Last week's episode of FX's American Crime Story introduced an interesting dynamic in the retelling of the O.J. Simpson story. Prosecutors Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) and Christopher Darden (Sterling K. Brown) danced together, comforted each other, and were — dare I say it? — flirting?! During Tuesday night's episode, the prosecutors will take their flirtation on the road — but did Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden really go away for the weekend together? According to Darden's post-Simpson trial book In Contempt , it's totally true — but they traveled just as friends, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Darden wrote in his book (as reported by Newsweek) that together they spent a weekend in San Francisco during the trial and booked rooms (yes, rooms plural) at the historic Fairmont hotel. According to an excerpt published in Newsweek, Darden wanted to just get away — he didn't tell anyone where he was going, except for Clark, who sat in the passenger seat of his Toyota Camry. They acted like tourists in San Francisco, visiting Fisherman's Wharf and Darden wrote that "it was great" to walk around undetected. That is, until they were recognized at a bar, where he recalled, "There were no glares or angry comments, no second-guessing, no resentment for a black man out with a white woman. People told us how well we were doing, how proud they were of us."
And, yes, Clark and Darden stayed in separate rooms, which he states clearly in the Newsweek excerpt of In Contempt.
Much later, we paused at our separate doors, ten feet of papered wall between us. She faced her hotel room door in a trademark Marcia dress, short and black. She looked down toward her shoes.
"I'll see you in the morning," I said.
"Good night, Chris."
In real life, rumors swirled about a romantic connection between Clark and Darden during the trial — including marriage rumors — but these two lawyers kept it platonic. In 2015, Clark talked Entertainment Tonight about ACS and said, "Chris and I were trench mates. He kept me from just utter depression so many days ... He was a great partner, and I hope [the series] show[s] that."
But, for Darden, their closeness was very much like a relationship, and he reflected on it in In Contempt, according to Newsweek. "She and I were two passionate people thrown together in a trial that left us exhausted and lonely," he wrote. "We sat up listening to hip-hop and R&B. We danced a few times and drank a few bottles of wine. In my mind, that is a relationship." Also described by Darden in his book, according to the LA Times, it was "a relationship of unconsummated potential."
In American Crime Story, viewers have seen Clark and Darden write encouraging notes to each other and Darden supporting Clark throughout various crises that came up throughout the episodes. And, I can't wait to see it keep play out on-screen, because Clark and Darden aside, Paulson and Brown have some amazing chemistry together.
Image: Ray Mickshaw/FX