HOLLYWOOD—There has been buzz about “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson” television mini-series for months and I’ve been eagerly waiting for it to arrive. Yes, after years of what many expected to be a TV movie suited for the big screen, audiences will get an inside view of one of the most controversial verdicts in American History: O.J. Simpson was found not guilty for the murders of his wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
This mini-series which is helmed by “American Horror Story” and “Scream Queens” creator Ryan Murphy is a juicy piece of television. I mean it has all the mixings of what would be one of the most decisive movies of all time and the performances delivered by this all-star cast is sensational. I mean when you think of perfect casting, nothing, and I mean nothing gets better than this.
We have Cuba Gooding Jr. as the famed football star whose life spirals, John Travolta as attorney Robert Shapiro and oh, does Travolta fit the shoes perfectly. Can’t forget about David Schwimmer as attorney Robert Kardashian, Sarah Paulson as a dead ringer for prosecutor Marcia Clark and there is also Courtney B. Vance who sinks his teeth into the role as famed attorney Johnnie Cochran. There are many more players in the mix, but remember these names here because they can all be contenders for countless and I mean countless awards come awards season for 2017.
It’s important to note that this mini-series is not a question of guilty vs. not guilty its more an examination of the inner workings of precisely what transpired to making this one of those stories, a trial and a verdict that left America captivated for months. I mean I was a bit young when the events transpired, but I do vividly remember watching live TV as O.J. Simpson led police on a slow, but steady chase in his white Bronco on the freeway. I mean how could a 10-year-old not be glued to the television when the rest of the world was?
What Murphy and the rest of the gang do quite well here is not waste time with establishing these notable characters that have become household names. Yes, I will admit that Cuba Gooding Jr. was not the first person I pegged to portray O.J. Simpson, but it’s a role that viewers will get to see play out even more as the episodes continue to air. We have all this information presented to us that clearly points to Simpson being the aggressor and playing a role in the death of his wife and her friend. However, you’re left asking the question how in the hell didn’t the police connect all the dots, because they are clearly laid out to be viewed in all of its epic glory.
The opening scene chronicles the LA Riots and the beating of Rodney King. Not sure of what Murphy and the gang was hoping to do with such a montage of scenes, there, but it immediately moves to Mr. Simpson leaving his home for a golf trip, and looking quite lost to say the least. The events leading up to the discovery of Nicole and Ron’s bodies is something out of a movie. Gripping, you can’t even take your eyes off the TV screen. The series does a phenomenal job of capturing the glitz of the media and their desire to want to know all the ins and outs of this epic case.
Vance is scary as Cochran and infused vitality to a man that captivated so many Americans. Watching the police question Simpson made it clear that tons of hiccups were made during the investigation process. Seeing Simpson flipped out while watching the media coverage, and rather his counsel was providing proper representation gave an inside viewer of just what the famed football player was grappling with.
Travolta’s ability to capture all the mannerisms of Mr. Shapiro proved once again how impactful perfect casting can be when making a movie. Watching the funeral sequence might have been one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever watched; I mean this is a time of mourning yet, the media frenzy would not allow otherwise.
Things are so polarizing; I’m second guessing myself from one scene to the next. Did he do it? Did he not do it? Why did he do it? Who knew? Then we get that intense scene between Robert, and O.J. was destined to fire a bullet into his head, with a ton of chaos emerging around him. The episode ended in climatic fashion with Simpson taking off in that famed White Ford Bronco.
If the first episode is any testament of what the remaining nine episodes will provide to viewers, we are indeed in for the ride of a life-time. “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.