On this week’s episode of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”, the spotlight is shone on lead prosecutor Marcia Clark. As the trial begins getting underway, Marcia has trouble trying to balance her work and home life. In addition, she encounters ample scrutiny from the public regarding her appearance.
The episode begins with Marcia battling against her ex-husband in court over the custody of her children. Marcia’s ex alleges Marcia is far too busy with work and has been getting babysitters to care for their children most of the time. He feels he should have full custody of them while the O.J. trial is still underway. This is noticeably distressing for Marcia and inevitably makes it tough for her to handle her own personal legal issues while leading the prosecution team for the “trial of the century.”
After a long day at the office, Marcia returns home to her kids. Here we see even further into Marcia’s personal troubles, as she is shown catching a segment on a TV talk show that is discussing her courtroom outfits. The TV host criticizes Marcia, calling her outfits “frumpy” and ridiculing her hair cut. Thus, while Marcia has plenty on her plate already just from the O.J. trial, she begins getting overwhelmed by several external sources of pressure.
Meanwhile, over at the defense office, Johnnie is explaining to the team that their tactic will be not to dispute the prosecution’s story, but instead tell a more credible and captivating story that convinces the jury that O.J. is innocent. They immediately put this tactic into motion when questioning Detective Atter. While questioning him in court, Johnnie gets him to reveal that the police department sent out an unnecessary amount of officers to notify O.J. of Nicole’s murder – thus making it seem like the police were treating the case differently than they would if it involved an everyday [white] folk. Shortly after, Robert Shapiro takes the stand and gets the Detective to also own up to bringing O.J.’s shoes home with him and not booking them in as evidence until the next day (about 6 hours later). The defense team’s emphasis on race in the case is further exemplified as Shapiro points out that Detective Atter lives in the same area as the cops who were involved in the Rodney King incident did. Although this point was highly irrelevant to the case, it gets noticeable acknowledgment from the jury members.
Later on, Marcia is seen stressed while working on the case late at night in the office with her co-prosecutor Christopher Darden. Here we see the first real hint of romance between the two as Chris tries to lighten the mood and pretty much forces Marcia to dance with him. While in real life the two have never confirmed being romantically linked this hasn’t stopped people from speculating – and evidently lead Ryan Murphy to create a plot line based on the rumors.
The next day, Marcia and Christopher prepare for Mark Fuhrman to take the stand. While he does have some character flaws (history of racism, collector of Nazi memorabilia, etc.), Marcia is adamant that his meticulous recollection of what he encountered the night of the murders will overshadow his personal issues. On the other hand, Chris once again expresses his hesitation towards having Mark as a witness, but inevitably complies with Marcia’s wishes.
Unfortunately, just as Marcia and Chris call for Mark to take the witness stand Johnnie interrupts and tells Judge Ito that they have an issue that needs immediate attention. Johnnie goes on to explain that one of the defense’s key witnesses, O.J.’s neighbor’s housemaid Rosa Lopez, is threatening to leave the country. This prompts Judge Ito to pause the trial as they try and sort out whether the defense can question their witness out of order or not.
The defense ends up being granted the right to question Lopez. However, this lucky break doesn’t stop Johnnie from publicly criticizing Marcia’s personal life. In court, he makes a snide comment about her childcare responsibilities interfering with the court case. This prompts Marcia to object and call his seemingly irrelevant comments “out of line.”
Fortunately, Rosa ends up being more pivotal for the prosecution team than the defense. Marcia questions her on exactly what time she recalls seeing the Bronco parked outside of O.J.’s house. Rosa fails to recall and simply places it sometime between 10:00 and 10:15 pm, which establishes her as an unreliable witness.
Amidst all of the court drama, Marcia goes out and treats herself to a makeover. Succumbing to the media’s pressure, Marcia gets her hair cut and restyled, as well as picks up some more fresh looking clothes. Her new look becomes the front-page story of numerous magazines with headlines such as “Marcia Hair Verdict: Guilty.”
Unfortunately, Marcia’s external judgment is taken a step further while she is at a local grocery store buying tampons. The cashier winds up making an inappropriate comment to her while ringing the product up, stating, “I guess the defense is in for one hell of a week!”
The last part of the episode focuses on the questioning of Mark Fuhrman. The prosecution gets Mark to go into as much detail as possible as he describes the gruesome crime scene he encountered at Nicole Simpson’s residence.
When it comes time for the defense to question Fuhrman, they dive right into his racist past. Bailey, a member of the defense team, asks Mark if he has ever used the n-word. Mark alleges he has never used the word to describe anybody, which is precisely what the defense was hoping he would say – as they know they have plenty of evidence to prove that this was, in fact, a big lie.
After the questioning, Marcia deals with yet another personal crisis, as her ex-husband sells a nude photo of her to the tabloids. This really has a big impact on her emotionally as she breaks down in front of Judge Ito the following day. Ito winds up adjourning the court for the day so that Marcia can pull herself together. Following her breakdown, Chris tries to comfort Marcia and even flirtatiously tells her she looks good in the revealing tabloid photo.
Next Week on American Crime Story The People v. O.J. Simpson:
Conspiracy theories about the trial begin to spawn. Meanwhile, the prosecution team debates whether or not O.J. should try on the glove in court.