“The People v. OJ Simpson” finale is almost here and as with every episode this season, often overlooked details regarding the trial are getting a new set of eyes. For instance, in Tuesday’s (March 29) episode, titled “Manna From Heaven,” the defense, prosecution and everyone in between are all up in arms about the viability of Detective Mark Fuhrman’s (Steven Pasquale) previous testimony.
Rumors of his racist and sexist beliefs are proven true as incriminating tapes surface, shining an awful light on the police officer. Full of expletives — yes, you did indeed hear (and read) another F-bomb here — and epithets, these tapes were recorded by budding screenwriter Laura McKinny.
While their initial intent was for research, the recordings eventually saw the light of day, further shining a negative light on the LAPD. Just two years after the Rodney King riots, this evidence didn’t at all help the police’s already tarnished reputation. Another reputation ended up getting dragged through the mud — and unexpectedly so — as these recordings find Fuhrman calling out Peggy York. For those of you who have been paying attention, York briefly showed up early in the series … and yes, she was Judge Lance Ito’s (Kenneth Choi) wife.
Margaret “Peggy” York was the captain of the Los Angeles Police Department back in 1995 and when the OJ Simpson (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) trial was heading to court, she denied knowing Mark Fuhrman. This small detail helped Ito take the reins of the “trial of the century.” But it’s in these tapes where Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) and Chris Darden (Sterling K. Brown) happen upon some unkind words directed her way. Presenting the recording to Gil Garcetti (Bruce Greenwood), the whole thing sent the trial down a new and unexpected road.
Previously, this murder trial explored issues such as racism and sexism but once the recording was brought to Judge Ito’s desk, a conflict of interest was presented which caused him to briefly recuse himself from the court.
According to a report by Metropolitan News, York denied the multiple incidents Fuhrman referenced in these tapes. Still, given his reputation as a member of the LAPD’s “MAW” — a group known as the “Men Against Women” — it’s difficult to think the confrontations between the shamed police officer and York didn’t happen.
Marcia Clark references these confrontations in her book, “Without a Doubt,” saying:
“Mark had described two run-ins with [York], including one during which she upbraided the squad for writing ‘KKK’ on the calendar entry for Martin Luther King [Jr.] Day. Mark had snickered, and when she called him on it in private, he claimed, he belittled her to her face. In another dustup, he refused an assignment from her, supposedly saying, ‘I don’t talk to anybody that [sic] isn’t a policeman, and you’re as far from a policeman as I’ve seen—and as far as that goes, you’re about as far from a woman as I’ve seen.’”
While it’s true that Judge Ito stepped down, it ended up being temporary. As well, much to the chagrin of Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B. Vance) and the rest of O.J.’s “Dream Team,” only two sentences from the Fuhrman transcripts made it into evidence.
Still, with Fuhrman retaking the stand only to consistently assert his Fifth Amendment rights, it’s hard to not see why the trial ended the way it did.
“The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” airs its finale on Tuesday, April 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.