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Tue Sep 27 22:41:40 CAT 2016

OJ trial even better the second time

Charlotte Runcie, ©The Daily Telegraph | 24 February, 2016 00:37

"What is the protocol when an armed celebrity fugitive is being chased by 12 police cars and seven helicopters?" asked a policeman in episode three of The People v OJ Simpson

Another good question might be: how on earth do you dramatise the most famous real-life car chase in American history?

The second episode of this lauded 10-part American Crime Story series, focusing on the arrest, trial and acquittal of the sports star, showed you how it's done.

It is a sublime, multi-textured hour of drama, exquisitely shot, masterfully edited and sensitively performed, and directed with virtuoso power by Ryan Murphy, who has made a series operatic in scope, style and beauty.

Few criminal trials are better-known. When the events of OJ Simpson's arrest and trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goodman took place in 1994, the story dominated American news channels, and media around the world, for months.

This adaptation has made the story urgent and real again. My heart may actually have stopped beating at the moment Simpson left the car to give himself up.

We followed a desperate, erratic Simpson (sympathetically played by Cuba Gooding jnr) in the backseat of his white Ford Bronco with a gun to his head, demanding to be driven away from police.

Though tightened up, the dialogue stuck closely to the words used in phone calls police actually made to Simpson.

  • The show is broadcast on Wednesdays at 8.10pm on DStv channel 125.

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