Screen: NBC

Is Dateline's OJ Special Worth Admitting Into Evidence?

It depends. How do you feel about Lester Holt? (Sarah is pro.)

Worthwhile Show Attempted

Dateline, "The People vs. OJ Simpson: What The Jury Never Heard"


Bonsai maintenance! ...No.

How Far I Expected To Get

I expected to complete the whole thing, depending on which figures from the case Dateline could furnish for interviews and what new information they might provide. I knew I could expect the customary Dateline filler in the form of "wraparound" host AND primary correspondent, but I have a fairly high tolerance for that sort of thing thanks to the weekly oodle of C-list Investigation Discovery programming I consume...and while this is kind of like saying your work caf has the best powdered potatoes you've ever tasted, Dateline's presentation is practiced and professional. (And I like powdered potatoes.)

Lester Holt is out from behind his desk for this one, and wearing a vest; Josh Mankiewicz is not Keith Morrison, but I enjoy his "...RLY." skepticism faces.

When It Won Me Over

14:00 (in a two-hour program)

What Did It

Bob Costas, interviewed about Simpson as a sports-commentary colleague, gives a soundbite about him as always a "hail well-met fellow," a locution he thinks better of in the middle but then kind of can't free himself from, and it's not exactly a huge insight, but it's interesting that it's Costas who's called upon to recall this part of OJ's former brand; one of the best bits of 30 For 30's take on June of 1994 is the off-air bits where Costas is trying to figure out how to fold the events into his NBA-finals coverage without coming off like a complete heel. It's likely Costas's NBC ties that put him in an interview chair for this, versus Terry Bradshaw, say, and I wish we'd heard more from him -- but the comment wraps up a "Remember how much we used to love and trust OJ and enjoy watching him run through airports?" segment that's voiced over by Holt in a tone I can only describe as crisp SMH.

Worth Taking A Run At It?

The rest is fairly predictable, given the Dateline name: hard questions are asked, but when non-answers are given, the point isn't pressed. Still, there's not nothing here; interviews with Kato Kaelin and Detective Lange may tell us more about them than about the case, but the footage from the civil case isn't something you usually see (compared to, for example, the choppy zooms in on OJ's mugshot, which you've seen so many times you could do it yourself in iMovie).

So, no need to pay reverent attention, but if it's sitting on your DVR, pay some bills or touch up your pedi and enjoy.