FX is offering a fresh look at the “Trial of the Century.”
It was before 9/11 and before the war on terror. There was no internet, and certainly no social media. For news in the middle of the day there was only CNN. And Kim Kardashian was an awkward 13-year-old kid.
And for a moment in time what happened on the night of June 12, 1994 held the country captive unlike anything before it, and maybe since.
The People of the State of California vs. Orenthal James Simpson was the official name of what happened months later— the culmination of all of the breathless events that preceded it— but most people just remember it as the O.J trial.
The details are familiar to anyone of a certain age: Nicole Brown Simpson, the beautiful wife of NFL Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson was found dead alongside restaurant waiter Ron Goldman. The crime was brutal. Nicole was nearly decapitated; Ron was stabbed more than 20 times. Twenty.
Neither had a chance when Nicole’s dog led a neighbor to the bodies just after midnight on Monday, June 13, 1994. They were already dead.
Hours later on that Monday morning, the world found out what happened on Bundy Drive in Brentwood, an area of Los Angeles. What happened over the next 16 months is a blur of white Ford Broncos, celebrity legal aces, ill-fitting leather gloves, and a trial that offered a glimpse inside the simultaneously mundane and mesmerizing world of life in the celebrity universe in L.A.
The case became the focus of non-stop coverage around the world. It made celebrities out of law professors. It proved that placing a real-life courtroom drama on television could be a ratings winner, fostering Court TV. And it became the nexus of the universe for tabloids, fledgling DNA experts, trash-for-cash television, legal pundits, athletes, celebrities, cultural commentators, and a rabble of other professions and personalities.
The case became a commentary about the legal system, race, and celebrity— but it also forced us to ask introspective questions about our own biases and frailties.