Remember when jury selection started for O. J. Simpson's trial, and it seemed like everyone in the greater Los Angeles area was dying to be part of the trial of the century? Well, the lucky few who made it to the final round are now regretting that decision. They've been sequestered in a hotel, away from their families and loved ones, for over 100 days. They aren't allowed to watch television. When they do have the opportunity to watch something from Blockbuster (RIP, Blockbuster), they all have to agree on what to watch. Half the group wants Martin. The other half wants Seinfeld. They seem to be very divided along racial lines.
The jurors do seem to have bonded with their sheriff's guards, who are their only form of communication with the outside world. Some of the jurors start getting pulled off the case due to newly discovered background issues (domestic violence incidents; one if them is possibly writing a book about the trial); tensions start to flare. When Judge Ito (played on The People v. O.J. Simpson by Kenneth Choi) then pulls three of their favorite guards off the case, that combined with their dwindling ranks proves to be too much for the jurors to handle.
They stage a revolt, which did really happen during the trial. On the morning of April 21, 1995, the jurors refused to come to the courtroom, demanding Judge Ito come speak with them at their hotel. He denied them this request, saying he would only communicate with them if they arrived at the courthouse. They did, but they donned somber colors. When they arrived in the jury box, it looked like a funeral procession. This is all true to life, and it was seen as a jury mutiny. The jurors were tired of being sequestered and treated like fish in a bowl. They felt monitored at every occasion, and the removal of the sheriff's guards with whom they'd bonded felt like the last straw. On the show, one woman has something that resembles a psychotic break, bounding over a wall during breakfast and trying to escape the confines of the hotel.
The prosecution and defense teams argue back and forth about replacement jurors for the ones who have to be removed from the panel, but this week's episode of American Crime Story was more of a reminder of the human toll the trial took on many citizens of Los Angeles. The prosecution and defense are still very hung up on the "optics" of the trial, and how things will look to the press. How will the newly revised jury affect the outcome of the trial? Will the tip about Mark Fuhrman (played here by Steven Pasquale) received on the tip line at the end of the episode be the final nail in the prosecution's case? Until next week!