Only two episodes in, and American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson is already taking television by storm. For those that actually witnessed the events unfold some twenty years ago, the series is like taking a step back in time. However, for others, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. After all, the new series is not a typical documentary. With that in mind, what is true and what is fiction in The People v. O.J. Simpson?
For starters, E! Online is reporting that the series is actually based off Jeffrey Toobin’s book, The Run of His Life. However, even though the show is based off a book that contains factual evidence, producers did stray away from reality at points for dramatic effect and/or simplifying the storyline.
However, there is still a surprising number of facts in the series. In the show, Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is shown taking refuge in Robert Kardashian’s (David Schwimmer) house and almost committing suicide. This actually happened in real life, though the dialogue that ensued between Kardashian and Simpson was dramatized for the show.
In one of the more heart-wrenching scenes in the first episode, Simpson’s daughter, Sydney, is heard calling the house and leaving a message demanding to speak to her mother. During her frantic call, the police are at the house gathering evidence against Simpson. Although this scenario seems unlikely, this did, in fact, happen in real life.
Meanwhile, in the second episode, Kardashian did read Simpson’s suicide note to the press. However, the note was actually longer and featured more errors than the one included on the show. In fact, according to Rolling Stone, there were some key grammatical errors that made the note not only more ambiguous, but also may have changed its meaning.
This included the opening lines, which read: “First everyone understand nothing to do with Nicole’s murder.” In the series, Kardashian messes with the lines and adds in a few words to make it more understandable. “First, Everyone understand I had nothing to do with Nicole’s murder.”
At the same time, Simpson was very close to committing suicide at several points after his wife’s death, including during the white Bronco chase. Just like on American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Kardashian was instrumental in talking him out of killing himself on numerous occasions.
“By taking him around the house, I know I saved his life,” Kardashian stated in an interview. “I also think I did in the Bronco, as well as A.C. [Cowlings]. A.C. definitely saved his life.”
Speaking of the car chase, it is interesting to note that it was Domino’s highest grossing day ever as people on the West and East Coast elected to order pizza and watch the two-hour long chase unfold on TV.
“We benefited from the fact that it was essentially ‘dinner time’ on the West Coast and late evening on the East Coast,” Domino’s VP Tim McIntyre stated. “People were so enthralled by the bizarre nature of what was happening; they didn’t want to miss a moment.”
While American Crime Story certainly sticks to the truth in many situations, there are some things on the show that did not happen in real life. For instance, according to E! Online, Kardashian did not tell Simpson’s children and family members that the NFL star had committed suicide. This is something that the series elected to include as a way to dramatize the events.
The next episode of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, titled “The Dream Team,” is set to air February 16 on FX, check out a preview below.
Tell us! Are you tuning in to The People v. O.J. Simpson? Are you surprised that the show took liberty with so many situations? Let us know in the comments.
[Image via FX]