American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson wrapped up its run Tuesday night, and, just as in real life, the titular charismatic former NFL star and Hertz spokesman was once again acquitted by a jury of his peers of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. But what does Sheila Woods, a member of the real Simpson jury from 1995, think of the portrayal of ”the trial of the century” on the FX television series? In a highly intriguing Vulture interview conducted by her own granddaughter, Ashley Reese, Woods candidly reveals her thoughts about the original trial and the drama based upon it. Naturally, a series like The People Vs. O.J. Simpson is bound to be a hybrid of the truth and invention. From her unique vantage point, Woods talks about what the show got right and wrong along the way to that final verdict.
Yes, Woods says, there really was a lot of drama in the jury room, and there were racial divides among jury members. The infamous Seinfeld/Martin debate, in which black and white jurors bitterly disagreed about what to watch on television during their free time, may well have happened as the show suggested. But that memorable moment when a female juror freaked out and started clambering over tables to get out? Nah, says Woods, that didn’t happen. At least, it didn’t happen like that. And jurors would never have strolled through the lobby of the hotel where they were sequestered either. Woods’ main concern is that American Crime Story unfairly portrayed the jurors as “bumbling.” There were some “idiots” among them, Woods says, but most of the jurors took the case very, very seriously. The show didn’t depict how they simply obeyed Judge Ito’s instructions. And, for the record, she is also still comfortable with the verdict as rendered. But why did the jury only deliberate for four hours after hearing months of testimony? It’s simple: The guilty voters didn’t even bother to put up a fight. “I was open to what they had to say,” says Woods.