Laura Hart McKinney, an aspiring screenwriter living in North Carolina, is watching A Current Affair. It’s a recap of the OJ trial where an expert testified OJ has arthritis and limited mobility. He moves like “Tarzan’s grandfather,” the expert says. Um.. I feel a way aboutthe expert making Tarzan references about a Black athlete. The news package cuts to an exercise video OJ filmed two weeks before he was accused of murder. OJ is body rolling. So much for the arthritis defense.
McKinney’s enthralled in A Current Affair when her phone rings. It’s an OJ investigator, wondering if she will turn over the tapes from an interview she didwith LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman for a screenplay she’s working on. Apparently, Fuhrman dropped n-bombs with more frequency than a gangster rap artist during the interview. McKinney doesn’t want to help OJ and hangs up on the investigator.
In the DTLA courtroom, Darden is examining a witness who says he overheard two men arguing near Nicole Brown-Simpson’s house on the night of the murders. Darden asks the witness if one of the voices sounded like a Black man. Cochran goes HAM objecting that you can’t identify a voice by race. Um… Yeah. You can. It’s just not 100 percent reliable. For instance, Courtney B Vance playing JohnnieCochran sounds blackity-black, and so does the guy playing Christopher Darden. But you know who else sounds Black? Todd Chrissley. But he’s white. Like, I said, it isn’t a reliable “science”.
Cochran and Darden begin arguing in open court and Darden until Ito threatens to hold them both in contempt. After, Clark chastises Darden for letting Cochran distract him and making a scene that overshadowed the witness testimony.
In Cochran’s office, the investigator fills in the team about the Fuhrman tapes. In short; they’re really messy. Cochran Is thrilled. He says “God brought us these tapes… this is manna from heaven.” So God is looking out for OJ? Um. Ok.
Ito issues a subpoena for the tapes. Cochran and F. Lee Bailey will go to North Carolina to convince a judge to enforce it. Bailey warns Cochran, “things change really slow in the South.” Neither Cochran, nor I understand what Bailey means until Cochran shows up in court.
Cochran is doing his best Cochran in the Courtroom act before the North Carolina judge who is completely unimpressed. Cochran asks to approach the bench; the judge says he can’t. Someone laughs in the background of the court room. I laughed at home. The judge denies Cochran’s request for the tapes.
Cochran fumes to Bailey outside the courthouse. Bailey says they will file an emergency appeal and he willdo the talking. Bailey slays in court. I recall an earlier episode where Bailey said he used to be a trial lawyer and he and Cochran were cut from the same cloth, but this is the first time we’ve seem him work his magic. Cochran looks shocked. That was the same face I had sitting at home. Bailey is a masterful with his words. The request for the tapes is granted.
Back in LA, Ito wants to know how much of the tape the defense will want to use in court. Cochran says maybe all of it. Clark is appalled. She doesn’t understand what an interview for a screenwriting class has to do with a murder trial investigations. Cochran says the tapes aren’t just a smoking gun for the Simpson case, but a smoking gun for the United States. Ito says he ain’t sure about that. He has to review precedent. But in the meantime, the attorneys can review the tapes, but they cannot be made public.
To the cassettes everyone goes. It’s so dramatic. Thank God for mp3s. Clark’s pissed once she finally hears the tape. She knows what it means for her case— and that Darden’s been right all along about Fuhrman. He tried to tell you, boo.
Clark listens to the tapes. She had 99 problems, now she has 100. Fuhrman is ranting about Judge Ito’s wife, of all people, on the tapes. He calls her, “as far from a woman as I’ve seen”, among other nasty things. And what’s better, although Ito’s wife, an LAPD Police Captain, signed a document when her husbandwas assigned to the case saying that she didn’t know Fuhrman, it’s likely that she lied. She once reprimanded Fuhrman for writing “KKK” on a MLK Jr. Poster. (What?) Mrs. Ito’s omission could be cause for a mistrial.
Darden is actually interested in a mistrial. The defense would get a do-over without Fuhrman and they learn fromtheir mistakes. Screw the year they’ve spent on the trial and the six million of taxpayer’s money. Clark says it’s too risky. Of course, she wants a do over, but they have to plow forward. Darden closes his briefcase an walks out.
Cochran and Clark go talk to Ito about what’s on the tapes, and a possible mistrial. Ito’s says the conversation should be had in open court so there’s no look of impropriety. In open court, Ito says another judge has to make the call about the whether he should remain on the case. Vanity Fairs’ Dominic Dunne says “this is insane. You couldn’t get away with this plot twist in an airport paperback.” Pretty much.
Cochran argues before the new judge that they give the tapes to Ito with the part about wifey redacted. New judge says he has to listen to everything to so he can make a comprehensive decision. It’s reasonable, but Cochran’s pissed because the trial has been put on hold indefinitely. Fuming in the elevator, he says he has to turn up the pressure. Shapiro, who was walking around wearing a police pin a couple episodes back, flips. He says there’s enough pressure.
Darden and Clark are also in an elevator when Darden flips on Clark about putting Fuhrman on the stand. “Darden: “you put me on this trial because you wanted a black face, but the truth is, you never wanted a black voice.” Welp.
Cochran is at a press conference about the Fuhrman tapes demanding full disclosure and a state investigation. Shapiro is sitting home watching and pissed. He fears there will be another round of riots. At the press conference, Cochran and friends are chanting “release the tapes”. Garcetti, also watching, determines that “Johnnie is threatening another riot.”
Judge Ito will remain on the trial. Now he has to rule how much of the tapes will be allowed. Clark says the defense is just trying to inflame the jury, and the tapes are irrelevant. To Ito she says, I am “begging you from my soul” not to let the jurors hear the tapes.
After much contemplation, Ito says the tapes have become a matter of “national concern” and will be played in open court in their entirety. Darden flips, jumping up so quickly that his chair is knocked back. He says Cochran has presented an entire case “on lies and deceptions” and the case is “a circus”. Ito threatens contempt.
Darden is on one. He says he should be held in contempt! Cochran tells Darden to calm down. Darden calls Clark as his counsel. Clark accuses the court of shenanigans too. Now she’s facing contempt. Darden’s back. He backpedals and apologizes to the court. Lawd. These people need a vacation. Bad. Joe Jackson.
Outside the courthouse, folks are chanting, “no justice, no peace”. Cochran is pleased and joins in the chant. This is a circus. Darden was right.
It’s tape day. Fuhrman is a MF, no really. Those are his initials. Everyone’s appalled. Geez. I didn’t know it was this bad.
Ito releases his decision about the tapes via the fax machine. Gosh. The 90s seemed so progressive when I lived them; now it looks like the DarkAges. Ito’s only allowing two sentences that prove Fuhrman perjured himself on the stand. The other 13 hours of tapes are out.
Cochran goes nuts. The tapes are “proof of systematic civil right violations… what black people have always known and white people have never understood,” Cochran explains. Shapiro tries to reason with Cochran. “You’ve been hired to defend a client, not burn down the city”, he says. Bailey points out that Ito’s knocked out the bit Fuhrman said about manufacturing evidence, which is how the defense would haveneatly tied together the planted glove theory.
Cochran’s outrage isn’t just for show. At home with the Mrs. he says he feels like he “failed. All those hours of tape and the jury will only hear 12 words,” he says. The Mrs says he got his message out there and she is proud of him. #thingsAleyshaCurrywouldsay
Fuhrman is headed back into court in the midst of pandemonium. Like folks are jumping on his car, beating it, climbing on it. The is nuts. He was into the courtroom and everyone is staring at him awkwardly. No one is happy to see him.
As Cochran approaches the stand to examine Fuhrman, Darden randomly grabs his stuff and walks out of court. Yo. These people are emotionally taunt and sleep deprived. They are behaving bizarrely.
Fuhrman’s shown up as requested, but he’s not answering any questions today. Not really. All he’ll say is “I wish to assert my fifth amendment privilege” with various inflections. Womp.
After Fuhrman’s testimony, an enthusiastic OJ is changing back into his jail clothes, and his chains. Rob Kardashian is unenthused. He still thinks OJ did it and he’s very over his former bestie.
At the DA’s office. Clark’s assistant presents her with the court ruling. Clark worries “what did Ito do now?” No, silly, your other court case, remember? Clark is keeping primary custody of the kiddos. She needed that win. Good for her— and the kids.