Few trials have gripped the American audience so firmly as that of OJ Simpson.
Just over 20 years after his acquittal, season 1 of FX’s ‘American
The People vs. OJ Simpson, has met with rave reviews and renewed interest in the complexities of
the trial. For many years, the media steered clear of a series on a case
that many assumed the public would be tired of—until FX decided
that the thematic elements present in the case were as culturally relevant
today as they were in the early 90’s.
When producers first began formulating the series, one of the selling points
was that the show would cover the birth of the 24/7 news era and shed
some new light on the birth of reality celebrity culture as we know it.
Even the Kardashian children, reality TV incarnate, were “genuinely
part of the story,” says executive producer, Brad Simpson, and are
featured in the series due to Robert Kardashian’s integral part
on the OJ Simpson defense team.
The direction of the show delved into deeper issues when certain events,
such as Michael Brown’s killing by a policeman, sparked riots, protests,
and the Black Lives Matter movement. The conflict and discussion surrounding
these incidents paralleled with events in the early 90’s, such as
the Rodney King riots and a police killing involving a black woman, Sonji
Taylor. Immediately, the series was given a platform to further discuss
the racial aspects of the OJ Simpson case, such as allegations that racist
policemen tampered with evidence in order to frame OJ.
Racism, sexism, police brutality, domestic violence, and celebrity coverage
are all themes just as controversially discussed today as they were 21
years ago around the murder case. Documentaries such as “Making
a Murderer” on Netflix have created discussion about the
faults with the justice system.
The People vs. OJ Simpson producers believed that the racial elements present in the proceedings
of the case would resonate most deeply with viewers.
Guilty or Not Guilty
Due to the case’s enormous amount of coverage, the majority of FX’s
viewers know the generalities, and perhaps some of the specifics, concerning
the case. Most viewers undoubtedly have an opinion as to whether OJ was
guilty or not guilty. The show does not take a definite position on who
actually committed the murder. Instead, producers aimed to give viewers
a context for the case and to help viewers understand how the verdict
was reached. Like many similar series and documentaries, the outcome is
a wildly popular, yet deeply controversial project that has caused many
to question both sides.
“If It Doesn’t Fit, You Must Acquit”
The OJ Simpson case launched the phrase, “If it doesn’t fit,
you must acquit” into America’s mainstream after one of the
case’s most iconic moments, in which OJ tried on gloves which were
found at the scene of the crime before a jury. The crime scene was rife
with evidence, from bloody gloves, shoe prints, and socks, to hairs and
fibers in Simpson’s Ford Bronco. Allegations of tampering with the
evidence came forward against investigators, especially against police
detective Mark Fuhrman after he was recorded making discriminating remarks
Though the context of the case played into the verdict, the unreliability
of the evidence greatly influenced the case’s direction. Whether
or not the verdict was correct does not lessen the need for integrity
and vigilance in evidence collection and procedure. At CSI Academy of
Florida, we proudly train crime scene investigators and forensic scientists
who are committed to integrity. In fact, our motto is “dedicated
to finding the truth.” Our advanced courses and skill-building programs
guarantee you will be prepared to make a difference in crime scene investigation.
In the cases like the OJ Simpson case, careful and detailed collection
of evidence must take place. When forensic science plays such a major
role in criminal conviction, it is becoming evident that sharp training
is necessary for these professionals.
Learn more about CSI Academy of Florida’s courses! Call (888) 518-2832.