Director: Ezra Edelman

After FX blessed the TV-viewing audience with the brilliance of The People v. O.J. Simpson, it was hard to believe that viewers would then spend another seven-and-a-half hours taking in this story in documentary-form. It was a fear that Ezra Edelman, the director of O.J.: Made In America, shared. The brilliance is that while both properties attacked the same story, Edelman had the freedom to truly expand on Simpson’s trials and tribulations, painting a much larger picture by widening the scope and highlighting not just the racial issues in this case, but the America that turned O.J. Simpson into O.J. Simpson. There were systemic issues that led right to this infamous court case and earth-shattering decision, and Edelman took the time to not only discuss the racial tension that a poor O.J. was born into, but how he morphed himself into the color-less celebrity that became a reluctant example of the racial divide between the haves and the have-nots. You could say it was an issue of class, and you’d be right. You could also say it was the people of color of Los Angeles growing tired of the way they’d been railroaded by the police in the past, and you’d be just as right. No matter how you sliced it, this five-part series was peak viewing over the summer, finding ways to educate those who grew up through the Trial of the Century, as well as those who might not have known who O.J. was. O.J.’s historic rise and well-documented fall is the tale of race in America; it just took Ezra Edelman spelling it out for America to make the nation realize it. —khal