In the latest The People vs. OJ Simpson recap, the infamous White Bronco chase through Los Angeles is documented as OJ goes on the run of his life….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s likely a lot of the scenes during the 10-episode event series American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson are going to ring back to the most infamous moments during a court case that was dubbed “the trial of the century”.
On the latest episode, one of the most bizarre and iconic moments leading to Simpson’s arrest was documented as cameras, police and onlookers followed the famous football player make a long and winding trip around Los Angeles as he fled from authorities with a gun pointed as his head before finally turning himself in 10 hours later at his home in Brentwood.
Watching the whole thing unfold in 1995 was surreal but seeing it recreated with eerie precision and accuracy was almost impossible to believe.
From a morning press conference held by District Attorney Gil Garcetti to a follow up press conference with Robert Shapiro and Robert Kardashian reading a letter to viewers from “The Juice” to Simpson’s long journey finally coming to an end at his own home where he was finally arrested and charged for the murder of his wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman — it all played out just as it happened and it’s just as strange today as it was back then.
The added elements during the episode including the rising racial tensions felt about Simpson’s impending arrest as well as the initial interest in the case from eventual lead attorney Johnnie Cochran really showcased the puzzle pieces coming together before anybody ever appeared in a courtroom.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of The People vs. OJ Simpson titled “The Run of His Life”….
The Chase Begins
Backing up to the end of the last episode into this week, OJ Simpson disappears from a house where he was being held along with his attorneys, Robert Kardashian and Robert Shapiro, after threatening suicide and then riding off with his friend Al “AC” Cowlings. A couple of interesting facts about Cowlings — he’s described as a fourth string linebacker who was a teammate of Simpson’s who did everything to emulate him during his life. His hero worship went as deep as adopting a nickname just like Simpson — AC — and buying an identical white Ford Bronco just like Simpson owned and was eventually used as evidence in his trial.
Cowlings took OJ from the house and proceeded to parade him around Los Angeles, stopping by the cemetery where his ex-wife Nicole was being buried all while the former football star put a gun to his head and threatened suicide.
Meanwhile back at the Los Angeles Police Department, Marcia Clark is livid as she’s watching this case receive national attention mostly because the authorities couldn’t even manage to arrest one of the most famous faces living in California. Instead, he escaped from a house full of people into one of the most densely populated cities in the world and no one seemed to know where to find him.
Clark looked utterly stunned as masses of people from around her office huddled around television sets, all enamored with this slow moving car chase being followed for what seemed like hours as the White Bronco followed by dozens of police cruisers became the fascination of an entire nation.
Back at the Kardashian estate where OJ fled, his friend Robert Kardashian summons Robert Shapiro into a private room where he shares some disturbing letters left to him by the former football great. The letters, which Simpson first revealed last week, were addressed to his family, to his kids and to his fans but they read like suicide notes and each was signed ‘Peach and Love, OJ’ but the “O” was written with a smiley face.
Shapiro is concerned about Simpson’s mental state but he’s just as worried about the picture that’s being painted by the District Attorney’s office that he’s somehow to blame for his client fleeing rather than turning himself in as agreed. Shapiro even goes as far as calling Gil Garcetti and mentioned that they partied together at his 50th birthday celebration as if that exonerated him from losing one of the most high profile fugitives in recent history.
So Shapiro does the next logical thing — he holds his own press conference.
It’s there where Shapiro’s own self-absorbed nature shines through because throughout his time on the microphone, all he can talk about is how OJ was so thankful that he had a great lawyer by his side and appreciative of all the things Shaprio was doing for him. In another office in Los Angeles, Cochran watches this all unfold and remarks how the Shapiro is doing what he does best — saving his own ass.
Cochran’s ire only grows when he ends up on a local television show to talk about the Simpson case and he begins to sew the seeds of the racial lines being drawn in this case and how it’s a sickening trend that he’s been battling against for decades. Once again it can’t be pointed out enough that this case took place just a couple of years after the LA riots and the Rodney King decision. Race was extremely prevalent at this time and Simpson’s case fell right in the middle of stewing pot of aggressive feelings and uneasy tensions.
Back at the press conference, Shapiro has Kardashian read one of the Simpson’s suicide notes live on the air, which leads an entire nation to believe that he’s not only on the run but probably looking to kill himself. This only amps up viewership as people from around the United States started looking around more and more for the latest news on OJ Simpson’s run from justice.
Outside the Lines
Finally after an all-points bulletin is issued and a warrant for both Simpson and Cowlings has been announced, a random driver on the freeway spots the White Bronco and calls the sighting into police. The cops have been receiving calls all day with claims of seeing Simpson but this one actually ends with police tracking down the White Bronco and giving chase on a highway in Los Angeles.
At one point, the cops actually slow down and surround the car and it looks like the chase is coming to an end but Cowling’s warnings that Simpson is in the back with a gun to his head forces the police to back off as the Bronco pulls away from the authorities and back onto the road. The cops on the scene are dumbfounded at how to proceed because with helicopters and news stations following along in live detail, they aren’t about to shoot OJ Simpson dead in the middle of the freeway.
As the coverage for the Simpson chase deepens, television stations are forced to make some very difficult decisions. The national attention on Simpson is so wide spread that even the NBA Finals, which are deep into game 5 at the time when the chase really starts to gain steam, gets pre-empted to instead focus on the White Bronco careening down the highway with a trail of cop cars behind it. The soundtrack is provided brilliantly by the Beastie Boys track “Sabotage”, which was released just a few months earlier in 1994.
Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Christopher Darden is having a barbecue with his father and some nearby neighbors as everyone watches the Simpson chase unfold. While Darden’s neighbors are beginning to champion OJ as another black man being persecuted by the police, he’s quick to point out that while Simpson was famous in the community, he never did anything comparable to an even better running back named Jim Brown.
Just like Cochran was beginning to see the racial lines being drawn before joining Simpson’s “dream team” defense, Darden is starting to see the same except he’s not buying it. He sees Simpson as a murderer fleeing from justice and not a victim of the system.
Finally as Cowlings begins to make calls to 911 and Simpson begins reaching out as well, his psyche is clearly fragile but he’s beginning to sound like a man ready to say goodbye but not before he says something to his mother.
At one point things turn so dire that Kardashian is convinced that Simpson has killed himself and he shares the news with his friends and family. Seconds later, Simpson’s Bronco is spotted on the freeway and his children are relieved as is Kardashian, who has stood by his friend every second since they first discovered Nicole and Ron’s bodies.
The Chase Ends
Finally after a chase that actually lasted almost exactly two hours, Cowlings and Simpson arrive back at his Brentwood estate with the intention of turning themselves over to the police. Simpson once again makes a plea to his fried “Bobby” Kardashian asking for help as he tries to save face despite being the most wanted fugitive in Los Angeles for the past day.
Finally, Simpson emerges from the vehicle and walks into his house where he’s placed under arrest, hand cuffed and put into the back of a police car. Shapiro’s quick wit is on display here when he tells his client — “we’re still in the game” after Simpson survives the chase and doesn’t actually kill himself. Kardashian is beside himself — one part of him decidedly concerned for Simpson’s safety and the other side still vexed by all the events that led to this.
And finally there’s Marcia Clark staring at the TV screen as Simpson is taken into custody. All she wants to do is get her hands on this case file and put this murderer behind bars.
And now she’ll get her chance.