OJ: TRIAL OF THE CENTURY Premieres on Investigation Discovery on Thursday, June 12 at 8/7c
Nicole Rittenmeyer, Filmmaker
(Silver Spring, MD, Wednesday, June 11, 2014 ) – Every era has its “crime of the century.” The Lindbergh abduction, the Manson murders and JonBenet Ramsey have all gone down in history as crimes that defined their times. The one that stands apart is simply known as OJ: the murder trial of OJ Simpson was the most highly publicized American criminal trial, ever. In the years following this unprecedented trial and its publicity, the initials “OJ” came to symbolize everything that fascinates Americans – celebrities, murderous rage, scandalous revelations, wealth, power, sex, and race. The trial and its’ controversial verdict infiltrated homes and workplaces and divided communities for years, afterwards. In a special documentary event produced exclusively for Investigation Discovery (ID) by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Nicole Rittenmeyer and the team at Every Hill Films, the network presents the world premiere of OJ: TRIAL OF THE CENTURY on Thursday, June 12 at 8/7c.
Whether you were pulled over in snarled traffic on a Los Angeles freeway or watching from home as regularly scheduled television programming was interrupted, people still vividly remember where they were during the police chase for OJ Simpson in the infamous, white Ford Bronco. More than 95 million watched. The OJ story dominated American dialogue and generated millions of dollars in revenue. Careers were launched, shattered, and sometimes reborn. Yet when it was over, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were still dead, no one was punished and deep fault lines of bigotry and bias had been exposed in white and black America. For some, the OJ trial was a judicial catastrophe; for others, a long-sought, tide-turning victory. But beyond all the endless media coverage and polarizing debate, the trial made a nation take another look at justice, race, domestic violence and the power of wealth.
Presented under the ID FILMS banner, OJ: TRIAL OF THE CENTURY follows the real-life soap opera that was the Simpson case as it played out like an episodic work of dramatic fiction. In a stylistic approach favored by executive producer Rittenmeyer – most recently employed in 9/11: The Days After (2011), JFK: 3 Shots that Changed America (2009), and 102 Minutes that Changed America (2008) – the documentary relies on contemporaneous archival material alone to illustrate the course of events. Without the interruption of modern interviews to provide hindsight, Rittenmeyer’s storytelling triggers the same raw emotion and real-time perspective as when the events transpired all those years ago.
By asking viewers to “re-live” the case as it played out at the time, ID introduces a new generation of viewers to the stranger-than-fiction narrative that captivated our collective national conscience. And for the audience that lived it the first time, there are two decades’ worth of historical, legal and psychological ramifications to this story that continue to make it a cultural touchstone and reference point for countless criminal proceedings, news media commentary as well as even late-night TV comedy.
This is the story of how an event – the prosecution and then acquittal of a man accused of double homicide – became the first nationally televised soap opera of tangled and salacious plotlines that would beget countless others. Perhaps more significantly, it was also a flashpoint for debate, disagreement, and disillusionment and the ultimate allegory for tensions that continue to face American society today.