Race has played a big role in THE PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON since the very beginning. But with this week’s episode titled “The Race Card”, it should come as no surprise that the focus on race starts to heat up as trial begins.
We get another look at the racial instability of Los Angeles as Johnnie gets pulled over and handcuffed by a cop for allegedly changing lanes without signalling while driving his two daughters to dinner. Later, he goes on television to declare that he believes Chris Darden was brought on the prosecutors’ team to appeal to the largely African American jury.
Then there’s the final prep meetings with the various teams on either side. Over at Johnnie’s office there’s still lingering tensions between Bob and Lee, with Bob declaring Lee a Judas who told the media that he was in over his head. But Johnnie has taken over the defence and Bob is forced to suck up his hostility.
It’s fascinating to see the two sides discuss trial strategy. The prosecution wants to focus on the escalating pattern of domestic abuse that OJ displayed against Nicole, while the defence brings a motion to have that information thrown out. Marcia also believes that their is overwhelming physical evidence against OJ, while Lee believes that the way in which that evidence was gathered and handled gives them leverage to disprove it.
And, most interestingly, Johnnie believes none of that matters at all. According to him, “Evidence doesn’t win the day. Jurors go with the narrative that makes sense. We’re here to tell a story. Our job is to tell that story better than the other side tells theirs.”
Meanwhile, Mark Fuhrman starts to occupy a more central role in the story as Darden interviews him. According to Darden, Fuhrman is saying all the right things, but there’s something about him that has Darden convinced that putting him on the stand is the wrong idea. And, frankly, you’ll agree in the final moments of the episode.
Finally, enter Dominic Dunne, the Hollywood columnist who covered the trial for Vanity Fair magazine and was granted a permanent seat in the courtroom thanks to Judge Ito. Seeing him and his high society friends discuss the case is a fascinating juxtaposition to media and demonstrators outside the courthouse as trial begins.
Don’t miss an all new episode of THE PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.