There is a mini-series currently being aired on the FX network (Tuesday nights), titled "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson," based largely on lawyer-writer Jeffrey Toobin's superb book (I read it when it came out), "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson."
Toobin not only writes regularly for the "New Yorker" magazine, he is sent, packed in ice, to the networks whenever they require a "real" lawyer to comment on a "real" legal matter, such as, most recently, the untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the question of who is likely to replace him. Toobin is an excellent writer. He's written six books, five of which I've read.
If you can accept Cuba Gooding, Jr., as O.J. Simpson, John Travolta as attorney Robert Shapiro, and David Schwimmer as O.J.'s close friend Robert Kardashian (yes, of those Kardashians), you will have no problem with the show, because the acting is first-rate, and the story makes no attempt (so far, at least) to get cute and pretend that Mr. Simpson was innocent.
According to rumors--rumors that Cuba Gooding, Jr., himself has heard--O.J. (who hasn't seen the show) was disappointed when he found out that Gooding would be portraying him. Apparently, he wanted the wonderfully talented Denzel Washington to do it. Who wouldn't? Better than Joseph Fiennes, no?
But Denzel is 61 years old, and Gooding is only 48--which is almost the identical age that O.J. was when he "allegedly" committed those murders. Simpson has no beef here. Also, given his woeful performance in "Hambone and Hillie" (opposite Candy Clark) O.J. Simpson should never allowed to comment on any living actor.
As anyone who followed the original case knows (which is to say every adult in America), Simpson stunned everyone by being acquitted of the brutal murder of ex-wife Nicole Simpson and bystander Ronald Goldman. Toobin's book is worth reading. Lots of bizarre shit surrounded the case--from racist cops, to jury gullibility, to prosecution flubs, to a weak, star-struck judge, to a brilliant defense team.
In any event, not long after being set free, Simpson was sued in civil court by the Goldman family and ordered to pay $33.7 million in damages (of which he has coughed up but a few pennies). And then, years later, in a seemingly preposterous turn, he was arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, robbery, kidnapping, assault, and the use of a deadly weapon.
After his alleged accomplices in the Las Vegas caper were persuaded to testify against him, in December of 2008, a Nevada court sentenced Simpson to "life in prison with parole," for which he has already served about nine years at the Lovelock Correctional Center, in Pershing County, Nevada (approximately 330 miles from Las Vegas).
As a result of having been an exemplary prisoner (ironically, law enforcement officials have always liked O.J.), he will be eligible for parole in 2017. According to rumor (Toobin himself hasn't weighed in on it, but we'd love to know what he thinks), because Simpson will be 70 years old, they say he has a good chance of getting it.