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The folks at FX have asked critics not to review tonight’s final episode of American Crime Story: T...

'The People v. O.J. Simpson' Finale: He Did It, His Way

By 18:57:00

The folks at FX have asked critics not to review tonight’s final episode of American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson until after it airs, but in a stunning rebuke to spoiler culture, I’ll take a daring stand and reveal this: In “The Verdict,” the show’s 10th hour airing Tuesday night, Simpson is found not guilty. 

The fact that there’s nothing to spoil, no cliffhanger to resolve, is one of the things that’s made this thing — what is it? A true-crime anthology series? A mini-series? An extended TV-movie? The best episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit ever? — so impressive, so continually engaging. I’m old enough to remember a lot about the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and Simpson’s subsequent murder trial, but like millions of viewers, rather than feeling bored by the dramatization of what I already know, I’ve been caught up in its dramatic momentum. 

A lot of the credit for this has to go to the almost crazily mixed-up acting styles of the main cast. Where Sarah Paulson has played it magnificently straight as prosecutor Marcia Clark, John Travolta has achieved a kind of Zen nuttiness as the serenely detached defense team attorney Robert Shapiro. Where Cuba Gooding, Jr., has wisely chosen not to do a full-on impression of Simpson, preferring instead to set himself the tricky task of presenting the athlete as a shut-down enigma, Sterling K. Brown seems to be channeling prosecutor Chris Darden’s complex inner workings — it’s a performance in which many conflicting ideas flicker across his face in any given scene. 

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