“Everyone thinks they know the story.”
That’s the truth behind why when many of us first heard about American Crime Story taking on the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder case; the first thought we had was, “WHY?” Much of America already saw the whole thing play out in real life, so why would we want to relive it?
“It’s not really about O.J. Simpson, the man, it’s really about the case itself and the lawyers on both sides.” In other words, ACS isn’t a dramatic recreation of the trial we may have watched on television; it’s to let us in on what happened “offscreen.” And, that does sound an interesting premise. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Serial and the Steven Avery case, it’s that we’re a nation of knowledge mongers, hungry for every scrap of untold information we can get our hands on, so we can make our own determinations about innocence and guilt. You say we saw it all, but we don’t know the half of it? Open up those yarn wall doors and let us in.
If you’re young enough to not know the basics, or were oblivious to the events that followed the discovery of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman’s bodies outside O.J.’s ex-wife’s condo, it’s easy enough to read up on the case online. Following the white Bronco chase seen ‘round the world, O.J. surrendered himself and many months later, his televised murder trial played out for all to see. On the heels of Rodney King’s beating by the L.A.P.D, the incredible and outrageous acquittal of the officers involved and the riots that followed, public interest was all the more intense; faced with our continued intolerance, it’ll be interesting to follow the conversation as this series airs.
Here are the main ACS players, and the amazing group of actors portraying them.
O.J. Simpson, played by Cuba Gooding Jr.
Defendant and abusive ex-husband of Nicole Brown (victim).
Marcia Clark, played by Sarah Paulson
Lead prosecutor, along with Christopher Darden
Christopher Darden, played by Sterling K. Brown
Co-counsel for the prosecution, infamous for suggesting O.J. try on the bloody glove that didn’t fit.
Johnnie Cochran, played by Courtney B. Vance
Lead counsel for the defense, famously told the jury about that bloody glove, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”.
Robert Shapiro, played by John Travolta
Co-counsel (initially the lead) for the defense.
Robert Kardashian, played by David Schwimmer
Defense attorney and O.J.’s best friend.
F. Lee Bailey, played by Nathan Lane
Lance Ito, played by Kenneth Choi
Faye Resnick, played by Connie Britton
Personal friend of Nicole Brown Simpson, testified about O.J.’s abuse of Nicole.
Gil Garcetti, played by Bruce Greenwood
District Attorney for Los Angeles County.
Mark Fuhrman, played by Steven Pasquale
L.A.P.D. detective assigned to the Simpson case, accused of planting evidence, perjury, and outed and publicly condemned as racist during the course of the trial.
Kato Kaelin, played by Billy Magnussen
Witness and hapless guest of O.J. who was living on Simpson’s property at the time of the murder and trial.
Denise Brown, played by Jordana Brewster
Sister of Nicole Brown.
Kris Kardashian, played by Selma Blair
Robert’s wife, and personal friend of the Simpsons.
Here’s the first look at American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, which airs on FX tonight at 10 p.m. EST.
ACS is created by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, executive produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, and also stars Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Cheryl Ladd, Evan Handler, Robert Morse and Rob Morrow.