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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

TV Rewind | The People v OJ Simpson: True crime done right

Premiering in 2016, American Crime Story's anthology format kicked off with one of the most high profile cases of the 90s, which has also become a part of pop culture.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: June 8, 2020 8:26:07 am
tv rewind people vs oj The 10-episode series was based on the real-life double homicide case for which OJ Simpson was put on trial.

The first season of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s America Crime Story was highly anticipated at the time because it looked like one of the most promising works based on the OJ Simpson case. And so it was. Premiering in 2016, American Crime Story’s anthology format kicked off with one of the most high profile cases of the 90s, which has also become a part of pop culture.

What is The People v OJ Simpson all about?

For those who don’t know, the events of this show were inspired by the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman for which Nicole’s ex-husband, American footballer OJ Simpson was put on trial.

In the ten episodes of the show, we see the case unfold, right from the murder to the trial, and how OJ got away with it. OJ’s trial was closely followed by the media because of his celebrity status and turned out to be one of the biggest events of the 90s. People tuned in to watch the court proceedings live on television and were quite invested in the proceedings. On the show, it is implied that race relations played a big part in this case.

The show is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson.

What works for The People v OJ Simpson?

If you are familiar with the case, or have even heard about it, this story is proof that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’. While the actual events unfolded on live television in the 90s, for the generation now, it is the closest retelling of the story. The makers here did not make big noticeable changes to the plot which was a big plus for the show.

people v oj simpson case The People v OJ Simpson won nine Primetime Emmy Awards.

Another thing that worked wonders for this marvellous show was its casting. Of course, Cuba Gooding Jr couldn’t match up to the physicality of OJ, but his acting more than made up for it. With actors like Sterling K Brown, Sarah Paulson, Courtney B Vance, David Schwimmer and John Travolta in significant roles, the show was so well cast that it engaged you instantly.

Best bits from The People v OJ Simpson

All my knowledge about this case came from documentaries and the eventual spiral that sets in after watching a good documentary that makes you read almost everything on that particular subject. And so, going in, I knew all about the big plot points of this story and the show delivered just as I had expected.

The Bronco chase that had OJ Simpson running from the police was a televised event with people watching from their homes. The show built enough tension and recreated the chase that has since been seen by many on video platforms.

At the trial, there was huge anticipation over OJ trying the single glove that was found at the crime scene. Pulling this kind of stunt in an actual trial could be termed filmy, but in the show, it enhanced the dramatic tension.

The story here hinged on a lot of cliffhangers, and even though the case is largely in public knowledge, the makers managed to create a lot of tension.

Laurels

After the ten-episode series aired in 2016, the show was nominated for 22 Primetime Emmy Awards. They managed to win nine of those awards which made it the highest winning show in that year. The show also won two Golden Globes.

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The People v OJ Simpson is streaming on Netflix.

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