The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story is drawing closer and closer to the infamous verdict and the drama is being ramped up accordingly. Tuesday's episode specifically, "Manna From Heaven", deals with the notorious Mark Fuhrman tapes and lots of almost unbelievable, yet totally true, testimony. But while much of the original trial material likely would have been enough to keep viewers entertained, it seems some of the episode's moments were given an extra boost — which has left some people probably asking: Did prosecutor Christopher Darden really leave the courtroom when Fuhrman took the stand?
In the episode, Darden, played by Sterling K. Brown, has seemingly had it with the defense's use of a set of tapes allegedly featuring then LAPD Detective Fuhrman using racist language. As Fuhrman takes the stand to testify, and before he even has a chance to plead the fifth, Darden, frustrated with Furhman's allegedly racist commentary, stands up and storms out.
However, in real life Darden reportedly stuck around, despite not being very happy about it, according to Darden's own book on the case and subsequent interviews he gave to various outlets. The prosecutor even described defense attorney Johnnie Cochran giving Darden the go-ahead to "let these white people (the other attorneys) get up there and argue about Fuhrman", but Darden was unconvinced, stating,
"I can’t do that," I said, staring forward. "Why not?" [Cochran asked.] I wasn’t going to be limited by my race and I told him so. "Just don’t put him on," Cochran said.
Call it poetic license. In either case, the scenario likely would have played out just as intensely as the other, but it seems the show-runners decided to add to the tension with the orchestrated "storm-out."
Tuesday's episode largely focused on those same alleged Fuhrman tapes, and his reportedly racist comments about African Americans. The tapes in question (which were created in the '80s by a screenwriter named Laura McKinny who had interviewed Fuhrman for a book on women and the Los Angeles Police Department) played a major role in the Simpson case, since it was Fuhrman who allegedly found the bloody glove on Simpson's lawn the night of the murder. Once the tapes were admitted into court as evidence, Fuhrman was accused of perjury for previously having stated that he had not used the n-word in the past 10 years, and the case itself was eventually dismissed. Jurors, it was believed, thought Fuhrman's alleged racism had led him to plant evidence. It was all over once the tapes were played in court.
The tapes, recorded nine years prior to the trial, do indeed feature Fuhrman using racial slurs. In 1996, after pleading no contest to perjury, Fuhrman publicly apologized for his choice of vocabulary, and claimed that he was not a racist.
Whether the American Crime Story show-runners decided not to stick to the real-life script in an effort to give this week's episode a little extra gusto or because they wanted to insert a sort of symbolic gesture against modern-day racism is still anyone's call. One thing is certain though — in both real life and on the hit FX series, it was Fuhrman's testimony — or lack thereof — that was the make or break moment the defense had been looking for and the moment the prosecution knew it would only be uphill from there.