On TV at least, the flirty chemistry between Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden appears undeniable. Tuesday night’s episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story brought the pair even closer, but was there really a relationship or not?
The answer is maybe and probably. The series has so far floated the idea of a fling between Clark (Sarah Paulson) and Darden (Sterling K. Brown) in bits and pieces, including a dance scene in the office and an almost adolescent puppy love moment the two share outside Clark’s hotel room where it looks like they’re both thinking of kissing.
On Thursday’s show, Ellen DeGeneres did that thing she does well, using her disarming nature to pester her subject about a relationship without letting the person weasel out of an answer. With Clark on the couch, Ellen brings up the on-screen romance and says, “I know you’re not going to confirm this, but it seemed like y’all had a relationship. I don’t know if it ever went anywhere, but it seemed like he was in love with you.”
Clark tries to laugh it off. “It didn’t seem that way to me,” she says. “We were really partners. We were trench mates. He wasn’t my second chair. A lot of times when you prosecute, you have a senior prosecutor and a junior prosecutor. It wasn’t like that. We were co-counsels, and he was my partner, and I can’t tell you how important it was to have him there.”
Ellen then asks bluntly, “Did y’all make out?”
Clark only confirms that they danced and Ellen continues her pursuits. “We did take a trip to the Bay Area,” says Clark.
Vanity Fair explored the hook-up possibility in a recent article, calling Clark and Darden’s relationship as friends and fellow prosecutors “complicated” and referencing a passage in Clark’s memoir Without a Doubt, where she writes:
Fact of the matter is, Chris Darden and I were closer than lovers. And unless you’ve been through what we went through, you can’t possibly know what that means.
Darden likewise wrote in his memoir In Contempt:
...Why not have a relationship with Marcia? She was attractive and I was impressed by her intelligence and toughness, intrigued by her vulnerability. We were working together as many as fifteen or sixteen hours a day, watching each other’s backs in court and commiserating over the media and other things that no one else understood.
Image screengrab via FX