Did Robert Shapiro & Johnnie Cochran Fight In An Elevator? 'American Crime Story' Shows A Breaking Point
Based on their portrayal on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, O.J. Simpson's lawyers Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran appeared to have a strained relationship. Their on-screen dynamic is punctuated by sarcastic bickering and resentful undertones, and the March 29 episode indicated that tempers may have reached a breaking point on the "Dream Team." In fact, viewers have now witnessed one of their biggest confrontations yet, when Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran fought in an elevator after a particularly grueling day of the Simpson trial. But is that really how things went down or is this an example of the show taking a few liberties for dramatic effect?
There aren't any currently accessible news stories about the two lawyers feuding in an elevator specifically, however, there's plenty of evidence to back up the underlying claim that Shapiro and Cochran did not exactly get along throughout the grueling trial. "Are there disagreements? On almost every issue," Shapiro told the Los Angeles Times in a 1994 interview. However, Shapiro also said that these disagreements didn't interfere with the Dream Team's work. "But a lot of this is like a jazz group playing together. Sometimes it's time for someone to play a solo. Sometimes the whole band plays together. This band plays together very well," he told the newspaper.
But it wasn't just their different tactical approaches to the trial that put a strain on their partnership. Rumors abounded that Shapiro became jealous of all the attention Cochran received after being bumped to lead attorney on the case, however, neither side confirmed any such thing outright. That being said, sources told the New York Daily News back in January 1995 that Shapiro indicated that he would "grudgingly" accept the reduced role on the team, claiming that he wasn't exactly happy with the decision. We've seen as much suggested on ACS, of course, with Travolta's Shapiro doing whatever he can to still feel like he's in control.
However, if you're still not convinced of any animosity going on between these two, Shapiro had a very telling interview with Barbara Walters, when he wholeheartedly admitted to not liking or agreeing with the way Cochran ran the Simpson trial. During the interview, he also said that he never wanted to work with Cochran again or even talk to fellow attorney F. Lee Bailey. You can watch the interview below.
And the feeling was pretty mutual in regards to Cochran's stance on Shapiro. When asked about their tense relationship, Cochran told CBS, "I like Bob Shapiro a lot but I don't think anybody on this team is in any great hurry to work with him again."
So while there doesn't seem to be any record of a full-blown elevator feud like the one seen on American Crime Story, it's clear that the lawyers did not exactly get along behind the scenes of the Trial of the Century.
Image: Ray Mickshaw/FX