Already have an account?
Get back to the

‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’ Recap: Mark Fuhrman Creates Huge Problem for Prosecution

Mano a mano! In the Tuesday, March 1, episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, the two legal teams squared off in the courtroom, and the tension between Christopher Darden (Sterling K. Brown) and Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance) was especially high. Chris expressed his doubts about Mark Fuhrman (Steven Pasquale) as a good witness, but as Johnnie turned up the heat on him, he had bigger things to worry about.


Related: PHOTOS: 'People v. O.J. Simpson': Compare the Real-Life Figures With Cast

Thin Blue Line, Thick Black Fear

The episode began with a flashback of Johnnie taking his young daughters out for lunch. On their way, they were pulled over by a police officer. He sighed, and as he was pulled over, he asked, “OK, girls, what do we say to the police?”

“Nothing,” they responded in unison.

“And who talks to the police?”

“Our lawyers.”

He and the officer got into an altercation, and he was cuffed for having a “hostile attitude” after he exclaimed that it was the third time he’d been pulled over in a week for the crime of being a black man in a nice car in a white neighborhood. The officer eventually uncuffed him after checking his license, saying, “Have a nice night, Mr. District Attorney,” but it was too late. His children and neighbors had already seen him cuffed like a criminal. His daughters were terrified of the police in spite of having done nothing wrong.

Related: PHOTOS: Celebrity Mugshots

Once the show returned to the present, Johnnie received a blessing at his church, and it was covered by the local news. He used the opportunity to slam the prosecutors for asking Chris to be on their team, saying it was “obvious” he was being used as a tool for being black.

Then, once Johnnie delivered that blow, both sides got to work. Prosecutor Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) began by telling her team that accused murderer O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) had beaten, degraded and stalked ex-wife and murder victim Nicole Brown 62 times that they knew of. She shared that Nicole’s blood had been found in O.J.’s bedroom and on his socks. Across town, Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer) laughed about how the prosecution’s “star witness” was the dog that barked and alerted its neighbor to the dead bodies. While Marcia triumphantly announced that they had the most physical evidence she’d ever seen in a case, F. Lee Bailey (Nathan Lane) rejoiced that the cops had handled the evidence so poorly. Both sides were sure they would win.

Flying Into a Color Blind Rage

Chris received Mark as one of the witnesses he was meant to bring to the stand. Mark’s history of violently racist outbursts was brought up uncomfortably during their initial meeting. When the meeting ended, Chris took his concerns about Mark’s character to Marcia, sparking a fight.

Related: PHOTOS: Celebrities Dating Athletes

The animosity extended outside of the courtroom, too, where protesters sparred over O.J.’s guilt. Some called him a murderer, while others chanted, “No justice, no peace, no racist police.” Inside, Chris continued his string of icy encounters when he confronted Johnnie about what he’d said during the press conference.

“Brother, I ain’t trying to be respectful,” hissed Johnnie. “I’m trying to win.”

Chris channeled his shock and anger into a request to Judge Lance Ito (Kenneth Choi) not to allow discussions of Mark’s alleged previous racial tirades in the trial for fear that the inflammatory word used by the detective to describe people of color would “blind” the jury. Johnnie seized the opportunity to condemn Chris for suggesting that black people as a whole were too “unstable” to hear a racial slur and be morally blinded as a result.

The next day’s headlines read, “Lawyers Face Off Over Race.”

Stress Test

When Chris learned that he had a 76 percent disapproval rating among the black community, he begged Defense Attorney Gil Garcetti (Bruce Greenwood) to allow him to speak to the black press and was told that defense lawyers don’t go on talk shows. He turned to Marcia, imploring her again not to use Mark as a witness.

She insisted Mark remain on their list. Meanwhile, Johnnie learned that 12 names had been erroneously left off of the defense’s list, thanks to an oversight by Robert Shapiro (John Travolta). The opening statements were set for the next day.

Related: PHOTOS: Hollywood's Most Expensive Divorces

During the statement, Johnnie read the omitted names anyway, causing attorney William Hodgman (Christian Clemenson) to jump up frantically, pleading with Judge Ito to intervene. The judge stated he had never seen Bill act that way before. Suddenly, the attorney collapsed. As he was wheeled out on a stretcher, Judge Ito called for a recess.

Gil and Marcia, panic-stricken, debated over what to do. Marcia decided to move Chris up to the position of co-prosecutor in Bill’s place.

Johnnie was stressed, too, but only once he walked through O.J.’s mansion to prep it for the jury’s upcoming visit. Photos of his client with showgirls and portraits of sexy women hung all around. Johnnie called in a team of renovators, who replaced those pieces with art that looked distinctly African, as well as with a large, framed picture of O.J. with his mother.

A Homecoming Fit for a Football Star

The jurors were given the chance to look around in Nicole’s home, but Marcia was horrified to see that it had been completely gutted.

“This doesn’t tell them anything!” she said. “She was a mother. There was a family!”

Next, the jurors moved on to O.J.’s house. Photos of his children were present there, though they had been removed from Nicole’s property.

“This is a complete misrepresentation,” whispered Chris. “This isn’t O.J.”

O.J., too, was confused, looking at a photo and saying, “These aren’t even my kids …”

As Marcia took her complaints to Judge Ito, Chris sat on a bench in O.J.’s back yard. Suddenly, the football star was screaming, “Get off my bench! You shouldn’t even be in my house!” as jurors looked startled. The image Johnnie had crafted of an upstanding man with a taste in art and culture was eroding.

Johnnie pulled Chris aside, whispering, “Don’t do Fuhrman. Let the white people do him.”

Chris hesitated, unsure if Johnnie was trying to screw him up. After a final interview with Fuhrman, he approached Marcia for a third time. This time, he told her that he would not have Fuhrman as his witness. He did not ask her — and she agreed to take Fuhrman in the end.

The final shot was one of Fuhrman in his home, polishing a glass case that contained Nazi memorabilia.

Tell Us: Should the prosecution have strategized differently regarding Mark’s testimony?

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story airs on FX Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST.

In this article

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!