true crime

[TV] The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016)

Do you remember where you were the night of June 17, 1994? I remember: I had completed my first year of University, and was home in Sudbury for a visit. My family and I were all hanging out in the rec room of my Mom’s house, trying to stay cool.

Following June 12, 1994, news of Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder was fresh, and we became glued to CNN as speculation of  O.J. Simpson being a suspect transfixed the world. For me, I didn’t know much about O.J. other than from the Naked Gun films (which was one of my favourite movie franchises at the time). So when we were flipping through the channels around 9 P.M. June 17, and saw the live feed of O.J.’s white Bronco navigating the Los Angeles freeways, we made some popcorn and watched the story unfold before our eyes…which was pretty much what my husband and I did this past weekend when we watched the first two episodes of the People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, airing Tuesday nights at 10 P.M.on FX Canada. True Crime buffs need to get on cuing up their PVRs for this one, if they haven’t already. The show is pretty damn good.

The show begins the night of June 12, 1994, when Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found murdered on Brown Simpson’s Brentwood, California estate by a neighbour walking his dog. At the same time, O.J. Simpson is “running late” to catch his limo to LAX where he is due in Chicago. The story runs down the sequence of events as they unfolded in real life: contacting O.J about his ex-wife being murdered., his interrogation, and his wild ride down the LA freeway with his best bud Al Cowlings. All the players of the case are included, such as Kato Kaelin, Johnny Cochran and Robert Shapiro, as well as those on the periphery – Marcia Clark, Lead Prosecutor, and Mark Fuhrman, the infamous lead LAPD detective.

The cast of the People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story sort of caught me by surprise: Cuba Gooding, Jr as O.J.? Really? Yes, and it worked! Gooding played a whiny angry O.J. to a T. Then, there is John Travolta as a gaunt-faced Robert Shapiro. This was a little hard to take at first, only because – well, look at him! He looked like he spent too long baking in the tanning bed. That aside, Travolta plays a decent Shapiro. Of course, there can’t be O.J. without a Kardashian – Robert Kardashian to be exact – O.J.’s confidant, played by David Schwimmer. And, yes, we had a couple of guffaw moments watching as Ross counsels O.J. on how not to look as guilty as sin. About my only real complaint about this show is how it paraded every Kardashian family member in the first two episodes. Khloe, Kim, Kourtney, Kris…were all represented here (I swear, Grandma Kardashian was cast but ended up on the cutting-room floor somehow).

Now, I know sometimes T.V. adaptations of real crime stories can get packaged up on the “Sunday Night Movie” Cheez Cart, and true, I did PVR this show initially for the hell of it. But, I couldn’t pull myself away from this story. Be sure to check it out!

People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
FX
2016

Discovering Podcasts – Four To Tide You Over Until Serial Starts Up Again

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A few weeks ago, I wrote how I have just started getting my feet wet with listening to podcasts. I also shared some of the ones I have been listening to. And wow, the reader response I’ve received, particularly on Facebook and Twitter! It would seem that there are some of you that enthusiastically do listen to podcasts!

As mentioned previously, what really got me into podcasts was one called Serial. If you haven’t heard of it and love true crime, you need to check Serial out. Since then, I have finished listening to Serial’s first season, and anxiously await until Season 2 premieres later this year. I was sad to have it come to an end. It was well-researched and well-produced. Where the heck am I going to find more podcasts like this to listen to??

The search was on for more podcasts to listen to. I know this can be very VERY dangerous! I could hop down a deep rabbit-hole, never to see the light of day again! I took to the Googles for help with a very specific criteria: podcasts about true crime and mysteries, because, that is what interests me these days. I have since found five podcasts that have gotten their hooks into me. Those who are jonesing for more Serial should check these podcasts out:

Criminal

Unlike Serial which looks at one criminal case a season, Criminal takes one topic of crime and discusses it for one episode. Topics handled range from individual murder cases, theft, to the psychology of lying and counterfeiting. Hosted by Phoebe Judge, the podcast’s production is reminiscent of Serial in how it uses music track beds and interviews. Each podcast is about 20 minutes long, on average.

I recommend starting with the first episode of Criminal: the true case of a man convicted of his wife’s murder, where the forensic evidence could lead one to believe it was not man, but animal that caused the killing.

Find the podcast here.

The Generation Why Podcast

If you’re interested true stories of crime, mysteries and conspiracy theories, then the Generation Why Podcast might be what you’re looking for. Aaron and Justin discuss these matters, providing their take on the issues at hand in an interesting and insightful manner. Their recent podcast on D.B. Cooper, the infamous wanted man who managed to hijack a plane, get his ransom, and make his escape by skydiving out the back of the plane, is an excellent introduction to the podcast. Other topics covered: 9/11, the disappearance of Maura Murray, JFK Assassination, and Princess Diana.

Check them out here.

Sword and Scale

Probably the most immersive podcast on this list is Mike Boudet’s Sword and Scale. Ripping stories right out of the headlines, this podcast digs below the surface of cases and uses real 911 calls, police interviews and court case transcripts to tell a murder case from start to finish. A warning though: this podcast is not for the faint of heart. Some very hard topics are covered, such as matricide. The most recent podcast I heard was a two-parter about Canadian psychopath and convicted murderer Luka Magnotta’s life and murder trial. Some shocking tales are told on this podcast, but I still recommend it if you’re looking to dig into the fringe aspects of a murder case. Also, if you’re interested in some wicked awesome trip-hop tunage, this is your podcast.

Sword and Scale Episode 39

Here Be Monsters

Jeff Emtman’s little corner of the podcast planet looks at the little dark unknowns of life and fashions a story about them. In one of the first episodes I listened to, titled “Do Crows Mourn their Dead?” researchers touch on how crows can remember faces, and how they behave when one of their own have died (I know the latter part to be true – I witnessed it myself from the comfort of my living room window). In another story, a janitor with a penchant for scuba diving befriends a large octopus under a dock. A lovely musical track and sound effects bring you right into these unusual stories.

Do Crows Mourn Their Dead?
John Dips Below

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Well, that’s all I have for you Serial fans out there. If you have come across any podcasts with a similar flavour, not mentioned here, please make sure to comment or shoot me a tweet. 🙂