In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, ABC
I really don’t know why people are still fascinated by the OJ Simpson trial(s). Maybe it’s the racial angle; maybe it’s the trials’ mutually contradictory conclusions mean the truth is still debatable; maybe it’s because of the idea of a celebrity murdering someone.
In the UK: Not yet acquired
But you’d think, 24 years on from the trial, we’d be over it by now, wouldn’t you, not still making TV series – certainly not making celebrities out of the children of the lawyers involved. Just in the past few years, we’ve had the dramatisation of the trial in American Crime Story, and we’ve had documentaries like OJ Simpson: Made in America.
And now we have The Fix, exec produced by Simpson’s prosecutor Marcia Clark, which sees Robin Tunney (The Mentalist) playing a thinly veiled version of Clark given a second chance to prosecute Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Oz, The Bourne Identity) playing a thinly veiled version of OJ Simpson.
The SimpsonsThe action starts in 2010, which is easily identified by everyone having cars dating from the 1990s for some reason. Akinnuoye-Agbaje has been in and out of jail for a year for the murder of his wife, for which Tunney and fellow LA prosecutor and main squeeze Adam Rayner (Tyrant) have prosecuted him to the full strength of their abilities. Then comes the glorious day when the jury finally return a verdict… and wouldn’t you know it, Akinnuoye-Agbaje is found innocent!
Fast forward to modern times. Tunney’s given up the law and is happily living with cowboy Marc Blucas (Buffy, Underground, Necessary Roughness) in rural Oregon, while Rayner’s become LA’s deputy district attorney and has married one of the reporters covering the trial. Then oh noes! Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s girlfriend is murdered!
Guess who Rayner thinks has done it. And guess who he decides to bring back to LA for a second chance at sending faux-Simpson down.
The SnoozeFor anyone who doesn’t give a stuff about the Simpson trial, this is tedious, tedious stuff. It’s not helped by it so blatantly being the Simpson trial, rather than anything original, or Clark being an exec producer. The tiresome “she’s the best of the best”, “I need you and no one else” et al that are par for the course with American legal dramas about hotshot lawyers would indeed be par for the course here, too, were it not for the fact that Tunney is a Clark surrogate, so it’s basically the show saying how awesome its exec producer is.
Firstly, that’s cringingly arse-licky and unpleasant to watch. I mean, despite having spent eight years looking after horses and looking like she’s spent eight years looking after horses, Tunney stands around picking holes in other lawyers’ and even police’s interrogation techniques, even though they’ve probably spent eight years more than her not just on not looking after horses but on actual police work. Which Tunney apparently can do as well. Because there are no cops in this show for some reason, just lawyers doing cops’ job.
Secondly, we know she’s not a good lawyer. Seriously, she lost the case and is now making TV shows in which actresses pretend to be her and get to fix her mistakes. That’s not what good lawyers do.
On top of that, the show itself doesn’t want to specifically say
SimpsonAkinnuoye-Agbaje is guilty of either or both crimes, but wants some ambiguity. Unfortunately, it’s very bad at subtlety.
So on the one hand, we have AAA (as his friends call him) being desperately cut up in private with his own lawyer (Gilmore Girls‘ Scott Cohen) because his girlfriend’s dead. On the other, as soon as he’s in an interrogation room with Tunney around, he’s desperately hamming it up and acting like the world’s least innocent man. He can’t even say “I’m an innocent man” innocently. And that’s before he’s asking his step-son to hide mysterious bags before the cops turn up.
Meanwhile, Cohen – aka “The Wolf”. Yes, AAA’s lawyer is called “The Wolf”. That’s subtle – is busily saying things like “We’ll win. She always plays by the rules. That’s why she’ll lose.”
It’s so badly telegraphed, I’m assuming that Tunney’s actually going to discover AAA was innocent of both crimes and end up defending him, as a surprise twist.
Meet the KhardasiansCohen is at least playing up his greasy character to the max, Rayner’s superb and Tunney certainly gives it her all, now she doesn’t have to play Simon Baker’s foil the whole time.
But I’m not sure what AAA is up to. Now, he’s never been that great at accents, as anyone who’s seen The Bourne Identity can attest.
But here his accent’s somewhat mobile, shall we say? Sure, there are plenty of Hollywood movie stars from Britain who acquire a transatlantic twang after a while, but some scenes AAA’s full on American, sometimes there’s just a hint of London and then around about three-quarters the way through, there’s one scene where he sounds like he’s in Brixton having an argument with a mate about a local kebab shop. Then it’s back to being American again.
At the very least, it’s confusing. Maybe he’s just taking the piss out of a show that walks a very fine line and occasionally veers into accusing black suspects of “playing the race card” to avoid rightful prosecution.