X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
What does it say about the believability of a TV docudrama that it depicts Harvard quotemeister Alan Dershowitz sitting with his mouth shut, hour after hour, in the back of a room? Dershowitz says he shouldn’t critique the CBS miniseries “An American Tragedy,” which promised the skinny on how he and other defense lawyers got O.J. Simpson acquitted of murder, because he chose not to watch it. Given the ratings — CBS ran third to ABC and NBC on both nights, Nov. 12 and 15 — he was not alone. Dershowitz’ Dream Teammate F. Lee Bailey says that after the first installment, he didn’t want to see any more either. But “I was taking this red-eye flight out of Las Vegas on Wednesday night, and guess what was playing in America West’s first class?” Bailey said in an interview from his West Palm Beach, Fla., office. And, yes, the rest of the passengers knew who he was and there was a little party afterwards, he continues. “It was crappy.” Not that Bailey, like the professional critics, didn’t love Christopher Plummer’s portrayal of him. “He’s a great actor. He can play me anytime,” says the legendary defense lawyer. But that doesn’t mean he enjoyed watching himself swallowing his pride at repeated slights and being urged by egos even bigger than his “not to be an embarrassment.” The Bailey character’s cross-examination of a footprint expert was truncated so it didn’t make sense, he contends, and it was inaccurate to show him relying on information from co-counsel and former friend Robert Shapiro before he goaded the prosecution into having Simpson try on the incriminating glove. Still, Plummer’s overriding theme — that Bailey never once doubted Simpson’s innocence after first talking to him — was square on. “I’ve represented more accused murderers than all of the rest of them put together,” Bailey says. “I know when a man is guilty.” The poor ratings are a good sign, says another of the team, Gerald Uelmen. “It shows the country is moving beyond its O.J. obsession. That’s healthy,” says Uelmen, the former dean of Santa Clara University School of Law. He is characteristically philosophical about actor Nicholas Pryor’s portrayal of him, which others criticized as making Uelmen look like a bumbler. “My son really enjoyed it,” he says, laughing. “Let me just say I don’t expect Mr. Pryor will be able to make a career out of playing me.” What Uelmen does object to is the way his client appeared. “O.J. is a man of considerable warmth and charm. The show made him look like a monster,” he says, adding that the scene in which Simpson grabs through the bars, frightening attorney Johnnie Cochran Jr., is “pure fiction.” The team member with blood in his eye following the broadcast is Robert Shapiro. Early on, he was the model of ironic detachment, saying the only accuracy he insisted on was the size of his bald spot on the back of actor Ron Silver’s head. After seeing the show, which he branded “ludicrous,” Shapiro says it is wrong that a “major network would present tabloidism as reality and condone violations of attorney-client privilege.” On that last point, he adds that he hopes the state bar will look into who told what to whom, and how that may have violated professional ethics rules. Which does suggest that the program, however wrong, got something right.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.