Review – The People vs. OJ Simpson

FX Simpson
Well worth a binge-watching weekend to get caught up

When I heard that John Travolta was producing a series on the OJ Simpson trial, I have to admit, I cringed.  On one hand, I was encouraged that it would be a TV series rather than a movie.  After all, the investigation and trial was long, and a simple movie wouldn’t do it justice.

The part of me that cringed was conjuring the memories of that trial and wondering if Hollywood would do it justice.  How far could or would Tinseltown stray from reality to sensationalize the story or outright skew it?

What was also running through my mind was the memory of how that trial exposed publicly for all America to see, just how divided we were along racial lines.  It was not just a murder trial.  It was a defining moment.  What we are witnessing today with the racial divides in our nation and the tension and conflict it fosters all can be traced back to the moment when the jury verdict was read.

I’ve read a few books on the trial but am by no means an expert.  What I can say is this, the show is pretty riveting.  The casting is fantastic and the dialogue should earn the writers an Emmy nomination.  There were a lot of things I had plain forgotten that this series brought back to my mind.

The acting is good.  Cuba Gooding Jr. is solid as OJ, almost making you feel a bit sorry for him (almost!)  Maybe sorry isn’t the right word…perhaps pathetic is better.  Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey was a surprise, because he plays the role perfectly.

My only critique of the series so far is that there seems to be a lot of emphasis on the Kardashians.  David Schwimmer plays Robert Kardashian and I have to admit, I never liked him as an actor.  Playing the father of the evil Kardashion hell-spawn is probably well suited to him.  The writers play up on the children a lot when in reality, they shouldn’t have even been cast for parts in this series – their roles being so inconsequential.

True pundits will point out that some of the dialogue is off-base or outright made up. There are scenes that seem fictionalized or speculative.  I’m not taking the time to pick apart the series line by line.  It is fairly accurate – which is incredible.  And the characters look eerily similar to their real-life counterparts – especially the actress playing Marcia Clark.

As a true crime author I am enjoying the series so far and it offers hope that Hollywood can be relatively accurate in portraying real-life events.  For those of us that are in the genre, this series presents new opportunities for some great stories to find new audiences on TV.

Hats off to FX!  This is a hit.



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