American Crime Story: ‘The Race Card’ Review

American Crime Story 'It's Time To Play A Game'

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Johnnie Cochran (quoting MLK)

American Crime Story played the race card with its latest episode, appropriately titled ‘The Race Card’. We learned a lot more about the defense team’s ridiculous plans to get OJ out of this mess and this is certainly one case/trial that is full of twists and turns. The big surprises this time around revolved around the fact that Hodgman collapsed during opening statements, the defense team somehow was able to redecorate OJ’s home prior to the jury visit and that shocking ending which suggested that Mark Fuhrman is a Nazi. Oh, and also, what was the deal with Mr. Dunne? That guy was fucked.

At least the trial has finally started but I wish we got to spend more time in the courtroom. I’m excited to learn more about the actual evidence in this case rather than watching the defense team lie about everything in order to win this case. While I appreciate Johnnie’s dedication to his client, I’m starting to think he’s one of the most unethical lawyers ever and I just don’t understand how people can perform this job knowing that they are likely setting a murderer free. It scares the fuck out of me that people can be like this and it should scare you too.

I’m glad this series is providing us with some insight on race as it pertains to the criminal justice system. It is certainly opening up a discussion that we should all take part in and I hope this opens people’s minds to the fact that these things happen every day. But I also find it super ironic because this was one case where race should have never been an issue in the first place. When you consider all of the evidence in the case, it remains clear that OJ probably committed these murders so it’s absolutely bat shit crazy that race played such a major role in determining the outcome. Can anyone believe this all actually happened for real? This was literally made for television in every way.

Now, let’s get off of OJ’s bench, grab some Hamburger Hamlet and enjoy the review, fellow ACS fans!

Story Time

Things get started with a flashback to 1982 with Johnnie and his daughters getting pulled over by the cops. Obviously this was meant to show us why Cochran is so passionate about the race card and who can blame the guy? Johnnie has been pulled over numerous times for no reason and it’s obvious that he is being targeted by the police because of the color of his skin just like many other African Americans. I still can’t even believe this kind of thing happens in society and it totally makes me loathe law enforcement.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, Hamburger Hamlet awaits.”

It was also revealed that Johnnie used to work for the DA’s office but I can totally understand why he decided to switch to criminal defense given his own personal experiences with discrimination and I think this is why he’s so passionate about OJ’s plight.

Back in the present, Johnnie has an interview with the media and he completely rips on his former colleague Chris Darden, suggesting that the DA’s office is using him as a tool because he’s black. This couldn’t be further from the truth but Johnnie means business when it comes to defending his clients and he will do everything in his power to win this case regardless of whether OJ is guilty or not.

Both the defense and prosecution are super busy preparing their cases and we learned quite a bit about what the focus will be at trial. The DA appears to be emphasizing the fact that OJ had a history of domestic violence with an unbelievable 62 instances of Simpson beating, degrading and stalking Nicole over the course of their 17-year relationship. We also learned that Shapiro is the type of person that holds grudges and he’s still uber pissed with F. Lee Bailey. Bailey, however, ain’t taking his shit:

“Why don’t you blow it out your ass, Bob.”

The defense seems to think that the DA won’t call Mark Fuhrman to the stand due to the fact that he’s a super racist and I’m not sure why Marcia was so gung-ho about having him take the stand. It didn’t make a lot of sense and it actually hurt their case in the end but this is what actually happened, folks. Lawyers and their stupid egos, right? I also find it hilarious that our legal system literally comes down to who tells the better story.

Murder Trials: May the best storyteller win

Darden really thinks that Fuhrman should not be taking the stand because he’s one of those people that thinks you can’t see how he really feels because he acts polite. Sorry Marcia, just because someone acts polite doesn’t mean they aren’t a shady racist asshole. Darden is absolutely correct by suggesting that that they sit Fuhrman out regardless of the fact that he was the one who found the bloody glove but, unfortunately, Marcia disagrees with him.

We also got a really bizarre introduction to Mr. Dominick Dunne, a writer for Vanity Fair. Mr. Dunne’s daughter, Dominique, was murdered in 1982 (she was best known for her part in the movie Poltergeist) and Judge Ito has reserved a seat for him beside the Goldman’s for the length of the trial since he would likely be able to sympathize with them, having gone through similar circumstances. But things get really fucking weird when we catch up with Mr. Dunne having a dinner party and sharing all of the juicy details from the OJ trial.

American Horror Story: The OJ Simpson Trial

This was probably the strangest thing I’ve seen on this series so far. I mean, a dinner party to gossip about the case? These people are fucked.

While we don’t know if anything being said is true, Mr. Dunne explains to his socialite friends that Nicole always returned to OJ over and over again, possibly because of her parents who had pushed her to reconcile with him every time they split. To make matters worse for Nicole, OJ had allegedly set her father up with a Hertz dealership. Yup, money can buy anything. But really, who else thought this was weird as shit? I understand that people everywhere were talking about this case as it was unavoidable, but did people really do this? I hope not.

Outlandish, Unfortunate and Unwarranted

At the Pre-Trial Motion, Darden confronts Cochran about his behavior and asks him to be respectful for the remainder of the trial. But clearly, Johnnie is an asshole and doesn’t care too much about maintaining friendships. His only goal is to win and this is probably why most lawyers don’t have very many friends.

Cochran. A Motherfucker

I guess we now know why Marcia referred to Johnnie as a motherfucker. This guy is clearly a heartless bastard and, as much as I appreciate his passion for the job, he obviously didn’t have very many friends because this is not how you’re supposed to treat people, especially considering these two used to work together.

The defense has submitted a motion to exclude all 62 allegations of domestic violence. I have to admit, this is a pretty ballsy move by the defense but I don’t see how in the hell this pattern of abuse gets excluded from the trial. That would be an injustice in and of itself. Darden takes the floor as well, and he knows exactly what the defense has planned for Fuhrman so he asks the court to ensure the ‘N’ word is not used during the course of the trial since it would impair the jurors judgment and blind them to the truth. While Darden might be right about this, I don’t know if he went about it the right way and, as we know, this blows up in the DA’s face. While I found this fairly interesting, I think I share OJ’s reaction:

OJ's reaction to Darden

Cochran is obviously pissed at the suggestion that African Americans collectively are so emotionally unstable that they cannot hear offensive words without losing their moral sense of right and wrong. And he’s not wrong. This was a HUGE mistake by the prosecution and I have to take Johnnie’s side here. This scene was so fucking powerful though and really set the tone for the rest of the episode. Johnnie is definitely throwing around that race card left, right and center.

Later, while preparing his opening statement, Johnnie gets a phone call from Carl Douglas who lets him know that Shapiro didn’t submit twelve witnesses into discovery. For those that know nothing about law, this is a huge fucking no-no. The whole premise of discovery is to avoid surprises at trial and so this was a pretty big blunder for the defense. Of course, Johnnie says ‘fuck it’ and refuses to remove the names from his opening statement. Apparently, morals and ethics had no presence on OJ’s defense team.

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