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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Show Review: ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’

“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” premiered on FX in February 2016. The show garnered critical success, winning nine Primetime Emmy Awards. PUBLIC DOMAIN

More than a year after its cable premiere, the FX show “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” has finally been added to Netflix.

The miniseries, which has garnered numerous awards and nominations, dramatizes the already dramatic and infamous O.J. Simpson murder case that riveted the nation in 1995. With its powerful cast and never-ending deluge of excitement, “The People v. O.J. Simpson” is binge-worthy enough to be a welcomed addition to the Netflix library.

Developed by screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the show chronicles one of the the most publicized criminal cases in history from the perspectives of both the Los Angeles prosecution team and Simpson’s defense team, which was known as the “Dream Team” for its collection of high-profile and powerful lawyers.

On the prosecution’s side, “American Horror Story” actress Sarah Paulson stars as Marcia Clark, the head prosecutor who finds herself battling the media as well as Simpson’s defense. Sterling K. Brown is particularly poignant as Chris Darden, a lawyer who joins the prosecution and becomes troubled by the racial controversy that surrounds the trial.

On Simpson’s team, Courtney B. Vance is electric as the outspoken Johnnie Cochran, while John Travolta schemes as celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro. Even “Friends” star David Schwimmer gives a devastating performance as Robert Kardashian, Simpson’s close friend and defense attorney who slowly begins to suspect him of being guilty of the murders.

Although “The People v. O.J. Simpson” shines in its acting, some performances fell short of expectations. Cuba Gooding Jr. is not especially noteworthy as the charismatic O.J. Simpson, and Travolta’s permanently scrunched face can take some getting used to.

While the first few episodes are full of suspense, focusing on the immediate aftermath of the murders, the twists and turns of the trial itself truly enhance the show’s gripping and intense style of entertainment. In fact, some of the interplay and outbursts between the prosecution and the defense proved more riveting than Simpson’s police chase.

What’s even more compelling is that much of what the show depicts is true, although there are, of course, characters and moments that are fictionalized through heavy dramatization. Overall, “The People v. O.J. Simpson” is an absorbing entry into the courtroom drama genre.

The first season of the crime anthology series “American Crime Story” proved to be a critical and commercial success, and three more seasons are currently in development, though these next seasons will not continue the stories of O.J. Simpson or those involved in this case. Still, several actors, including Paulson and Vance, are set to return for season two, which will center on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to Deadline.

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