The verdict is in.
Last night the season finale of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson aired on FX. While we knew what the jury would decide, the intrigue of ‘The Verdict’ and the entire 10 episode series has been the humanity and chilling relevance in which the case of O.J. Simpson was portrayed.
Spoiler Alert if you didn’t watch the finale and/ or weren’t alive in 1994.
Marcia Clark (the perfect Sarah Paulson) and Chris Darden (breakout Sterling K. Brown) summarized not only the damning body of evidence against Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) but the surrounding issue of corrupt police and racism that the case had become about, insisting one did not dictate the other. Inevitably the jury, in nearly record time, decided that Simpson was not guilty. The episode did not end there.
A strength of American Crime has been its ability to imbue characters with actual arcs into real, documented events, and even reveal crucial details of the case that most didn’t know. Clark and Darden’s final exchange captured this perfectly. As Darden tells Clark he’s going to resign (the real- life Darden went on to teach law and eventually open up his own firm), Clark tells him that to do what they do, maybe you need something to avenge. She then reveals that she was raped when she was 17. “There’s a deeper connection that she had to being a woman who had been abused, who had been literally raped,” Paulson told Variety. “She had connective tissue to cases in her life where things like this came up.”
As for the final scene of the episode, showrunner Ryan Murphy chose to bring it back to the controversial figure simultaneously at the center and entirely on the sideline of the series. Simpson throws a lavish party at his home, but it becomes apparent that while the jury exonerated him of his actions, the rest of the world wouldn’t. After best friend Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer) leaves him, unable to ignore the evidence against him, Simpson is left standing outside of the party, alone, looking at a statue of himself from his glory days.
“This was a bit of a tragedy for everyone, even people who thought they were the victors at the time,” series co-writer Larry Karaszewski told The Hollywood Reporter.
Along with the issues of racism and sexism, American Crime Story has been bizarrely relevant with last month’s uncovering of O.J. Simpson’s possible knife and the announcement of the upcoming docuseries O.J. is Innocent on the Investigation Discover Cable Network.
The critical and commercial success of the anthology series has unsurprisingly guaranteed a second season. Executive producer Brad Simpson told E! News that the writers are already starting on season 2. The focus for the next crime story? Hurricane Katrina. “Katrina will be very different in that you won’t know the outcome. Who lives, who dies, it’s all going to be true stories.” As of right now, Courtney B. Vance, who played Simpson’s head defense lawyer Johnny Cochran, is the only cast member confirmed to appear next season. This marks the third returning anthology series for Murphy, who’s American Horror Story is going into its 6th season and Scream Queens into its 2nd season.