Last week's episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story showed Simpson's friend and defense attorney Rob Kardashian voicing doubts about Simpson's innocence. Throughout the series, he has been depicted as a loyal friend who initially didn't entertain the idea that Simpson was capable of the crimes he was accused and later acquitted of. But, while the other members of the Dream Team are focused solely on winning the case and finding ways to stay one step ahead of the prosecution, Kardashian is shown to genuinely care about the matter of guilt versus innocence. After yet another tense and emotional week in court, Kardashian broke down with Kris Jenner on American Crime Story as the March 22 episode, "A Jury in Jail," came to a close.
There's been clear tension between Kardashian and Jenner throughout the series when it comes to the matter of the Simpson trial — as Brown Simpson's close friend, Selma Blair's Jenner believed Simpson to be guilty and was understandably less than pleased when her ex-husband took on the case. When the scene begins, Jenner's demeanor towards Kardashian is cold and, when he asks to talk, she demands to know what there could possibly be to discuss. He tells her that he thinks the Dream Team will secure an acquittal before breaking down in tears and admitting that, "He was my best friend for 20 years and I can barely look at him anymore." When she urges him to walk away from the case, Kardashian sums up his dilemma:
You don't think I've thought of that? I can't... it would just become this huge thing. How would it look? It would convict him. I would convict him and it would make everything else worse for us. For you, for [our children]. It's hard enough with half the country hating you. I just have to sit there until it's over and then he's out of our lives forever. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, Kris.
My first question about pretty much everything that's depicted on American Crime Story is whether or not it's accurate to real life events. Although the facts of the case and the courtroom drama are extremely true to life, there's been some artistic license when it comes to personal exchanges between the main players. In a September 1995 interview with Good Morning America, Jenner stated that she and Kardashian didn't discuss the trial and their only conversations during this time were about their children. Her reasoning was straightforward: “Our opinions are so obviously black and white... What good is it going to do?” Simpson was acquitted the following month and, based on this interview, it appears that Jenner wasn't aware of any doubts from her ex-husband while the trial was going on.
This emotional scene was likely a plot device to illustrate the inner turmoil experienced by Kardashian. In a 1996 interview with Barbara Walters, he stated that when Simpson was initially charged with the murders he'd later be acquitted of, Kardashian "never once" thought his friend was guilty. But, he told Walters that the blood and DNA evidence was "devastating" to him and he ultimately became deeply conflicted. He also said that on the morning of the verdict, he prayed not for acquittal but for "thy will be done" because only God knew the truth.
Walters showed a clip of the moment Simpson was declared "not guilty" and it's quite telling — while Simpson and Cochran appear ecstatic about the verdict, Kardashian's facial expressions appears much more troubled. (Although part of this could certainly be because he was keenly aware of the tragic situation and the pain of the victims' families.) Kardashian also told Walters that he and his young children received death threats and, if he could do it over again, he would not have become involved in the legal proceedings.
Although the scene depicted in Tuesday's episode is most likely fictional, it does appear that Kardashian and Jenner discussed the case at some point once the trial had ended. According to ABC News, Jenner spoke out in a September 2015 documentary, The Secret Tapes of the O.J. Case: The Untold Story. She stated that when Kardashian learned he was dying, Simpson reached out to his former friend, “but Robert didn't take the call.”
Image: Prashant Gupta/FX