TV Recap: American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, ‘A Jury in Jail’

Written by Tommy Tracy

american-crime-story-people-simpson-poster

This week, we shift our view from the law teams and Simpson and focus on the jurors in a brilliant attempt to show how this trial has affected real people. While the lawyers do play a big part (they kind of need to), the jurors begin to develop personalities, some interesting, some annoying, and it works to further flesh out the trial.

It’s pretty easy to forget these men and women were holed up in a hotel for months and months, with little contact with the outside world, curfews and the inability to watch television (specifically the news) or read any sort of reading material. The jurors are shown to be initially ecstatic about the case, believing this could be some a level of fame or their ticket to convict/free a “black man”. As the months progress, their eagerness begins to dwindle and jurors are picked off one by one, as if Jason Voorhees is finding them having sex and smoking pot.

David Schwimmer and Cuba Gooding Jr
Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

In all seriousness, the jurors are found having numerous domestic charges, all put together in a montage depicting a ping-pong game between Marcia and Johnny, who deliver these “secrets” to Judge Ito. It’s truly brilliant because it does represent a horror movie of sorts; one by one they go and the “survivors” begin to feel lost, claustrophobic, never really knowing who is next.

The race card is a hard thing to discuss. Of course, it’s important, leading to many arguments and ignorant comments; the problem is, when it’s discussed, people are bound to take sides. The African-American jurors believe the authorities in charge are mistreating them because they are, in fact, black. The white jurors believe everyone is being mistreated and it has nothing to do with skin color, even prompting one white juror to remember that they all got to watch Martin instead of Seinfeld because the black vote outweighed the white vote. In the long run, the jurors stage a revolt, proving again how INSANE this trial really was.

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX
Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

On the more fabricated side, we see Robert Kardashian struggling with his friendship with Simpson. He is torn, believing that Simpson might have actually done it because of the DNA evidence. Said evidence was scoffed about earlier but when the criminologist says that the DNA match can be traced to only 1 in 170 million, Kardashian begins to have his doubts. Schwimmer turns in his best performance to date (Friends included), breaking down in front of true criminal Kris Kardashian (is that her last name still?) He wants to save his friendship with Simpson but also wants to put away the man he thinks killed Nicole. They just so happen to be the same man.

The focus on the jury is a smart move, as it takes us away from the slight slogging down of episodes focused on the actual case. We all know Simpson isn’t found guilty, so it was beginning to feel tedious. This is a nice breath of fresh air, still highlighting key players such as Johnny, Bobby, Simpson and the easily dislikeable (and loveable) Marcia. I truly don’t think this episode can bet topped but with only two weeks to go, we won’t have long to wait.

‘A Jury in Jail’ Final Grade: 10/10