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What's streaming: 'THE PEOPLE VS OJ SIMPSON': Never forgotten

On June 12, 1994, the world was shocked. OJ Simpson, one of the most loved figures in sports who had become quite the icon outside of sports (mostly for breaking barriers for African Americans in general), stood accused of stabbing to death his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The murders were vicious and calculated.

The world was shocked again by the slow-speed chase down the 405 freeway with OJ in the backseat of a Ford Bronco with a gun to his head. The chase ended uneventfully (with the exception of every news station at his front door when he was arrested), but the world was to be shocked eight months later on the very publicly broadcast trial was acquitted of the murders by a jury.

The trial in and of itself was a massive circus and is the focus of the FX mini-series “The People vs OJ Simpson,” a part of the “American Crime Story” anthology. Ten episodes, produced by FX and now a part of the Netflix family of films, cover the spectacle of the trial, including all of Judge Ito’s hourglasses. The world watched with awe as DNA evidence was put on trial as was the L.A. Police Department’s handling of it.

For most, the murders of Ron and Nicole will never be forgotten, and neither will the circus of a trial that followed. While one would like to forget Cuba Gooding Jr. as OJ Simpson, the series does capture the intrigue of a nation at a time no one will forget.

Another trial of distraction was the racism of Detective Mark Fuhrman. A series of tapes were made for a possible movie script about police racism comprising of hundreds of hours of interviews with Fuhrman ranting in the vilest of ways, spewing vitriol in stereotypical white supremacist fashion.

It was unfortunate for Fuhrman and his standing with the police department; it was unfortunate for the police department image, but it was most unfortunate for the prosecution who had to wade through all this from the man who discovered the single piece of evidence that tied Simpson to the murders.

So, what is to learn from this time period? Mostly that enough money can buy the best defense. Even if that defense is the four most prominent defense lawyers in the nation. The lawyers in real life were the most gregarious figures in law. Their actor counterparts were no different. John Travolta as Robert Shapiro in probably his best acting in decades despite the wooden start in the show.

No real surprise is Sarah Paulson nailing the part of Marcia Clark, the main prosecutor and struggling divorced mother. Even Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden and Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey are striking in comparison to their real-life counterparts.

That being said, Cuba Gooding Jr. was no OJ. His portrayal was nowhere near the level of dispassion Simpson displayed while on trial. It was also hard to accept the height of Gooding as Simpson was a towering man. But regardless of these flaws “The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” was still an interesting watch. The show gained critical acclaim garnishing 22 Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 13 categories and won nine.

For most, the murders of Ron and Nicole will never be forgotten, and neither will the circus of a trial that followed. While one would like to forget Cuba Gooding Jr. as OJ Simpson, the series does capture the intrigue of a nation at a time no one will forget.

To reach Brian Fitz-Gerald email him at bfitz-gerald@rosebudmedia.com.

Sarah Poulson as Marcia Clark in "The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story." (moviestillsdb.com)
Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden and Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson{ } in "The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story."{ }(moviestillsdb.com)