The second season of American Crime Story started with the infamous murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace by the serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
The series originally developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who are executive producers with Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Ryan Murphy, and Brad Simpson present unrelated true crime stories in each episode. The original creators of the series, Alexander and Karaszewski, have now left the show. This season of the series will have 9 episodes in total each focusing on a different true crime story that shook the United States.
The first episode of season 2, ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ starts with showing Versace looking out of his Miami mansion’s balcony when Cunanan appears with a sand-logged backpack from the beach below. The show flashbacks to the two encounters between Versace and Cunanan, first one in the V.I.P. room of a nightclub, and the next one on the stage of San Francisco opera performance Capriccio, for which Versace had designed costumes.
The show sheds light on the relationship between the murdered and the victim. After the murder of Versace in 1997, Vanity Fair contributing Editor Maureen Orth, in her book ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ had first reported that Versace and Cunanan had met before in 1990 in San Francisco. She had come to this conclusion based on multiple interviews and interaction with witnesses. Another person, Doug Stubblefield, had also claimed to have seen Versace and Cunanan together at multiple occasions. At the same time, Steven Gomer, one of Cunanan’s friends, also told Orth that he ran into Cunanan at a place in San Francisco, where Cunanan, dressed in a tuxedo, claimed that he had just come from meeting Versaci at Capriccio. This remark seems to provide a basis for the scene between Versace and Cunanan at San Francisco opera surrounded by Candelabras.
Despite of all these evidences, the Versace family has maintained its claim that Gianni never met Cunanan.
According to Vanity Fair, when the news of Gianni been fatally wounded on the steps of his Miami mansion spread out, Ortho was one of the first people to have a correct hunch about who the killer was. Ortho had spent previous months in extensively researching mindset and murder spree of 27 year old Cunanan – a half-Filipino-half-Italian college dropout with an acute IQ, a drug habit, and dark sexual history. In her feature in Vanity Fair the following month of the assassination, Ortho reported that out of all the tales of meeting celebrities boasted by Cunanan to his friend, Gianni was the only one whom he had met in person.
The first episode of the crime series is largely based on details about Cunanan reported by Ortho. It covers how Cunanan was taught importance of brand names by his father. Cunanan telling people of Versace approaching him and his sassy reply, “Honey, if you’re Versace. I’m Coco Chanel!” How Cunanan, a smart liar, told stories of family’s pineapple plantation fortunes, Imelda Marcos, his father’s fictional boyfriend, and Rolls Royce, keeping his friends astonished.
Cunanan, the 449th fugitive to be listed on FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, went on a string of murders from April 27, 1997 to July 15, 1997. In this span of time, he murdered 5 different people including, Jeffrey Trail, a former US naval officer and propane salesman, his former lover Architect David Madson, 72-year-old Lee Miglin, a prominent real estate developer from Chicago, 45-year-old caretaker William Reese from Pennsville, New Jersey, and finally the famous Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace. After 20 years of murders the motive behind these murders in still not clear. Cunanan’s family claims that their son was set up by the mafia.
The episode of the Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story has done a splendid job of showing the stark difference of how two gay men of mediocre economic background died at different ends of human spectrum. According to Bill Hagmaier, former chief of the F.B.I.’s child-abuse and serial-killer unit that the only possible reason behind Versace’s murder is ““whether or not Versace is ‘personally symbolic,’ he’s ‘the wealthy, high-profile homosexual success story that Andrew Cunanan was never going to be.” And ““The only way he [was] going to get famous is the same way John Hinckley got famous.” John Hinckley had attempted assassination of the President Ronald Regan.