Ryan Murphy is a very polarizing creator. His shows include Popular, Glee, Nip/Tuck, and American Horror Story. The problem with his shows is that they rely heavily on stereotypes. So, when it was announced that he was set to produce a new anthology series entitled American Crime Story, you could only guess that it was going to be big.
The first season focuses on the O.J. Simpson trial. For those of you who are either too young or too shortsighted to remember, Orenthal James Simpson was accused of murdering his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Coleman, in the summer of 1994. Simpson is questioned by police and denies everything. He later infamously flees in a white bronco with law enforcement in hot pursuit while we’re treated to “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. All of this happens within the first episode!
The show covers the entire trial from the beginning to the end. Sarah Paulson turns in a superb performance as lead prosecutor Marcia Clark, who is going through a divorce at the time of the trial and wears four wigs throughout the series run. She clearly wants that Emmy/Golden Globe nomination. John Travolta (and his melting face) portrays Robert Shapiro, a member of the defense team, with “Charlie’s Angels” actress Cheryl Ladd appearing as his wife Linell. Courtney B. Vance, husband of actress Angela Bassett, appears as lead defense lawyer Johnnie “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” Cochran. Cuba Gooding, Jr. turns in a rather solid performance as O.J. Simpson, and “Friends” actor David Schwimmer portrays Robert Kardashian. Yes, sadly, the pointless Kardashian clan is indeed tied to this trial, as their father was the lead defense attorney on the case. Selma Blair portrays everyone’s favorite “mommager” Kris Jenner, with Connie Britton as her best friend and severe alcoholic, Faye Resnick. Billy Magnussen plays Kato Kaelin: all you need to really know about him is that he was a stoner who was crashing at the Simpsons’ home the night that Nicole died.
The show provides an interesting mix of fact versus fiction, and it really shows how the detectives and the D.A.’s office were able to create what they thought was a solid case, only to watch it fall to pieces before their eyes. For example, did you know that O.J. locked himself inside Kim Kardashian’s bedroom threatening to kill himself with a gun? That’s in here. The large number of pizza orders while the infamous car chase is happening on screen? That also actually happened. And that Beastie Boys song that plays in the white bronco during the chase? It was actually playing on the radio at that time.
What’s that you ask? The verdict? Well, if you must know, O.J. was found not guilty, which sparked a debate that still goes on to this day. Did he really do it? We may never know for sure. Regardless, this is a fun series to watch, and it contains all of the moments that made the trial infamous. The one complaint I had about this series? The Kardashians got another show.