The People v. O.J. Simpson Recap: Johnnie Cochran Gets Inside Christopher Darden’s Head

The savvy defense attorney knocks the co-prosecutor off his game by merely suggesting he’s only on the case because he’s black.

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Johnnie Cochran is driving his daughters to dinner when he’s pulled over by a motorcycle cop for failure to signal while changing lanes, aka driving a Benz while black. Cochran says it’s the third time this week he’s been pulled over and suggests that the officer call in his license before things escalate. Because of his “hostile attitude,” the cop orders Cochran out of the car, puts him in handcuffs and leaves him leaning on the hood of his car while he calls in the license. People in this all-white part of town are all staring at Cochran. The officer eventually discovers that Cochran is the assistant district attorney.

Cochran downplays the incident for the sake of his kids, but they’re astute. “Daddy, did he call you a n–ger?” the oldest asks.  

Cochran: “He didn’t have to.”

He instructs his daughters never to use the n-word.

That was a flashback, because as we know, Cochran is no longer the ADA.

Fast-forward to present day: Cochran is at church, and the pastor is praying for him because Cochran is defending O.J. Simpson and that requires prayer.

After the service, Cochran gives a televised interview and wonders why Christopher Darden is all of a sudden on the case. “It’s obvious Darden is being used as a tool by the DA’s office because he’s black,” Cochran says.

Darden, Marcia Clark and Bill Hodgman are watching the interview at the DA’s office. Darden looks alarmed. You should have listened to your daddy when he told you to stay off this case two episodes ago.

Sometime later, Clark is in a meeting outlining the massive amount of evidence against O.J. “It’s more evidence than I’ve ever seen in a murder case,” Clark surmises. Across town, the defense is unbothered. “Evidence doesn’t win the day, “Cochran says. “Jurors go with the story that makes sense. Our job is to tell that story better than the other side tells theirs.”

At the courthouse on what seems like the following morning, Darden and Cochran meet in the hallway. Darden is upset about what Cochran said in the interview. “My sincere hope is that from this point forward that we can treat each other with respect,” Darden says.

Cochran practically laughs. “Brother, I ain’t trying to be respectful,” he says. “I’m trying to win.” Geez. Darden is in so far over his head. It’s sad, so sad.

In court, Darden nervously asks Judge Lance Ito to ban the use of the n-word during the trial. Darden says that the n–word will affect the jury’s ability to be fair.

Cochran pipes in to apologize to the African-American population for what Darden said. “I am ashamed that Mr. Darden would allow himself to become an apologist for Mark Fuhrman,” Cochran says. “This was outlandish, unfortunate and unwarranted.” After Cochran wraps, he turns to Darden and says, “N–ga, please.”

I’m choking.

The next morning, Darden walks into the office looking lost. He’s on the cover story of every major newspaper in the country. There’s even a poll that says 76 percent of African Americans don’t believe he’s doing a good job, and oftentimes they refer to Darden as an “Uncle Tom.”