America’s Thirst for the Juice

The events that would unfold in a brutal and horrific double-murder on June 12, 1994 would lead to one of America’s biggest obsessions with what is popularly referred to as “the trial of the century.” Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were found murdered.

The overwhelming evidence found at the scene of the crime would be enough to officially list O.J. Simpson as a suspect in the double homicide of his ex-wife and her friend. And so the fascination with O.J. Simpson would take a shift from “O.J. the celebrity” to “O.J. the accused murderer.”

Orenthal James Simpson or O.J. was also nicknamed “the Juice” by his fans. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1968. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1985. O.J. would go on to have some acting roles and endorsements including the 1988 movie, “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!” Hertz rental car service hired him for several commercials.

​In the T.V. mini-series on FX, which airs its final episode tomorrow, “The American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” re-enacts for viewers much of what made this trial so intriguing, including the dramatic Bronco chase in which O.J. flees from the L.A.P.D. with the help of his good friend, Al Cowlings, driving, while O.J. sits in the backseat with a gun to his head, contemplating suicide. This bizarre turn of events made television history, with 95 million viewers across America tuning in to watch the live action unfolding. Viewers of the FX mini-series are also given a sense of what it was like in the courtroom, from the victim’s family’s point-of-view, to the view of the “dream team” of defense attorneys, to the prosecutors and their overwhelming amount of forensic evidence. We see the defense team argue O.J. Simpson’s innocence despite blood evidence found in O.J.’s white Ford Bronco, and a single bloody glove found at his estate with its possible match left behind at the crime scene.

Starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” allows those who recall the actual events to relive it all over again, but also educates a new generation who may have not been familiar with the O.J. case. Through this, we are seeing the revival of an obsession.

​In 2015, A&E and Lifetime aired “The Secret Tapes of the O.J. Case: The Untold Story.” In this television special audiences heard newly released interviews and recordings that included statements from O.J. himself regarding the infamous case. With the release of books, TV specials, and this latest mini series, one can see how the fascination has as much to do with the media coverage as with the crime.

Although it has been two decades since the murder trial ended with a non-guilty verdict, popular interest in the man at the center of it all, O.J. Simpson, is still alive and thriving.