On the morning of June 15th, 1997, after returning from a walk around his neighborhood of Miami Beach, fashion designer and icon Gianni Versace was shot outside his sprawling mansion. It’s a crime that shocked the nation, and now 20 years later, we’re hooked on it again thanks to Ryan Murphy’s latest installment of American Crime Story, Versace.
But, as we quickly learn during the season premiere, “The Man Who Would Be Vogue,” this story is not necessarily about Versace (played here by Edgar Ramirez). Within the first 10 minutes of the season, Versace is killed. So…now what? Apparently, we’re going to jump back and forth in time to watch the events that led up to the morning of his death and the fallout following his death.
The episode introduces us to Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico (played by Ricky Martin) and his sister, Donatella Versace (perfectly played by Penelope Cruz). While they are both the stars of the season, they’re not THE star that keeps us completely hooked. That falls on Darren Criss, playing Andrew Cunanan, the man who gunned down Versace, and did it with a smile.
Is it weird? Is Criss completely unnerving as Cunanan? Is this a side to the former Glee star we’ve never seen before? Absolutely! This season of American Crime Story will heavily focus on Criss’ Cunanan, who was already on the FBI’s Most Wanted List when he killed Versace. By the time he showed up in Miami, he had already killed four people (if not more — he killed himself before he was captured by the FBI, a mere eight days later).
While we only see him kill one person during the first episode, Versace, we do see him do a lot of other stuff, like, cry at the opera and lie through his teeth to just about everyone. Did these things Cunanan claim happen really happen? Better yet, did these things American Crime Story claim happened to Cunanan really happen? Good question, and the show is quick to throw up a warning at the beginning of the season basically saying that, yes, they’re fudging some things along the way for dramatic purpose. There’s already a lot in the first episode that probably *didn’t* really happen.
That’s what it sounds like this season of American Crime Story is going to be about — lies. So many lies. Not just lies from Cunanan — thought it’s clear he’s going to be a major player when it comes to lies because he can’t even keep straight if he’s Catholic or Jewish — but also lies from the Versace family. But, as Martin’s Antonio puts it shortly after Donatella shows up, the truth is going to come out one way or another. Might as well get ready for it.
And when the truth comes out on American Crime Story, we’ll be watching.