The O.J. Simpson trial captured the attention of an entire nation, and for very good reason. It had more twists and turns than even the best televised dramas of its day. When the case began, the prosecution wasn't the Darden-Clark offensive that most people would eventually associate with the trial, but was fronted by William Hodgman, played in the series by Christian Clemenson. However, Hodgman has not been seen on the series since experiencing health issues. As American Crime Story progresses and his departure feels farther and farther in the past, can fans of the show expect to see Hodgman return to the O.J. Simpson trial?
In real life, it seems that Hodgman continued to work on the case, but in a lesser fashion. According to People, Hodgman spent two days in the hospital after suffering chest painsand after his release "[intended] to stay on the prosecution team until the trial ends." Even though Hodgman isn't currently present in the events of the series, it seems he still worked with Darden and Clark. In an interview with Frontline, Hodgman explained how his role changed over the course of the trial and made it sound like he was always supposed to be more behind the scenes.
Well, initially I had an administrative position in the office. I had oversight over our Special Trials Division. When circumstances arose that we had to proceed to a preliminary hearing very early, the district attorney at the time, Gil Garcetti, asked me to work with [prosecutor] Marcia Clark to get through the prelim. The preliminary hearing took about a week. At the conclusion, Mr. Garcetti asked me to stay on, and so I took a more active role in the case. Marcia Clark and I argued the pretrial motions. We performed the jury-selection aspect of the case together, and then, as we approached trial per se, my role was much more limited thereafter.
Hodgman also said in the interview that he wishes the trial would have gone differently. "I think there are things that could have been done differently," he told Frontline, "If it were up to me, if I were the elected D.A. or had that sort of horsepower, I would have filed the case in Santa Monica."
Still, he doesn't seem to resent having a lesser position on the prosecution team. The only thing that Hodgman does resent regarding the O.J. Simpson trial is the eventual outcome. "I think the system did not work. I think the verdicts were an injustice, a failure of justice," he said.
While Hodgman's role in the case seems to be purely administrative, it's likely for the best that he was able to avoid the media whirlwind that occurred during and after the events of the trial. While Hodgman got to focus solely on being a lawyer, Clark and Chris Darden became the targets of a media world that they had not been prepared to deal with. His place in the Simpson trial also serves as a reminder that there was more to the prosecution than the two people the country watched argue against Simpson in the courtroom.
Image: Ray Mickshaw/FX