Just because The People v. O.J. Simpson has been over for a month doesn’t mean the nation has suddenly lost interest in the trial of last century. The Ryan Murphy-helmed miniseries is poised to rack up Emmys and Golden Globes later this year and a 10-hour documentary on Simpson is set to air on ESPN starting next month.
Yet prosecutor Christopher Darden, portrayed with sensitive grace by Sterling K. Brown in the miniseries, has been hesitant to jump on the O.J. revival bandwagon. And as he told the Today show’s Savannah Guthrie in an interview Monday morning, he has not even been tempted to watch the show.
“Not the least bit,” Darden said. “I lived through it, I knew the series would not be accurate, and I couldn’t see any reason why I should watch it.” It seems the only reason he decided to speak about it now is that his memoir about the trial has just been re-released as an e-book.
Darden’s decision to ignore the miniseries differs sharply from his co-prosecutor Marcia Clark, who appeared on television throughout the 10-week run, openly discussing how “painful” it was to watch Sarah Paulson portray her, but at the same time praising the series for getting so much right.
"Not paying a lot of attention to it, I think that's the healthiest thing for me to do," Darden told Guthrie, adding that he tries to stay away from social media to avoid any lingering criticisms of how he handled the case.
Asked directly about the suggestion made in the series that he and Clark were involved romantically during the trial, Darden smiled and said, “I’ll wait until Marcia is sitting next to me, to talk about it in greater detail.” He declined to go any further, explaining that as a lawyer, “If I were to say that I had a relationship with Marcia Clark, people would say we lost the case because we were more interested in intimacy than in the law and the facts.”
Similarly, Clark has denied the relationship rumors, though less coyly. “We were the best of friends,” she said in an interview last month. “No one else could understand what it was like to live through that, but he could. We were certainly very close, but no, we were partners.”
As for the case itself, Darden said he has no “regrets” about making Simpson try on the glove found at the crime scene, despite the fact that many believe it ultimately sealed his acquittal.
“I think the trial was lost way before then,” Darden said, adding hyperbolically, “I think the whole glove thing was just the most brilliant move in the criminal courtroom in history of American jurisprudence.”
“Let me go on the record and say that I can’t regret it. It’s the past,” he added. “I think desperate times call for desperate measures. For me, as a lawyer, I’m always going to try and win.”
However, Darden did not hesitate to say “no” when Guthrie asked if he is glad he served on the Simpson case. “It changed my life,” he said. “It changed me.”
Apparently not in a good way.