The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story: A Jury in Jail
March 23, 2016 10:19 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Months into the trial, cut off from their families, society and the media, the jurors grow stir crazy and start becoming unlikely targets for the prosecution and the defense. Meanwhile, the country gets an introduction to the science of DNA evidence.
posted by kittens for breakfast (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was too young when this was going on (like 8 or 9 years old) and even though I've heard the pop culture jokes and references to the trial, this is really my first time to experience the whole thing. Oh my god was this just the craziest fucking trial ever? 10 people dismissed as jurors! No wonder everyone was glued to the trial. It was a circus!

I have to give props to Ross for this episode though. David Schwimmer's facial expressions are so very much Ross and also so very much perfect for the kind of torment that Robert (or at least the character on the show) is going through. He kept trying to tell everyone that he was having doubts but all they were concerned with was getting OJ off and how the more people kept saying OJ would be found guilty, the more it tore up RK. Its one thing to have one half of your couple friend/your wife's best friend be murdered, but then to have to come to grips with the fact that your best friend probably did it.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:31 AM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

It really must have been awful being sequestered for so long.

I'm a few years older than LizBoBiz but I didn't follow the trial when it happened either--it's likely my parents discouraged it, but I don't remember exactly--so I don't remember stuff like the forensics/DNA expert shaking hands with O.J. and his lawyers. That to me was a stunning, almost surreal scene, and drove home how disorienting and intense it must have been to be a witness in that trial at all, much less one who got so thoroughly beaten down by the opposition.

I agree about RK; early in the show I worried that they would play up the surviving Kardashian family too much, but I'm glad they've receded and it's now just OJ's friend gradually realizing the truth. The character of Robert Kardashian as a warm, empathetic, fatherly figure is a great foil to CGJr's cold, entitled O.J.
posted by mama casserole at 8:22 AM on March 24, 2016 [7 favorites]

I didn't really follow the trial that closely at the time either...the Criminalist shaking hands with the defense team/defendant was so far out there I had to look it up to see if that was TV or true and it turns out it actually happened.

I am a criminalist and have testified a bunch of times as an expert witness and never would it of crossed my mind to go shake hands with...well anyone....let alone the defense/defendant after testifying. So that bit really did show just what a circus that trial had become by that point.
posted by Captain_Science at 10:43 AM on March 24, 2016 [6 favorites]

I can remember the trail even being a thing in the UK... then had a daily late night highlights show and a Sunday evening summing up.

One of my vivid memories of it, apart from all the obvious things (ie the gloves), was just how boring the DNA evidence was, even to a sciencey tech nerd like myself... it seemed to go on forever with the prosecution asking one question after another on the minutia of it all - so they got that bit right, even if it was obviously truncated.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:50 AM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

I didn't follow the trial closely when it happened and I wasn't sure I wanted to revisit the whole tawdry mess but this show is so. damn. good. And fairly accurate according to the fact check articles. That jury was sequestered for nearly nine months under 24 hour surveillance. I can't imagine going through that.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:23 PM on March 26, 2016

Just got around to watching this last night. Wasn't this one of the first trials where DNA evidence was used?

Maybe I'm just really used to DNA being used as evidence at this point, but it seems to me (from a perspective of zero expertise other than what I've seen from reading and watching lots of true crime stuff) that sloppy collection and/or tainting the evidence is almost a standard thing that the defense will often use to try to discredit the evidence. It might not have been a thing the prosecution could have anticipated in this case, but the fact that they didn't anticipate that the defense was going to try to cast doubt on it based on allegations of police misconduct when the defense has built their whole case around exactly that seems like a pretty big oversight to me.

The prosecution knew all the places where blood was found. It seems that they would have also considered whether or not the police ever had access to the blood or the opportunity to potentially tamper with it and then proactively address those things with the witness before the defense had a chance to bring it up. But I could also be assuming too much here, as a non-expert.

Also, I'm really digging the music they're using throughout the series.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:28 AM on March 28, 2016

This episode really goes to show how great the editing is in this series. Specifically, the scene where the jurors are arguing Martin v. Seinfeld, then the show immediately cuts to OJ describing a scene from... Seinfeld. Just flawless use of editing to tell a story.

There's a similar thing going on in most of the Shapiro scenes. I remember Travolta getting a lot of credit (including in these threads) for his performance, but I feel like most of his scenes are landing because of the way the show cuts to his fellow lawyers. Travolta will roll in, do some grand standing, and then everybody just kind of pauses for a second with a mixture of horror and confusion before quietly going on as if he had said nothing as all. It's never not hilarious, but it works so well for the story the show is telling us.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:48 PM on February 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

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