I fear trying to keep up with all the reviews, observations, punditry about the FX miniseries based oh-so loosely on the 1995 O.J .Simpson murder trial is going to become a round-the-clock effort. My email inbox is crammed with Google News Alerts I set for O.J. Simpson way back in 2008 before my book, Anatomy of a Trial, was published.
Here are some excerpts in one from yesterday:
Excerpt 1) “…three categories: those who remember all the details of the trial, those who don’t know anything at all, and those who (like me) remember enough to be delighted by the references and cameos, but have forgotten enough that the bizarre truths become freshly frustrating. But it’s exactly this story’s bizarre nature that makes Ryan Murphy’s ambitions new anthology series refreshingly not like a Ryan Murphy series at all. It is, perhaps surprisingly, understated and played straight (almost), being based off of Jeffrey Toobin’s nonfiction book The Run of His Life. The facts speak for themselves,”
So much flies in the face here, such as:
- “those who remember all the details of the trial” Who the heck can do that? I was there every day and even I can’t remember every detail. I took notes when court was in session and during every meeting I had with the trial judge, Lance Ito, which was daily and generally several times a day. And I kept daily written and audio journals.
- “those who … remember enough to be delighted by the references and cameos, but have forgotten enough that the bizarre truths become freshly frustrating.” Many of the ‘bizzare truths’ weren’t. They were misrepresentations of events, people and/or intentions. There were, indeed, bizarre truths about and related to the trial, but they were not reported by the media.
- “Ryan Murphy’s ambitions new anthology series” Anthology?
- “ Jeffrey Toobin’s nonfiction book” Not nonfiction. Nonfiction-fiction hybrid.
Excerpt 2) “Speaking of parody, there are a few winking moments included in the series that work through a knowing hindsight, like Judge Ito’s (Kenneth Choi) preoccupation with celebrity…”
Judge Ito’s (Kenneth Choi) preoccupation with celebrity…” Not! I am well aware of how he was portrayed by the news media. Most of it was misrepresented to flat out not true. The best way to understand Ito and his ‘preoccupations’ is to read Anatomy of a Trial.
Excerpt 3) “…the trial essentially being conducted to the public nightly through Larry King Live.” Again, Not! Ir boggles my mind how people can make such specious and ridiculous assertions. King having members of the media who were covering the trial, legal pundits and people associated with the trial participants, no matter how faintly, on his show was a far cry from conducting the trial there. Saying/writing such a thing is just ignorant.
I’ve read several times that this is “the first dramatization of the Simpson trial.” No, it isn’t. In November 2000, CBS showed a four hour TV movie over two nights, “An American Tragedy,” based on Lawrence Schiller’s book. It was also directed by Schiller.
Ving Rhames played Johnnie Cochran, with Ron Silver as Robert Shapiro and Bruno Kirby as Barry Scheck.
By the way, 20th Century Fox Television produced the 2000 TV movie.