Each Wednesday, I will break down FX’s ‘The People vs. O.J. Simpson,’ a fictional crime thriller set in 1990s Los Angeles, with the hopes of finding out who dun it. Up first, Episode 1: From the Ashes of Tragedy.
I gotta say, things do not look good for our main protagonist, The Juice, at the end of Episode 1. The Juice is a former sports superstar, beloved by both his friends and the citizens of L.A., but right now, he’s also the prime suspect in a double homicide. You see, at the beginning of the episode, The Juice’s ex-wife was found brutally murdered, alongside an unidentified male. When police went to notify The Juice about her death, they found drops of blood on a car at his house, as well as on the path leading up to the door.
Certainly suspicious, indeed, and when presented with this knowledge, it was enough for prosecutors to began reviewing The Juice’s files. Turns out he’s got a history of spousal abuse.
In the interrogation room, The Juice is evasive, unable to explain away a cut on his hand, or entirely account for his actions the evening of the murders.
And while good friends rush to the defense of The Juice, other witnesses come forward to place him at the scene of the crime.
Not only that, The Juice failed a polygraph test his lawyers administered. The episode ends with the whereabouts of The Juice unknown, as he appears to flee two cops who are ready to arrest him and charge him with his ex-wife’s murder, leaving behind his bumbling law team of Rob and Bob.
Have You SEEN THE JUICE?
The case against The Juice:
The evidence presented is admittedly strong, but that might just be the showrunner, Ryan Murphy, setting us up for some twists and turns later on in the season. We’ve still got four episodes to go! That said, there’s The Juice’s limo driver, who claimed the SUV, which a woman saw at the scene of the crime, wasn’t initially there when he arrived to take The Juice to the airport.
The cut on his finger, too, stuck with me. That seems to match an offhand remark made by a crime scene investigator that whoever committed the murders likely suffered a wound in the process, also on the left hand.
There’s also the African American lawyer, who seems to have his wits about him. (I’m guessing he plays a crucial role later, perhaps helping the African American prosecutor he met with at the beginning of the show.) He says outright that the case is a loser.
The case for The Juice:
The Juice certainly seems upset when he finds out his wife was murdered, and immediately departs a work trip to come back. If he was a suspect trying to flee a murder, that wouldn’t be too smart, and I’m starting to think The Juice is a pretty smart guy.
He also willingly goes and speaks to investigators without the aid of a lawyer, which again, doesn’t seem to me like the actions of a guilty man. Moreover, a distraught The Juice attends the funeral of his murdered wife. If you murdered your wife, would you ever, ever attend her funeral? With all her friends? Not a chance.
Also, the cops seem to settle on him as a suspect just a little too fast for my liking. Like they didn’t even look at anyone else.
So did The Juice do it?
This was certainly a stellar episode, really setting us up for a season that I think will be a rollercoaster. The cliffhanger of The Juice leaving the cops was certainly good, and I can’t wait to find out where he goes (my guess is he’s on the way to the station, wanting to clear things up with the female district attorney in person). But I’ll say, the fact that he wrote a suicide note before he left leaves me terribly conflicted about his innocence.
The Verdict: No, The Juice didn’t do it.
Check back next Wednesday for our recap of Episode Two, and let me know in the comments if you think The Juice did it. I can’t wait to find out.
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