Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark and Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden in The People v. O.J. Simpson
Ray Mickshaw/FX

Marcia Clark is in a different courtroom. Lest we forget, while prosecuting O.J. Simpson for a double murder, she’s also in the midst of a custody battle with her ex-husband for her two children, who her husband says spend all their time with babysitters. Clark is also “very late” for work. Yikes! 

Today’s witness? Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson’s sister, who recounts a time when O.J. grabbed her sister’s crotch and said, “This is where babies come from and this belongs to me.” Denise says that O.J. wasn’t angry; “that’s just the kind of person he was.” He sounds like a douche.

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After work, Clark pulls up to her house and stops outside for a smoke. She overhears a TV segment where she’s described as “frump incarnate … this is not a look; this is a cry for help.” 

Somewhere in a network office, executives are debating whether to pre-empt their daytime lineup for the trial. “This is a better daytime soap than anything we’ve got,” an exec notes. They decide to clear the slate. 

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Clark arrives at work and says she hardly slept, but she’s over-prepared for court and “ready for anything,” which in TV world means that something unexpected is about to happen.

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She calls Detective Mark Fuhrman to the stand, and the defense team quickly interject that they have “a situation.” The situation is Rosa Lopez, the housekeeper for O.J. Simpson’s neighbor, who says she saw O.J.’s Bronco parked outside his house at the time the prosecution says it would have been at Nicole’s house while O.J. was killing his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. The witness is leaving the country and needs to testify immediately. Clark says that the defense is just trying to destroy her momentum, which is probably accurate. 

Judge Lance Ito dismisses the jury to hash out the witness issue and says the court will be going late tonight. Clark says she can’t do it. She has to get home to take care of her kids. She looks so defeated. Ito dismisses the court until the morning. 

Back at the office, District Attorney Gil Garcetti is none too happy about Clark and her child care issues. “It looks like you’re losing control,” Garcetti says to Clark. He guilts her into staying at the office to work. Oh, and he’s appalled about the way that Clark’s appearance is being dragged in the media. But, um, in case she’s interested, he’s happy to introduce her to some media consultants for a makeover. Ouch. Clark calls her ex, the one who’s already complaining that she’s never with the kids, to ask if he can watch them. Again.

In court the following day, Lopez takes the stand. Johnnie Cochran says that her testimony can be done in a day if Clark can manage her child care. Clark says that Cochran’s remarks were “unconscionable and totally out of line.” They were. 

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The housekeeper is a kook. She says she’s leaving the country but she has no plane ticket, according to the airline. And she doesn’t remember now what time she saw the Bronco. Womp, womp. 

Outside the courtroom, the lawyers are besieged by fans and the media. A reporter asks Cochran about his own history of domestic abuse. I’m sorry, what? In the office later, Cochran calls his ex-wife, Barbara, all but bribing her to keep her mouth shut. 

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The media also catch up with Clark’s ex, or maybe he catches up with them. Either way, he’s on TV saying that Clark was lying about needing to get home from court because he had the kids. “I am sick of her using our kids as pawns,” he says. Their custody battle is officially ugly.

The following day, Cochran and the other attorneys apologize for the housekeeper’s testimony to a ticked-off O.J. O.J. says that he needs to know everything in advance so he can weigh in. Robert Shapiro tries to reason with O.J.

O.J.: “When I want to hear from you, I’ll rattle my zipper.”

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Me: *dead*

Clark is at the hair salon working with a stylist who name-drops that he did Farrah Fawcett’s hair. We know from history that this ends badly. When Clark walks in to court the next day, she initially mistakes looks of shock as appreciation but soon realizes she’s made a huge mistake. Christopher Darden scribbles some words of encouragement on a notepad to a tearful Clark. Is he flirting with her?

The next day, Fuhrman finally takes the stand. During the cross-examination, F. Lee Bailey asks Fuhrman in five different ways whether he’s dropped an n-bomb in the past 10 years. Fuhrman says he has not. 

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Elsewhere, the network execs are watching, fascinated. “Can you say ‘n—ger’ on TV?” one asks. Apparently, yes, then and now. 

The court breaks for lunch, and Garcetti calls Clark into his office to inform her that a tabloid has run naked photos of her, images leaked by her first ex-husband. Clark—bless her heart—returns to court right after finding out and dissolves into tears. Ito has mercy on her and adjourns the court. Oh, Marcia. 

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Later, Clark is sobbing on the floor in her office when Darden stops by. “I’m not a public personality,” she says. “This is not what I do. I don’t know how to do this … I can’t take it.”

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Darden, who is being portrayed as the nicest man ever, joins her on the floor and comforts her. “You do look mighty good in that picture,” he tells Clark. It’s enough to make her laugh. She needed that. And yes, he’s flirting with her.

Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She is also a blogger at SeeSomeWorld.com, where she covers pop culture and travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.