Much has been made of Robert Kardashian’s uneasiness with O.J. Simpson in the last couple of weeks of American Crime Story: People vs. O.J. Simpson. In last week’s episode, Kardashian seemed to come to terms with the fact that Simpson was guilty, telling his wife, Kris Jenner, that he was done with O.J. after the trial. In this week’s season finale, Kardashian seems to be the voice of reason on the defense: He was sickened by the verdict (and was seen throwing up in the bathroom after the verdict was read), felt intensely uncomfortable about driving Simpson home afterwards, and ultimately left O.J.’s party after Simpson suggested he would put his resources toward finding the “real killer.”
The Robert Kardashian depicted in People vs. O.J. Simpson, however, might seem different than the one many may remember from the actual trial. In tonight’s season finale, a clip of Barbara Walters interviewing Robert Shapiro can be seen. In that same hour, Walters also interviewed Robert Kardashian, who betrayed none of what was suggested in People vs. O.J. Simpson.
“Barbara, I have been in business with this man,” Kardashian said. “I have known this man for 25 years, he has never lied to me, and I believed him [when he said he was innocent], and that’s why I have been by his side throughout this whole ordeal.” Kardashian also added that he would be helping Simpson find the real murderer, though they had no theories on what it might be.
Clearly, based on the interview, Kardashian had no reservations about Simpson’s innocence at the time, but that doesn’t mean that People vs. O.J. Simpson was inaccurate. In fact, writers and showrunners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski admitted that, in the final episode, they attempted to condense some of what happened well after the trial into the series, as they apparently did with Kardashian.
It is true that Robert Kardashian and O.J. Simpson had a falling out. It is also true that Kardashian began to express doubts about Simpson’s innocence. Only a year after Simpson was acquitted, Kardashian admitted, “I have doubts” in another interview with Barbara Walters. He also suggested he would testify against Simpson if called to do so in Simpson’s wrongful death lawsuit.
Moreover, his wife Kris Jenner, admitted that her then-husband was surprised by the not guilty verdict. “I think he was shocked,” she told ABC News. “He was definitely stunned. I mean you could look at his face and see it. I’ve known him my entire life. I know that like he was … he was floored that that was the verdict.”
Kardashian never publicly admitted that he thought Simpson was guilty, but he also never reconnected with Simpson after the trial, refusing even to accept a call from Simpson while Kardashian was dying of cancer.
Kardashian passed away in 2003.