With FX’s fairly successful “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” miniseries about to wrap up its 10-episode run and ESPN set to debut an already-hailed five-part documentary about Simpson and the murder trial that drove a nation bonkers, we’ve reached the saturation point of televised O.J. Simpson reminiscences.
Or so I thought.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, actor Martin Sheen will serve as executive producer and narrator of “Hard Evidence: O.J. Is Innocent,” a six-episode docuseries that will debut on Investigation Discovery sometime in the first quarter of 2017.
Sheen, who helped shop the series through what the Hollywood Reporter described as “a multiple-network bidding war,” will base the series on the work of William C. Dear, a Texas private investigator who has made proving O.J. Simpson’s innocence something of his life’s goal. He has written two books on the matter, the latest a 2012 tome entitled “O.J. Is Innocent and I Can Prove It.”
He also claims to have seen the actual murder weapon, a knife that was never found by the LAPD and most likely wasn’t the knife that turned up earlier this year. That knife almost certainly wasn’t the murder weapon.
I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here, because much has been written about Dear’s theory already: He thinks Simpson’s son Jason killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and that O.J. Simpson tried to cover it up.
As evidence for this theory, Dear points out that Jason Simpson was on probation at the time of the killings after he had attacked a former employer with a knife; that he had been treated for a mental disorder and had tried to commit suicide three times; and that he killed Nicole Brown Simpson on the night of June 12, 1994, after she reneged on a promise to bring the family to the restaurant at which Jason Simpson was a chef, enraging him (Goldman was an innocent bystander who just happened upon Brown Simpson’s house as the attack was ongoing).
Here’s where Dear’s theory falls flat, as detailed in a 2001 story by Tony Ortega, then a writer for the now-defunct New Times Los Angeles: Dear makes barely any effort to account for the fact that O.J. Simpson’s blood was found all over the crime scene, and his explanation for how all that O.J. Simpson blood got there is rather ludicrous. Plus, Dear’s timeline for the slayings is more or less implausible.
“In 12 minutes, he has Jason committing the murders, calling his father, and then OJ coming down and observing the scene and returning home,” Ortega wrote in 2012, when he revisited and re-published his 2001 story in the Village Voice.
Ortega also accused Dear of more or less stalking Jason Simpson for years — holding numerous stakeouts outside his California home and digging through his trash — and at one point impersonating a doctor in an attempt to obtain his medical records, which would be illegal under California law.
But Dear’s theory apparently is good enough — and legally sound enough, I guess — for Sheen and Investigation Discovery. Whether that will change anyone’s mind is an entirely different story.