Rogue cop Mark Fuhrman may have ruined the prosecutors' case in the O. J. trial, but he sure saved the show.
He's the best TV villain since J. R.'s days on "Dallas," if slightly less believable.
Let's face it, the O. J. trial was dragging. It was all DNA this and PCR that. One side's experts debunking the other side's experts. I longed for the early, halcyon days of the trial, when we had real characters. There was the feisty, Latina housekeeper and the dim-witted, blond houseboy. Even a wailing dog beats scientists. After all, dog acts have been a staple on TV long before stupid pet tricks.
Nobody cared about Marcia Clark's hair anymore or whether Johnnie Cochran's ex-wife was accusing him of abuse.
The jurors, once a source of great amusement, were suddenly showing Ripken-like endurance. Like Ripken's feat, theirs is admirable, but boring.
It's summertime, and the O. J. trial was reading like a rerun.
And then came the tapes to disturb and revolt and, of course, rivet an entire nation. It's a ratings bonanza, with a plot twist
worthy of any TV movie of the week, a genre specializing in clumsy plotting.
This one's unbelievable, all right.
If you go back to the beginning, the Dream Team invented rogue cop Mark Fuhrman. He was the one guy they had dirt on. And he was the one guy -- talk about your good breaks -- who discovered the bloody glove.
So, you've got a racist cop. So, you've got a famous black defendant accused of killing his white ex-wife in an apparent act of jealous rage.
So, you accuse him of planting the glove. And then, for good measure, you accuse everybody else of covering up for a fellow cop.
PTC The idea is to make it seem plausible, which was the hard part. Until they found the tapes. On the stand, Fuhrman was Ollie North-like in his straight-arrow believability.
The tapes are a different story. These aren't just any tapes, after all. This is Nixon and John Dean talking into the lamp shade. These are tapes, like the Basement Tapes, that'll blow the roof off.
When they play in court, the n-word makes more than three dozen appearances. When the tapes play in court, we hear tales of racist cops cracking heads, of cops tampering with evidence, of cops ignoring probable cause, of cops day-dreaming of blowing punks away in an alley, of cops covering up for fellow cops.
This is every black urban resident's worst nightmare come to life. It's the story of out-of-control, and heavily armed, police patrolling your neighborhood. The next time you say to yourself that African-Americans are paranoid about the cops, remember these tapes.
Remember Mark Fuhrman.
Actually, the story of how the tapes came into play is almost as incredible as the tapes themselves. It was about 10 years ago when rogue cop Mark Fuhrman walks into a restaurant to see a young woman, who turns out to be Laura Hart McKinny, working on a laptop computer. In those days, laptops were still a novelty. And, in those days, rogue cop Mark Fuhrman thought himself quite the stud.
He walks up to McKinny, who was a would-be screenwriter come from North Carolina to join the millions of would-be screenwriters in L.A. As an apparent come-on, Fuhrman tells her of this little group he belongs to down at the L.A.P.D. called Men Against Women, which opposes women as cops. Now, what woman wouldn't be attracted to such a man?
Eventually, she asks him to help her with her screenplay about sociopathic cops, of which women-hating, black-baiting Fuhrman is certainly an ideal example. She offered him $10,000, if something ever comes of the screenplay.
What you have to understand is that you've got as much chance of getting an unsolicited screenplay made into a movie as Kato does of being confused with Robert De Niro.
Here's the funny part: Now, she'll probably get it made. And if Fuhrman's not in prison for perjury, he'll probably get his $10,000.
Of course, there's one part that isn't quite as funny. Ron Goldman's father is the one person who keeps trying to remind )everyone that the case isn't about a rogue cop. It's about who murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. He insists the tapes don't change the evidence at all.
He may be right. But they do tell a frightening story everybody ought to hear.