With OJ Simpson seeking parole, let’s look back at “The People v OJ Simpson,” FX’s mostly accurate dramatization of his murder trial. Lead writers Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander told us about a few instances where they took dramatic liberties.
1. The Michael Jackson Joke
Johnnie Cochran remarks in the first episode that he can’t wear lime green because it scares one of his clients, Michael Jackson.
“I think we made it up because we thought it was funny,” Karaszewski told TheWrap. “We needed a shorthand to say even before the OJ trial, Johnnie had his hands full.”
Added Alexander: “Larry, I think we might have been mixing up our singers. I think there was some anecdote with Prince being afraid of a certain color. I think we might have attributed Prince’s fear of green to Michael.”
2. They Eliminated Some Lawyers.
“I don’t think we went out of our way to make up anything in particular. … It’s all about condensing and simplifying,” said Karaszewski. “There were more lawyers on both teams, there were people sitting at that desk everyday with Johnnie and with Marcia [Clark] who never got a shot on TV, and they did some important things.”
3. They Changed Who Said What Sometimes.
“If an episode was on a roll trying to play up different problems between Johnnie and Chris [Darden], but Lee Bailey happens to have asked a really pointed question of one of the witnesses, that line may work better for us to give to Johnnie,” Alexander said. “I don’t know if we’re breaking any biopic laws by handing lines across the defense team.”
4. They Changed When People Said Things
In the show, Darden says he should be held in contempt, and Clark offers to remove her watch and jewelry to go to jail. Using the series’ timeline, the proceeding would have happened around late August or early September, but it actually happened in February. That’s OK, say the writers.
“There were two sort of Chris Darden meltdowns in the court, and you know, obviously in making a drama out of this, we made it one. I think we were very, very faithful to the events that happened,” said Karaszewski.
5. They Maybe Scooched Chris and Marcia Closer Together For That Awkward Goodnight
Darden says in his book that he was “10 feet” from Clark as they paused at their separate hotel rooms. In the show, they’re close enough to kiss. (But don’t.)
“The takeaway from both of their books is they spent a lot of time together, they were very close, they seemed to be attracted to each other, they took a trip up to the Bay Area, and they were in adjoining hotel rooms and they had a moment in the hallway. So whether he was 10 feet or three feet, I don’t know. I wasn’t there,” says Alexander.
Adds Karaszewski: “And also both of them were very, very coy about what happened, and in all fairness to us, we say nothing happened.”
Here’s a list of 10 bizarre details Alexander (left) and Karaszewski (right) got right in “The People v OJ Simpson”…
… and here are some of the weird details of the O.J. Simpson trial that they didn’t delve into.