OJ’s attorney and best friend Rob Kardashian is in the bathroom praying hard for OJ Simpson, who is on the run. Not literally. He’s in the backseat of the white Bronco that AC Cowlings is driving erratically across the LA highways. Kardashian fears the worst. “He’s in pain and he knows not what he’s doing,” he prays
In another room in the Kardashian home, Shapiro is calling Gil Garcetti (Bruce Greenwood) at the DA’s office to explain that he’s not responsible for OJ fleeing. Garcetti ain’t trying to hear all that. He just wants OJ to turn himself in. When Shapiro gets off the phone, Kardashian comes in with the suicide note, signed, oddly, with a happy face.
At a convenience store, a group of people are glued to the watching Tom Brokaw announce there’s a statewide manhunt for OJ. Lawd. At the DA’s office, they’re watching too. Garcetti wonders, “If it were our absolute goal, could we look more incompetent?” He adds that this is the worst day of his life, worse than the day he was diagnosed with cancer. Damn. That’s a bad day. The DA’s all blame Shapiro. Marcia Clark is pissed, but determined and optimistic. Marcia: “He can’t hide forever. Everyone knows his face.” Welp. This is true.
Outside the police station the patrol cars and the cameravans are rolling out to only god knows where. Inside the police station they’re receiving tips on OJ’s whereabouts. My favorite? He’s having lunch with Dionne Warwick at The Ivy. LOL. A senior officer tells his underling to put out an APB for the white Bronco and its plates.
Over in Brentwood, mourners are gathered outside Nicole Brown-Simpson’s house at a memorial to her and Ron Goldman. The white Bronco swings by the house. Are you serious? Did he really do that? OJ went back to where that lady was killed. Or, rather where he allegedly didn’t kill her? (Yes, I think he did it.)
Back at the office, Clark wants to know who AC Cowlings is? He’s the most ride-or-die best friend in human history. That’s who. Co-prosecutor Bill Hodgman pipes in that Cowlings is a “a fourth rate linebacker. A poor man’s OJ”. Damn.
The DA does a press conference. Marcia is standing up there, but she is not here for this nonsense. Johnnie Cochran and his team of attorneys are watching this fiasco. Associate Shawn Chapman, a Black woman says OJ did it. Associate Carl Douglas, a Black man, says they’re just tearing down another Black man. Isn’t that the same thing so many Black guys often say about Cosby?
Darden was headed out of town, but detoured to the nearest TV when he heard about OJ. His father is in the living room watching the set, but he is not one of the millions people tuned in for the Bronco chase. He’s watching the Arnold Palmer’s last US Open. LOL. Darden has the same observation everybody else about Clark, “Marcia’s dying up there.”
Shapiro is standing in an empty kitchen thinking about himself. He’s mad that people think he’s the villain. Um, maybe two people are thinking about him right now. Everybody else is wondering where OJ is. Shapiro decides to call a national press conference to clear his name.
Cochran is in his office watching and is disgusted. “What a prick,” he assess of Shapiro. “People, when you take these jobs you have only one role,” Cochran instructs his team of young Black attorneys. “You are in service to your client. Never betray that individual.” It’s the outlook I’d want my lawyer to have.
At the press conference, after Shapiro talks about himself endlessly, Shapiro introduces Robert Kadashian to the reporters. They’re like “um, who?” and can’t pronounce his name right. My, how times have changed. Kardashian reads what sounds like a suicide note from OJ where OJ says he felt like a “battered husband”. Um, what?
We cut to the Kardashian kids watching the press conference at home, excited to see their Dad on TV. Kim spells out their last name as the press fumbles it and then the kids begin to chant “Kardashian” as if we haven’t heard the name enough in a mini-series where their father is not the star.
In general, I am loving this series so far. Cuba Gooding Jr. as OJ has received some flack because he doesn’t look like OJ, especially stature. Gooding’s distraught OJ is great TV. And there’s been some fuss about Travolta’s “weird” Shapiro, which is an accurate assessment, but I happen to find him hilarious. Neither of those common complaints bother me. My one critique is the amount of Kardashian name dropping, and how often the kids pop up in the first two episodes, and throughout the series. (I’ve watched through episode six). Once to give a nod explaining that Rob is that Kardashian was enough. Now we’re in overkill mode. And still, this is great TV.
It’s about to get better. Some hippies in a VW bus spot AC driving the Bronco like he’s drunk and pull over to call the police, because only rich people have car phones and cell phones.
The patrol cars give chase, eventually catching up to the Bronco. A spastic AC (Malcolm Jamal Warner) tells the officer with his weapon drawn and pointed at his head that he ain’t stepping out the car. “OJ’s in the back seat with a gun to his head!” he yells. For the first time in the episode, we see OJ, who is having a level 10 meltdown, and just like AC said, he’s got a gun to his head. AC ain’t here for the cops; he drives off as the cops do nothing. “I’m not shooting at OJ Simpson unless somebody authorizes it,” an officer says.
Kardashian, who is a ride-or-die friend with more to live for, pulls up to OJ’s house and loses it in the car. He believes OJ is dead and he has to deliver the news to OJ’s family, who are all watching the news coverage. “We have reason to believe he’s killed himself”, Kardashian announces to the room. The family falls out about how you would expect, until OJ’s daughter Arnelle looks up to see the white Bronco on TV. The Juice is still loose, with a gun to his head.
Shapiro thinks his client is dead and is driving home calmly. His wife greats him in the foyer in a panic and he’s reassuring her he put gas in the car. She says OJ is driving “up and down the freeway.”
“He’s still alive?” Shapiro asks in disbelief.
At the office, Clark doesn’t understand why cops can’t shoot out OJ’s tires. Garcetti says the footage is running live on every network in the country. They don’t want a shoot out on live TV. Fair enough. Bill asks what’s protocol? Um… there’s an “armed celebrity fugitive” being chased by 12 police cars and 7 helicopters. This has never happened before.
In the car, OJ still has the gun to his head. His fingers ain’t cramp up yet? AC is asking him what he wants to do. OJ says he wants to be taken home to see his mama. AC calls police dispatch to see if he can get them to back off the truck since Simpson’s condition isn’t improving. The dispatch asks him if everything is ok. AC says, “no, everything is terrible.” I howled. I had to pause the TV I was laughing so hard. Malcolm Jamal Warner is doing great. He tells the dispatch to have the cops clear the freeway.
Do you understand the level of gangster you gotta have to tell the cops to clear the freeway in LA on Friday at rush hour? Do you understand the power you have to have that they actually comply?
In a network station newsroom somewhere, producers are monitoring the NBA Finals. All is going well, until an exec rushes in and tells them to cut to OJ, which sound preposterous until it actually happens. OJ gets the big screen. The NBA Finals(!) get the little box. A bar of people are cheering for the game when the station cuts to OJ. They’re pissed until they hear Brokaw explain that it’s OJ with a gun to his head. Aww, hell.
Clark is walking through the office, watching everyone glued to the screen. Someone observes, “this is like the world’s longest Ford Bronco commercial.” I wonder what sales were like after that.
Marcia’s confused. How is OJ in the blood-stained Bronco? Didn’t they impound it? Turns out, AC worshipped OJ so much, he bought an identical car. That, friends, is a bromance on a whole ‘nother level.
OJ calls Kardashian from the car phone. He’s not sure if Kardashian heard what was happening. Um my dude? Everyone heard. He wants Kardashian to know he loves him. Has he given AC this sappy speech? Cause this man is aiding and abetting a fugitive. He doesn’t know right now that he’s not going to do time or driving and yet he’s doing you this solid anyway. Show AC some love.
OJ is reminiscing, talking about some steakhouse on La Cienga. He tells RK to say goodbye for him and he’s naming a bunch of people he ain’t related to. Huh? OJ repeats he wants to go home and see “mama” one last time. Kardashian tells him that’s probably not a good idea. After OJ hangs up, Kardashian asks where “mama” is. Not there. She had heart palpations and went to the hospital. Um, who is there with her?
Producers are putting together an OJ eulogy when Cochran shows up at a station to talk about OJ on air. He wonders what Black man wouldn’t be scared of the LAPD with its history of “shoot first and offer sloppy apologies afterwards.” Welp.
Ya’ll Courtney B. Vance is killing this role. He is dead-on Johnnie Cochran.
Back in the car, the police are calling. OJ takes the phone and apologizes for the cops having to come out late on a Friday. Wait. What? The cops try to convince him to toss the gun out the window. Not gonna happen, but the cops say they will let OJ go home. They ask again for OJ to throw away the gun. He says “no, I deserve to get hurt.”
It’s Friday in LA, so of course the Dardens and their neighbors are having a cookout. Of course. Why haven't I moved to LA yet? The neighbors are team OJ. Darden? Not so much. When the neighbors reminisce about OJ’s on-field prowess, Darden says Jim Brown was a better player. The neighbors say OJ is a local hero. Darden points out that he didn’t care about Black people. “Once OJ made his money, he splits and never came back,” Darden assesses. “He became white.”
Neighbor: “He’s got the cops chasing him. He’s Black now.” *snort*
At the DA’s office, they’re watching what looks like a sympathetic eulogy for OJ on TV. Marcia has the same face she had at the press conference earlier. Clark says she wants him to finish the day alive and pay for what he’s done.
Folks without backyards have turned the freeway overpass into a party. A news reporter asks the why they’re rooting for OJ. They say they’re not cheering for OJ , but booing the LAPD. Ok not really, they’re doing both. They say OJ is innocent and is a black man being hunted by the police. They say they would run too.
They spot the Bronco and go nuts cheering. Cars honk in support as AC drives past. AC tells OJ that the people still love him. OJ starts crying again.
At the Simpson compound, the SWAT team is clearing out the place. OJ’s son Jason and Kardashian insist on staying. OJ's daughter rolls out with the rest of the family.
The closer OJ gets to the house, the larger the crowds gets. They run up on the car, stopping it from moving. This is a got damn spectacle. LA has gone mad. The whole city. OJ tells AC he has to get him to his house. Um… I know AC has been driving all day, but he is not a chauffer or a professional driver. They have no badge in the window to get VIP access. AC is just doing a Brother beyond a solid.
OJ is still clutching the gun as AC finally pulls up to the house. A panicked Jason runs up to the car to plead with his father. OJ, who was doing all right for awhile there, loses it again. We’re back at level ten. He’s squeaking like a child. Now he’s primal screaming.
They sit outside til it gets dark. A cop calls AC. AC says it’s a setup because there are guns everywhere. Police cut the lights.
Cochran is still watching from his office and says the police cut the lights so they can’t see cops kill OJ, or OJ kill himself. Oh dear.
Pause. I know how this ends. We all do. But I am on the edge of my couch like I don't know what happens next. OJ has the gun in his mouth again. AC asks him again what OJ wants him to do? Um… he ain’t making the best decisions right now. Maybe you should make a call AC. This is such a weird friendship dynamic.
OJ has the gun in his mouth when Kardashian calls OJ to reason with him again. OJ begs for help. Kardashian tells him to come inside and he can talk to mama on the house phone. I’m unclear why OJ can’t call his mama from his car phone. Anyway, OJ finally agrees to get out of the car if the police will arrest him inside and he won’t be on TV in handcuffs again. The police agree to that.
AC finally gets out of the car. Lawd, that’s a loyal friend. He drove around all damn day. OJ is sitting in there alone, clutching pictures of his children. When OJ gets out, he’s apologizing like a little kid who spilled milk instead of a grown ass man who kept the police on a manhunt and had all of Americans glued to the screen all day. Sir, you put the local Pizza Hut out of cheese and interrupted the NBA Finals. You got to do better than a spilled milk I’m sorry.
Okay, maybe I was wrong about Kardashian being the second-best best friend. As OJ is shuffling out of the car, an officer yells, “he’s got a gun.” No, he doesn’t. He has metal picture frames. But Kardashian darts from the house toward OJ, reasonably expecting a hail of bullets. AC never put his life in danger, only his freedom. So is Kardashian actually more loyal?
OJ collapses once he’s in the house. Kardashian walks him to the couch. OJ asks to speak to his mother and get orange juice. He’s like a little kid. The SWAT team is just standing around watching him. Lawd. This man better be glad he got fame and money. He would have been dead hours ago otherwise.
Marcia watches the arrest on TV and seems excited it’s going to trial.
At the cookout, neighbors say they’re glad Darden isn’t on the case, and that OJ was framed. Dad tells Darden to stay away from the case. Chris, boo? Listen to your daddy. I know you ain’t going to, but I know what’s coming for you and I wish you had. Listening would have spared you a lot of heartache, man.
OJ is finally in the back of the police car, being taken into custody. The drama isn’t over. Just the day.
Another great episode.
What did you think of The People v. OJ Simpson?