Johnnie Cochran is driving his daughters to dinner when Cochran is pulled over for failure to signal while changing lanes (aka Driving A Benz While Black). Cochran says it’s the third time that week he’s been pulled over for no reason.
The officer instructs Cochran to get out of the car and cuffs him. Cochran suggests the officer call in his license before things escalate. The officer does and discovers Cochran is the Assistant District Attorney. He lets him go.
Cochran downplays the incident for the sake of his kids in the car, but they’re astute. “Daddy, did he call you a n—word?” the oldest asks.
Ugh. My heart just broke.
JC: “He didn’t have to.”
He instructs his daughters never to use the n-word.
That was a flashback, because as we know, Cochran is no longer the ADA.
Fast-forward to present day. JC is at church, and the pastor is praying for him ibecause JC is litigating the OJ trial and that requires prayer. After the service, JC gives a televised interview suggesting the DA only assigned Darden because there are 8 black people on the jury. “It’s obvious Darden is being used as a tool by the DA’s office because he’s Black,” Cochran says.
Darden, Clark and Hodgman are working on Sunday and watching the interview at theDA’s office. Darden looks alarmed. You should have listened to your Daddy, my dude. He tried to warn you two episodes ago.
Shapiro is in the hallway of Cochran’s office in his full petty glory. He’s refusing to go into a meeting because F. Lee Bailey is there. Shapiro is pissed because he thinks FLB is the source who leaked to the Daily News that Shapiro was bumped from lead attorney. Cochran’s associate attorney Carl Douglas is trying to reason with him, but then he just can't with Shapiro anymore. He walks off. LOL.
Shapiro finally goes in the room, and promptly accuses FLB of being “Judas”.
“I suppose that makes you Jesus?” Bailey asks. “Why don’t you blow it out of your ass, Bob?”
White man shade is hilarious.
At the DA’s office, Clark is outlining the massive amount of evidence against OJ. She says they have 62 instances of OJ beating, stalking, and degrading his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson over the course of their 17 year relationship. “It’s more evidence than I’ve ever seen in a murder case,” Clark says.
The defense is unbothered. “Evidence doesn’t win the day, “Cochran says. “Jurors go with the story that makes sense. We’re here to tell a story. Our job it to tell that story better than the other side tells theirs.”
Clark assigns the attorneys on the case to their witnesses. What matters most is Darden has been assigned to Mark Fuhrman. No. Just no. Clark says it all casual like, but Darden immediately knows that ain’t right.
Darden interviews Fuhrman and is immediately turned off. He goes to tell Clark, “I get a really bad vibe from him. He’s one of those people who thinks you can’t see how he really feels because he acts polite.” Clark doesn’t get it.
Darden says Fuhrman didn’t enter the gloves into evidence so technically, he doesn’t have to take the stand. Clark insists that Darden is overreacting and he should do “whatever is necessary” to make Fuhrman come across well . Then she blames Darden for making her late to get home to her kids.
Ito is meting with Dominick Dunne from Vanity Fair to offer him a prime spot in the courtroom so he can cover the trial. He’s seating him next to the Goldmans. As the meeting wraps, Ito pulls out a fan letter he received from Arsenio Hall. Dunne looks horrified at the way Ito is fanning out.
Outside the courthouse, there are protestors. Black folk support OJ white folk don’t. Inside the courthouse, Darden and Cochran meet in the hallway. Darden says JC took a cheap shot and it is “my sincere hope that from this point forward that we can treat each other with respect".
JC practically laughs. “Brother, I ain’t trying to be respectful. I’m trying to win.” Geez. Darden is so far in over his head. It’s sad, so sad.
Shapiro goes before the court trying to get OJ’s domestic violence incidents with his ex-wife removed from the evidence. He says it’s irrelevant. Ummm... Hodgeman says otherwise.
Darden has a motion of his own. He wants to ban the use of the n-word during the trial. Darden says if the word is mentioned to the jury, it will “blind them to the truth.. it will affect their ability to be fair.”
Everyone looks nervous after Darden takes his seat. Cochran pipes in that he didn’t plan to speak on this, but basically, Darden's assertion is some foolishness that must be addressed. Cochran says Darden’s remarks are “Deeply demeaning to African-Americans” Cochran actually apologizes to the AA population for what Darden said. “I am ashamed that Mr. Darden would allow himself to become an apologist for Mark Fuhrman,” Cochran says. “This was outlandish, unfortunate and unwarranted.”
That’s the sound of the bus backing up over Darden, just to make sure he’s DOA.
After Cochran wraps, he turns to Darden and says, “n---a, please.
The next morning Darden walks into the office looking lost. He’s the cover story of every major newspaper, and the main story is how he got his ass handed to him by Cochran. His colleagues look at him pitifully. Darden reads the paper and there’s a poll that says 76 percent of African Americans don’t believe he’s doing a good job and “often times refer to the ADA as an ‘Uncle Tom’”.
Bruh. I feel bad for you.
Darden approaches his boss, Garcetti, asking to do interviews with the Black press. Garcetti shuts it down. “DAs don’t go on talk shows. No press,” he says.
Darden goes back to Clark telling her to reconsider Fuhrman. She tells Darden to toughen up. Oh. Boo. I hope someone does better by you when it’s your time. Because it’s coming (literally, next week).
Darden asks if he can level with her. She says, sure as long as she doesn’t have to get out of her chair, i.e., she ain't all that concerned.
Chris, my dude. Quit. These people are using you, bruh. And they don’t give a damn about you.
He starts telling Clark about being in law school in the 70s when affirmative action was a big deal. Clark says she remembers.
Darden: “No, you don’t. You’re white.
Marcia’s face after that comment is hilarious.
Darden continues, explaining that in law school people treated him like he took some more worthy person’s spot. He says he feels like that now. Clark says he’s on the case because he is “creative, dedicated and smart.” Um… and he’s black. Stop playing.
JC is at home in his robe practicing his open remarks while his wife reads a book. Wife isn’t feeling the current speech. Back to the drawing board. He tries again and nails it. Mrs. Cochran likes that. She puts her book away.
“What you doing?” Cochran asks.
“I closed my book,” she says. “What you doing?”
JC says he’s taking off his robe. These two are hilarious.
JC has climbed on the bed, and onto his wife when his phone rings. It’s associate Carl Douglas. “We got a problem,” he says. Shapiro’s office didn’t submit 12 witnesses into discovery. Douglas suggests JC remove the names from his opening statement.
Can’t do, bruh. JC says “there’s comes a time when you got to fall on your sword for your client. Tomorrow is your day.”
The Dream Team arrives at court in black chauffeured cars. It’s madness outside the courthouse. They’re getting the rock star treatment.
Clark kicks it off, laying out the damning evidence to the jurors, which, in short, is: OJ’s blood is everywhere. JC is unbothered. He begins his statement with a quote from MLK. Really? Ya’ll drug Martin Luther the Kang into this?
Cochran continues, listing the witnesses that he knows the DA doesn’t know about. Clark and Hodgman look stunned. Hodgman leaps up to tell the judge that the witnesses have not been turned over to the people. “What is this, opening statement by ambush?” he asks.
Ito excuses the jury. Cochran looks sincerely baffled.
Ito notes that he’s known Hodgeman as a colleague and trial lawyer for years and has never seen his face look as it does at the moment.
Douglas takes one for the team, and planned, and more or less, says the Dream Team screwed up. “I‘m embarrassed by this and takefull responsibility”, he says.
A shrill Hodgman responds, then apologizes for his outburst. He complains of chest pain before collapsing.
Bill is taken out on a stretcher and Ito says they should adjourn for the day. Ya think?
At the ADA’s office, Garcetti half-jokes that the building must be cursed. Hodgman’s wife says he’ll be fine, but he’s not coming back to the case. Clark says Darden is ready to step up to co-prosecutor. Darren's been promoted, what, three times since this case started?
Vanity Fair’s Dunne is having a Gilded Age dinner party, and gossiping like Benita Butrell. OJ’s girlfriend had broken up with him and was spotted at the Mirage with Michael Bolton, but then returned to OJ once she heard he’d been arrested. He also heard that Nicole Brown Simpson’s parents pushed her to reconcile with OJ every time she tried to leave and that OJ set her dad up with a Hertz dealership. Oh, and Nicole just turned 18 when they started dating. He adds that in the upcoming week the jury will visit OJ’s house and OJ will be there. It’s the first time he’s been back since the Bronco chase.
JC takes a tour of OJ’s house before the jury comes. It won’t do. There are too many white people. Cochran’s team redecorates the house with African inspired décor and pictures of OJ’s mama and kids.
JC goes to visit OJ to tell him about the new décor. He emphasizes how important it is to make a positive impression since it’s the only time the jury will see him outside of the courtroom. OJ’s fine with that. He flips when he hears about the house though.
JC levels with him. ”Being nicknamed the ‘Mayor of Brentwood’ doesn’t forge any bonds with our jury, people you need to acquit you of a double murder,” he says. That got OJ’s attention, but he needs to clarify a couple things. “I want you to know I never left anybody behind, Johnnie. I did what I had the right to do… “
The juror bus pulls up to Brown Simpson’s house. It’s empty. There’s nothing really for the jurors to look at. Clark is pissed. “This doesn’t tell them anything. She was a mother. There was a family,” she says.
In Brentwood, OJ’s house is laid out with pictures of children that ain’t even his. One juror flips when he sees the Heisman trophy.
In the yard, Marcia’s complaining to Ito about Nicole’s home being cleared and OJ’s being staged. Darden can’t deal and walks over to sit on a bench. OJ flips, telling Darden to “get off my bench.”
Cochran quickly gets OJ under control and approaches Darden to say everything’s fine. Oh, and that Darden shouldn’t handle Fuhrman.
Darden calls home to his dad freaking out about what JC said. He thinks JC is intimidated by him. Ummmm. Nah.
He either 1) feels bad about the way he ripped you. Twice; or 2) he doesn’t want to do it a third time because it will make him seem like a bully because it’s so obvious Darden's outmatched. Papa Darden reminds his son that he is in charge, so he needs to act like it. And “could it be possible [Cochran] is just trying to give you some good advice, black man to black man?”
Darden interviews Fuhrman again. Furhman says he doesn’t care about interracial couples and his hobby is collecting WWII memorabilia. He also denies not liking AAs or “ever” using the n-word.
After the interview, Darden walks into a meeting of Clark and other attorneys and announces he’s not putting Fuhrman on the stand. After a back and forth where Clark admits she wants Darden to do Fuhrman because he’s black, Clark says she’ll do Fuhrman because Darden’s dislike will read to the jury. “What’s so difficult?” she asks. It’s a cop on a stand.”
When Darden walks out her face reads she has second thoughts.
At home, Fuhrman is minding his aforementioned WWII memorabilia. The camera pans to a medal with a swastika.
What an outro!
Another great episode. Well done, FX. And John Singleton. Well done. This is great TV.