Friday, December 16, 2016

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

I am old enough that I not only remember the O.J. Simpson arrest and trial, but lived through it as an adult. I distinctly remember where I was when O.J. went on the lam on the 405 with a gun to his head and buddy A.C Cowlings driving the white Bronco. It was the summer after my second year of law school, so I was enjoying life as a summer associate. In those days, large law firms would woo law students with a bit of work, good pay, nice lunches, and lots of fun activities. That fateful day, I was river rafting in Kern County with the other summer associates and few actual lawyers from the firm. We finished the first run, and the guide told us that O.J. was on the run. "No way," we thought, but afterward, we went to get BBQ ribs and sat transfixed while watching a replay of the day's events.

The trial started halfway through the fall semester of my third year of law school and lasted until after I'd graduated, finished the bar exam, and started my clerkship with a federal judge in Los Angeles, just down the street from the county courthouse. I went to law school in the Bay Area, but even there the case was a big enough deal that one of the local channels aired live trial footage in the morning. By the time I moved down to L.A. in August, I couldn't escape the trial even if I'd wanted to, which of course I didn't. Every weeknight after finishing work, I'd rush home and catch the special 30 minute news show that one of the local channels devoted entirely to the case. Meanwhile, the federal judge whom I was clerking for frequently told lawyers in his court that things in his courtroom would not be run like the trial "over there."

I bring all of this up as a way of explaining why it might be surprising that I am utterly engrossed in "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson," which aired earlier in the year on FX, but which I just bought on DVD (because I got rid of cable a few years ago). I'm surprised that I'm so engrossed in it! I thought I had totally consumed my fill of this story 20 years ago, and yet, within the first five minutes of "American Crime Story," I was riveted to the TV. A lot of credit goes, of course, to the producers, writers, and actors. (Except John Travolta's portrayal of Robert Shapiro, so far at least, is really weird.)

I'm only through the first two episodes (out of 10), but I am hooked!

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