RECAP: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story — Preacher Man [Episode 4]

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We begin this episode with O.J. in better times, dancing in a club, snorting cocaine off a woman, and sitting in the VIP section with never-ending drinks being served. Cut to reality – O.J. in his prison cell knocking his tray of food to the floor. My how the mighty have fallen.

There’s a power struggle brewing within the Dream Team. Marcia Clark may not realize what African-American women really think of her, but she can see the problems building with the defense. In her office at night over drinks, Marcia tells Christopher Darden her thoughts. “You know what O.J.’s biggest problem is?” she begins. “That pileup of egos called the Dream Team. It’s a dozen alpha dogs in a cage match. They’re going to tear each other up and implode.”

Bob Shapiro won’t let anyone forget that he’s lead attorney. The thing is, nobody on the Dream Team wants Bob as lead because he is more focused on a plea bargain for O.J. than winning. When Bob asks, “Who thinks O.J. did it?” in a meeting, something an attorney should never do or say, the room falls silent.


F. Lee Bailey, who is there to deliver timely one-liners, is not happy to have to work for free and not happy about the plea bargain. Bailey convinces Johnny Cochran to make his move for lead attorney and then Bailey goes on Larry King Live and declares Shapiro an “empty suit.”

Meanwhile, Cochran is dismayed by O.J.’s dwindling spirit behind bars. He gives a pep talk to O.J. about what an inspiration he was. O.J. feels inspired and repeats, “I am an inspiration.” Cut to the court room when O.J. tells Judge Ito that he is “Absolutely, 100% not guilty.”


So now it’s time for the showdown between attorneys, Cochran vs. Shapiro. They hold dueling press conference over jury selection, they argue in judge’s chambers over playing the race card, and they confront one another in the hallway.

“Don’t ever contradict me like that again,” yells Shapiro. Cochran says, “You contradict yourself, Bob. We all have longer memories than your previous soundbite.”

When Shapiro chooses an ill-timed trip to Hawaii, the others attorneys use this opportunity, with Kardashian’s support, to demote Shapiro and replace Cochran as lead attorney. Shapiro finds out when he returns from his trip, clad in a Hawaiian shirt, by fax. O.J. is also on board with the new team strategy.

Over at the prosecutions office, things aren’t going well either. Marcia Clark is reluctant to listen to any advice from the experts. She thinks she has great rapport with black women, when in fact they think Marcia’s a bitch. 

Marcia says, “If I can make it black women we’re in good shape… They’ll sympathize with Nicole. They’ll make the connection. OJ’s abuse led to murder.”

Unfortunately their research points to the fact that jurors will see Nicole as a gold-digger. Speaking of gold-diggers, flash forward to Faye Resnick and her book about her very close friendship with Nicole Brown: “The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted.” Each side is worried this fantastical memoir of drugs and casual sex will taint the jury. Judge Ito delays jury selection for two days so that everyone may vet the book.

After court resumes, there is one more play made by the prosecution in this giant game of chess, and that’s the addition of Christopher Darden as third chair to “fix the optics.”

“When did they get a black guy?” asks Simpson when he notices Darden at the opposite table. Marcia gives him a coy smile that says, we can play that game, too.



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