At nine o’clock we walk into the courtroom and take our places in our assigned seats, and then the door to the holding room opens and in comes O. J. Simpson himself, usually surrounded by Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, and Carl Douglas. We all stare at O.J. to see what kind of mood he’s in or to which lawyer he’s talking, and we watch him say good morning to members of his family. When Judge Lance Ito comes in, we do not rise, but we do rise on the bailiff’s order to do so as the jury enters. Then the trial begins again, and all day long we watch it, except for our lunch break, when we talk about it, saying things such as “Did you notice if O.J. looked when they showed the picture of Nicole lying in the blood?” The other night, after watching a segment of Hard Copy devoted to O.J. and a drug dealer, I went to a friend’s house for dinner. I had hardly gotten inside the front door when I was confronted by people who wanted to know what had happened in court that day. I had hoped for a little respite from the topic. I wanted to talk about something else for a change, and volunteered that Ethan Hawke was in the room across the hall from me at the Chateau Marmont, and that Keanu Reeves was in the room next to me, and that I had just seen Johnny Depp being interviewed in the lobby. But nobody cared. Polite nods were the most my movie-star name-dropping got. They all wanted to talk about nothing but O. J. Simpson.
If, like me (and many others), you've fallen hard for FX's American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, you've got some reading you'll want to do. As the show has portrayed, Dominick Dunne covered the trial in-person for Vanity Fair, and the VF archives has all 9 pieces linked up and ready to go. The writing is exquisite, Bret Easton Ellis meets Ernest Hemingway. Dunne is somber, charismatic, funny, and inquisitive. It doesn't get any better than this. The excerpt above is from Part 2, 'All O.J., All the Time.'