Did O.J. Do It? Breaking Down Episode 5 Of ‘The People Vs. O.J. Simpson’
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 determining just who dun it. Today, Episode 5: The Race Card.
Oh man. Oh man, oh man, oh man. After weeks and weeks of build up, the trial is finally here, and our protagonist, The Juice, is getting his day in court. Last night’s episode, The Race Card, begins with both the defense and prosecution presenting separate narratives of the murders
On the one hand, the district attorney’s office believes The Juice’s history of domestic violence clearly shows he had the motive and disposition to commit the heinous crime. The defense thinks otherwise, that the police too quickly zeroed in on a suspect, and then shaped the evidence to back up their belief in The Juice’s guilt.
Chris, the black third chair in the case for the DA, preps a cop he believes to be a bad witness, someone who could sink the case. Back in the courtroom, the teams trade arguments about what should and shouldn’t be admitted in the case, with Chris getting trounced in an argument by Johnnie over whether racial slurs should be used during the trial, something that may have to do with the witness he prepped.
On the day before the trial begins, the defense realizes they’ve made a crucial mistake, accidentally forgetting to include a dozen witnesses on their list submitted to the prosecution. Johnnie decides to play this up, sandbagging the prosecution’s case so badly an assistant on the prosecution’s team suffers a heart attack.
The ploy seems to work, throwing the prosecution into disarray.
Johnnie then decides to change up the look and feel of The Juice’s apartment before the jury visits it, swapping out scandalous photos for a much more homey appearance, even going so far as to bring in artwork from his own apartment. This shocks Marcia, the female district attorney, who was expecting the house to present The Juice as the misogynist she believes him to be.
The episode ends with Chris continuing to prep Mark, the detective he thinks is racist, finally admitting he can not examine him as a witness because of what he believes to be Mark’s racial bias.
The case for The Juice: The defense believes the prosecution is tied to too tight a timeline for The Juice to have committed the murders. Additionally, they now claim to have nearly a dozen witnesses who can testify to The Juice’s whereabouts at the time of the murders.
They seem confident.
The case against The Juice: That said, this is the first time we see the defense resort to some really underhanded tactics. The prosecution presents a straightforward narrative, including indisputable blood evidence, in their opening statement, whereas Johnnie’s strongest move is cheating.
Not only does he not let the prosecution know he has additional witnesses, he completely alters the appearance of The Juice’s house, as though the house itself was enough to convince a jury of The Juice’s guilt.
So did The Juice do it? While the prosecution continues to move forward with hard evidence, the defense team seems to believe it can only win if they play fast and loose with the rules and the truth.
The Verdict: Oh he DEFINITELY did it.
Check back next Wednesday for our recap of Episode Six and let me know in the comments if you think The Juice did it. I can’t wait to find out.