More than 100 million people tuned in to watch the Los Angeles jury announce that it had found the notorious O.J. Simpson not guilty of murder on Oct. 2, 1995.
That nationwide broadcast is one of the most-watched events in television history, the story not only captivating the United States, but the world. This year, the controversial trial will be available to view once more.
The 10-episode mini-series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” will debut on FX Feb. 2.
This biographical drama will take viewers back to when it all started- the discovery of Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald L. Goldman. Both had been fatally stabbed on the evening of June 12, 1994.
The former football player was accused of the murder, which led to a trial that riveted the country and divided many along racial lines.
The series features a highly recognized cast, including Cuba Gooding Jr. as Mr. Simpson, John Travolta and Courtney B. Vance as defense lawyers Robert L. Shapiro and Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark and David Schwimmer as Simpson’s popular defense attorney Robert Kardashian.
Based on New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin’s 1996 book “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” the series is created by well-known executive producer and director Ryan Murphy, recognized as the mind behind the gory melodrama “American Horror Story.”
Murphy and his collaborators, producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, believe it is the perfect time to revisit the case. Recently, confrontations between white law enforcement officers and black civilians have been all over the news. While the new show acts as a source of entertainment, it is also created to address a social issue, encouraging the public discussion of our current legal system.
“We had the opportunity to be part of a conversation that needed to be had,” Jacobson said in an interview with The New York Times. “While we were shooting, the drumbeat of that conversation just kept getting louder and louder and louder. We did feel a sense of purpose, to speak to a giant audience with a director who has an enormous following and access and actors who have fans in every corner.”
Thanks to the decision to allow cameras in the courtroom, screenwriters were able to look back on the trial, capturing the tension, emotions, personalities and relationships of the people involved.
American Crime Story is said to have a few parallels to “Making A Murderer,” a Netflix documentary currently hijacking pop culture. Like the long trial of small-town Wisconsin man Steven Avery, Simpson’s case has drawn an audience due to unclear convictions and widespread conspiracy.
Although the now 68-year-old was acquitted in 1995, Simpson is currently behind bars charged for a number of felony counts, including kidnapping and armed robbery. Locked up in 2007, Simpson will be eligible for parole in 2017.
The live broadcast of Simpson’s verdict postponed press conferences, delayed government functions and caused the president to leave the Oval Office to watch the trial with his staff. Even nationwide water usage dramatically decreased because people were reluctant to go to the bathroom and miss the verdict.
The trial will always be remembered in history, and American Crime Story has found a way to bring the chilling event back to life.
Tune in to FX Feb 2. for the first episode.