FX’s latest hit series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson continued this week with episode 7 “Conspiracy Theories.” In it, the prosecution gets a rude awakening when a piece of evidence they thought was a slam-dunk ends up turning the case upside down.
The episode opens up with a Harvard professor using the live coverage of the trial to help teach his up-and-coming hopeful lawyers. Here, the professor explains how important it is for a defense lawyer not to simply tell the jurors that the defendant is not guilty. Rather, they are tasked with painting a narrative that both intrigues the jurors, as well as leads them to believe there is someone else at fault for the crime. While delivering this lesson the professor suddenly comes up with an idea and is soon seen sending a direct fax to Johnnie Cochran simply stating “Columbian Necktie.” This prompts Johnnie to go in front of the court and claim that Nicole and Ron’s murders could have been the result of a drug deal gone bad as Nicole’s brutal injuries look very similar to the tactics that certain drug rings use to kill their victims.
After Johnnie’s implausible explanation for the two murders, the prosecution team meets up and talks about how they are going to handle all of the conspiracy theories. Chris Darden points out that while Johnnie’s story was preposterous, it was also shocking enough to grab the attention of the jury. Therefore, he suggests that the prosecution team focuses more on creating “big moments” that will be memorable.
Shortly after, two members of the prosecution team are seen digging through Nicole’s things that had been boxed up after her untimely death. Rightfully they come back to the office overjoyed as they announce that they found records of Nicole purchasing the exact pair of gloves that were found at both the crime scene and O.J.’s home.
Meanwhile, as the prosecution prepares to use the gloves to their full advantage, the defense encounters some turmoil in the media. Specifically, Johnnie is enraged as he sees his ex-wife Barbara speaking out about his affair on The Current Affair. In addition, the woman he cheated on her with is also seen talking about just how sly Johnnie can be. Johnnie goes on a rampage when Barbara claims that Johnnie physically abused her.
The next day Marcia looks notably elated as she waits for Johnnie to arrive to the courthouse and be swarmed by the media frenzy that is anxiously waiting to hound him about his past incidents of abuse. However she is disappointed when Johnnie is able to talk himself out of a seemingly deep hole and tells the media that they should be “ashamed of themselves” as they are focusing on his personal life and not the fact that there are much bigger issues at hand (i.e. “two dead people” and an “innocent man being framed”).
For the most part, the episode focuses on landmark moments in the case. However, it does stray away and embeds some TV land magic with Chris and Marcia going on a flirtatious weekend getaway. The obvious sexual tension is further cemented as Chris and Marcia show an obvious desire to want to get intimate with one another after returning to their hotel following a night of booze and partying. Although in the end, they end up showing restraint and attempt to continue keeping their relationship strictly platonic and professional.
Immediately after they return, Chris and Marcia jump right back into the trial. Chris pleas Marcia to make O.J. try on the gloves in court, but Marcia tells him that the damage would be irreconcilable if the demonstration were to backfire. On the other hand, Robert Shapiro is also heard advising the defense team to get O.J. to try on the gloves, as he notes that the gloves are definitely too small to fit the defendant’s hands. Shapiro’s suggestion prompts Bailey (also part of “the dream team”) to devise a plan so that the prosecution ends up doing the demonstration and not the defense team (i.e. making it even more effective evidence that O.J. is not guilty).
Much to Marsha’s dismay, Bailey’s plan is successful, as Chris falls into the trap and calls upon O.J. to try on the gloves. Just as he did during the real trial, O.J. is shown having an overly dramatic struggle trying to get the gloves on. Evidently his Naked Gun acting skills came into play as he made it seem that it was physically impossible for his hand to slip into the glove.
In Jeffrey Toobin’s book, which the show is based on, Jeffrey notes that O.J. was very strategically shaping his hand so that the glove would look as if it were not even close to fitting. In addition, O.J. also kept latex gloves on his hands while sliding them on, making it even more difficult for him to do a proper try-on.
After the demonstration goes awry Marcia is evidently livid with Chris’s decision to go against her orders.
The episode ends with Chris watching back the glove demonstration from earlier in the day. He proceeds to call the Goldman family and leaves a message telling them that he is sorry for what happened and believes the prosecution will be able to come back from the mess – thus ensuring that O.J. is held accountable for the murder of Ron (and Nicole).
Next Week on American Crime Story The People v. O.J. Simpson:
The focus is turned over to the jury, who is becoming anxious after months in isolation. In addition, DNA evidence becomes a major component of the trial.