The series premiere of “The People v. O.J. Simpson” doesn’t waste any time jumping into the drama. At three minutes into Season 1 of “American Crime Story,” audiences are introduced to the only eyewitness of a horrific crime: a dog.
After hearing sustained howling, a neighbor confronts the distressed Akita pup in the FX series before noticing that the animal’s paws are drenched in blood. The dog then leads the man to a gate, behind which lies a dead body.
Not long after that, the LAPD make their way to the scene, searching the home, which is lit with candles and full of sleeping children, until they encounter a photo of O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) on the wall.
“The female is Nicole Brown Simpson. She’s the property owner,” an officer clues in another before showing him the blood-soaked scene. “The male is unidentified.”
As Detective Mark Fuhrman (Steven Pasquale) walks through the undisturbed house, he learns that the case has been “kicked upstairs.” But nevertheless, it’s Mark who proves to be useful to the higher-ups when he reveals he knows where O.J., the estranged husband of Nicole, lives.
“I was there years ago for a family dispute." he says. "It’s a few minutes away.”
As the officers walk the premises, waiting for someone to come to O.J.'s door, Mark notices blood-like stains on and in a white Bronco parked nearby. This causes the police to act boldly, hopping the fence that surrounds O.J.’s home. Thanks to a “nonofficial” resident, the authorities also uncover another crime scene where they find a black glove suspiciously lying on the ground. But that lone glove is just the beginning of shady events to take place in the homicide case. When police inform O.J. that his ex-wife has died, the former football star neglects to ask how, raising several eyebrows (including ours).
In the morning, Prosecutor Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) learns about the double homicide in Brentwood — and from what she hears about the case, she already thinks there may be enough evidence against O.J. to have him arrested. But before O.J. is put in handcuffs, the attorneys attempt to piece together what happened that night.
- O.J. flies to Chicago at 11:45 p.m.
- Murders occur between 10 and 11 p.m.
- Unidentified male turns out to be 25-year-old man named Ronald Goldman. He left his job at an Italian restaurant nearby just before 10 p.m. to return eyeglasses to Nicole, who had left them at the restaurant.
Marcia theorizes that the killer either walked in on Nicole on Ronald having a romantic evening together or that Ronald walked in on the killing, and the killer turned on him.
The attorneys debate whether O.J. did it. One lawyer doubts that the nice man he met at a golf event could do such a thing, while another isn’t so surprised.
“Simpson has a prior. Five years ago he pled no contest after he beat up Nicole. Never even did community service. Got out — celebrity-style,” the other prosecutor says.
When O.J. returns from Chicago a mob of police and reporters are waiting for him — in addition to Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer).
“Can I get through, please?” Robert asks officers when they won’t let him past. “I’m sure I’m on the list.”
But there’s no list … in fact, it doesn’t even look as though O.J. is even excited to see his friend, letting out a breathy “Oh s---” when he sees Kardashian.
O.J. is also surprised to find out why the police are welcoming him home.
“We’re here because of the death of your ex-wife,” an officer tells him. “We found a trail of blood.
“A trail? Oh man,” O.J. responds.
After taking O.J. to a secluded area, they begin to question him. But little do officials know that a hidden camera is capturing everything — including the fact that O.J. is being considered a suspect.
Marcia is disgusted that O.J. is just beginning to be questioned by the LAPD after all the abuse Nicole had suffered over the years.
“The system failed her,” she says moments before getting her hands on the tape of O.J.’s questioning — or the lack there of. The entire interrogation is O.J. talking in circles, which means the starstruck LAPD will have a hard time hold him accountable. But Marcia won’t.
“He got away with beating her. He is not gonna get away with killing her,” she says.
And Marcia’s not the only one feeling heated. After watching a video of his handcuffing appear on TV, O.J. is livid — and it's his lawyer to blame. That’s when Robert advises his friend to get a new lawyer … and quick, which is when Robert Shapiro (John Travolta) gets an emergency phone call from O.J.
Shapiro takes on the case. During his first meeting with O.J., he asks his client whether he killed Nicole. Although O.J. claims he didn’t, Shapiro still gets his client to take a polygraph test to see if he’s lying.
“He scored a minus 24,” the polygraph administrator (Joseph Buttler) said.
“That’s a flunk,” Shapiro tells Robert. “It’s the worse you can do.”
However, O.J. doesn’t let his bad score prevent him from attending Nicole’s funeral, which is stuffed with gossiping celebrities like Kris Jenner (Selma Blair) and Faye Resnick (Connie Britton).
While family and friends mourn Nicole’s death, Marcia learns some interesting news. According to reports, DNA evidence proved that the “blood drops are Simpson’s type” and that drops on the glove match a mixture of Simpson’s and the victim’s blood.
“Let’s put him behind bars,” she says.
O.J., however, is not too thrilled to find out he’s headed for prison and has a minor freak-out when Shapiro breaks the bad news to him while he's lying in bed (which happens to be surrounded by posters of teen heartthrobs like Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Joey Lawrence). But his reaction only escalates when Robert walks in on him writing a will.
“It’s just easier for everybody,” he says, whipping out a gun before running into Kim Kardashian’s room.
“O.J., no. This is where my daughter sleeps! Do not kill yourself in Kimmy’s bedroom,” he pleads.
The episode ends with police coming to arrest Simpson. But the suicidal suspect has fled the scene … in his white Bronco.
"The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. EST on FX.