In every sense, The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story was a massive success. The FX show received critical acclaim, was a ratings hit, and cleaned up at awards shows all year long. The question is, was it so successful because American audiences were desperate to see a crime story they remembered play out again or was it specific to the case of O.J. Simpson.
We may find out that answer in a way when Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders premieres on NBC on September 26. With Dick Wolf, the highly successful producer of the Law & Order franchise and just about every procedural with Chicago in the title, at the helm, there are high expectations for this dramatized telling of the famous Menendez Brother case.
Wolf spoke to reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Association tour and made a bold promise that this wasn’t going to just be a show where the facts are laid out as you already know them.
“This is a show that has an agenda. Your mind is going to receive information that I think will change a lot of people’s attitudes.”
The eight-episode series is expected to reveal aspects of the infamous case that were not made public when the shocking murder of Jose and Mary happened in 1989 and the subsequent trial of their two sons played out in the early 90s. While Lyle and Erik Menendez were not interviwed for the series, Wolf says he and his team did extensive research to unearth details the public didn’t know.
“The research revealed things none of us knew, and that’s one of the things that I think is most impactful about the eight hours.”
Wolf even went as far as to say he thinks key details about the murders might have changed the outcome of the trail had they been known.
“It’s also the only time we’ve had sort of a collective agenda, which is [that] this is one of the crimes of the century. It’s absolutely horrible, but when you see the information, I think people are going to realize, ‘Well, yeah they did it, but it wasn’t first degree murder with no possibility of parole.’ They probably should have been out eight or 10 years ago…”
The trailer for the upcoming series was also revealed on Thursday. While it looks rather straightforward in terms of its storytelling, we’ll take Wolf’s word for it that there’s going to be some twists and turns along the way to the inevitable conclusion.