Resnick and Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey.[18]

Despite the praise for the rest of the cast, Travolta and Gooding's respective portrayals of Shapiro and Simpson have been met with mixed reviews by critics. Brian Lowry of Variety called Travolta "awful" in the role, adding: "Yes, Shapiro spoke in stiff, measured tones, but the actor's overly mannered line readings turn the attorney into a buffoon, in sharp contrast to the more nuanced portrayals around him."[18] Nicole Jones of Vanity Fair called his performance "campy and calculated."[19] Dan Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also criticized his performance, calling it "a mesmerizingly bad performance from the eyebrows down." He also wrote that "His unnecessary accent varies by episode, and Travolta's laser intensity feels arch and almost kabuki at times, turning Shapiro into a terrifying character from the next American Horror Story installment, rather than a part of this ensemble."[16] Maureen Ryan of Vanity Fair, conversely, became more impressed with Travolta as the season progressed: "I started in the realm of puzzled disbelief, arrived at amusement, and ultimately traveled to a place of sincere appreciation. You simply can't take your eyes off Travolta, and that is a form of enchantment."[20] Dave Schilling of The Guardian panned Gooding's performance, writing: "his whiny, gravely voice sounds absolutely nothing like the real O.J. Simpson's deep, commanding tones."[21] Michael Starr of New York Post also was highly critical of Gooding's performance, saying that he "portrays Simpson as a hollow, sad-sack cipher who speaks in a high-pitched whine and sleepwalks in a fog he never shakes after being arrested for the brutal double murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. He's a forgettable, annoying presence in what should be a showcase role for Gooding — who, to be fair, is reciting lines written for him, so he can only do so much with the material."[22] On the other hand, Joe McGovern was more positive on Gooding's performance, writing that his casting "takes a risk and pulls it off."[23] In spite of the mixed reviews on their performances, Gooding and Travolta received Emmy nominations. Additionally, Travolta was among the recipients for Outstanding Limited Series, being one of the show's producers.

Reaction from individuals involvedEdit

Mark Fuhrman, who is portrayed by Steven Pasquale, refused to watch the series and called his portrayal untruthful. In an interview with New York Post, he said "The last 20 years, I have watched the facts dismissed by the media, journalists and the public simply because it does not fit within the politically correct narrative. At this late date, FX is attempting to establish a historical artifact with this series without reaching out to any prosecution sources. In a time when Americans read less and less and investigative journalism is on vacation, it is sad that this movie will be the historical word on this infamous trial. After all, it was 'based on a true story.'"[24]

Marcia Clark praised the series and called Sarah Paulson's portrayal of her "phenomenal."[25] Clark went to the Emmys with Sarah Paulson, who won that night for her performance.[26]

Ron Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, had numerous criticisms of the series. He felt that there was not enough material about Ron, who is only depicted on the show as a corpse. He expressed concern that the generations of people who were too young to understand the events at the time would consider everything to be accurate. Nicole Brown's sister, Tanya Brown, lashed out at the cast members for what she saw as a lack of consultation with the families.[27]

RatingsEdit

No. Title Air date Rating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "From the Ashes of Tragedy" February 2, 2016 2.0 5.11[3] 1.6 3.86 3.6 8.97[28]
2 "The Run of His Life" February 9, 2016 1.5 3.89[4] 1.9 4.37 3.4 8.26[29]
3 "The Dream Team" February 16, 2016 1.3 3.33[5] 1.6 3.45 2.9 6.78[30]
4 "100% Not Guilty" February 23, 2016 1.3 2.99[6] 1.4 3.35 2.7 6.34[31]
5 "The Race Card" March 1, 2016 1.1 2.72[7] 2.0 4.28 3.1 7.00[32]
6 "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" March 8, 2016 1.2 3.00 [8] 1.8 4.03 3.0 7.03[33]
7 "Conspiracy Theories" March 15, 2016 1.2 2.89 [9] 1.7 3.88 2.9 6.77[34]

AccoladesEdit

Year Association Category Nominated artist/work Result
2016 BET Awards 2016[35]
Best Actor Courtney B. Vance Nominated
68th Primetime Emmy Awards[36]
Outstanding Limited Series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Courtney B. Vance Won
Cuba Gooding Jr. Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Sarah Paulson Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Sterling K. Brown Won
David Schwimmer Nominated
John Travolta Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Ryan Murphy (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
John Singleton (for "The Race Card") Nominated
Anthony Hemingway (for "Manna from Heaven") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
Joe Robert Cole (for "The Race Card") Nominated
D. V. DeVincentis (for "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia") Won
68th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards[36]
Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special Jeanne McCarthy, Nicole Abellera Hallman, Courtney Bright, and Nicole Daniels Won
Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie Nelson Cragg (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series, or Movie Hala Bahmet, Marina Ray, and Elinor Bardach (for "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia") Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or Movie Chris Clark, Natalie Driscoll, Shay Sanford-Fong, and Katrina Chevalier Won
Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic) Eryn Krueger Mekash, Zoe Hay, Heather Plott, Deborah Huss Humphries, Luis Garcia, and Becky Cotton Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie Adam Penn (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
C. Chi-Yoon Chung (for "The Race Card") Won
Stewart Schill (for "The Verdict") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie Doug Andham, Joe Earle, and John Bauman (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Won
32nd TCA Awards[37]
Program of the Year The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Won
Individual Achievement in Drama Sarah Paulson Won
Courtney B. Vance Nominated
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards[38] Best Movie/Limited Series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Best Actor in a Movie/Limited Series Courtney B. Vance Won
Cuba Gooding, Jr. Nominated
Best Actress in a Movie/Limited Series Sarah Paulson Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Limited Series Sterling K. Brown Won
John Travolta Nominated
2017 74th Golden Globe Awards[39] Best Limited Series or Television Film The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Best Actor – Limited Series or Television Film Courtney B. Vance Nominated
Best Actress – Limited Series or Television Film Sarah Paulson Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or Television Film Sterling K. Brown Nominated
John Travolta Nominated
21st Satellite Awards[40] Best Miniseries or Television Film The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film Courtney B. Vance Nominated
Cuba Gooding, Jr. Nominated
Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Film Sarah Paulson Won
Writers Guild of America Awards[41] Long Form – Adapted Scott Alexander, Joe Robert Cole, D.V. DeVincentis, Maya Forbes, Larry Karaszewski, and Wally Wolodarsky Won
American Film Institute Awards 2016[42] Top 10 Television Programs The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards[43] Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series Sterling K. Brown Nominated
Courtney B. Vance Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series Sarah Paulson Won
ACE Eddie Awards 2017[44] Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television Adam Penn, Stewart Schill and C. Chi-yoon Chung (for "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia") Nominated
21st Art Directors Guild Awards[45] Excellence in Production Design for a Television Movie or Limited Series Jeffrey Mossa (for "100% Not Guilty",” “"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia",” "“Manna From Heaven") Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards 2017[46] Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, D.V. DeVincentis, Anthony Hemingway, Alexis Martin Woodall, John Travolta, Chip Vucelich Won
Cinema Audio Society Awards 2017[47] Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Television Movie or Mini-Series John Bauman, Joe Earle, Doug Andham, Judah Getz and John Guentner Won
Society of Camera Operators Awards[48] Camera Operator of the Year – Television Andrew Mitchell Won
British Academy Television Awards[49] Best International Program Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson Won

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