Rediscover: The Run of His Life

The white Bronco, the black glove, a simmering city ready to boil over into another race riot: these familiar images are back on American televisions thanks to FX's American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, a dramatization of the 1994-95 arrest and trial of O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. Thus far, five of nine episodes have aired to resounding critical acclaim and solid ratings, with special accolades for strong performances from Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran; other cast members include Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson, Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian and John Travolta as a creepy Robert Shapiro. It airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

The series is based on The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin, originally published in 1996, now out as a tie-in edition from Random House ($16, 9780812988543). Toobin himself was marginally involved in the case: his July 1994 New Yorker article "An Incendiary Defense" revealed the "Dream Team" defense's plan to "play the race card." The FX series plays coy about whether O.J. actually committed the murders or not by opening just after the killings. Toobin's book proceeds from his belief that O.J. was guilty, that the case was the prosecution's to lose, and explains how they lost it. --Tobias Mutter

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