Brow Beat

Marcia Clark on Losing Control of the O.J. Trial—and Why Everyone Misunderstood Her

Just more than 20 years after America’s most famous murder trial ended, FX’s The People v. OJ Simpson became the most-watched debut in the network’s history. Not long after Ryan Murphy’s miniseries premiered, Marcia Clark, the prosecutor who led the case, called the show an “out-of-body experience,” telling multiple outlets that she feared reliving a nightmare.  

Still, Clark praised Sarah Paulson, the Emmy-bound actress who portrays her, and had kind words for the show in general. But her interviews also suggested she has a much different memory of the case than many others—particularly when it comes to the defense’s racially charged case, which the series suggests blindsided the prosecution. Slate sat down with Clark, now the author of crime novels like Blood Defense, to discuss why the trial was so traumatic, the experience of watching the FX show, and how the national conversation around race has changed.