American Crime Story’s critically acclaimed first season centered on the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, which, for most people, was knowledge inherited by cultural commentary. You at least had a working understanding of what happened — the car chase down L.A. freeways, the controversial verdict. But if you weren’t conscious in the year 1997, then you might not be familiar with the subject of this season of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, another news sensation from the ‘90s.
From the title, you can extrapolate that this season of Ryan Murphy’s show, which premieres Wednesday, January 17, will focus on the murder of the fashion designer Gianni Versace by a 27-year-old man named Andrew Cunanan, who had killed four people earlier that year. The show begins with the titular murder, which took place outside Versace’s Miami mansion. Each episode beyond that swirls into Cunanan’s and Versace’s pasts, and pans out to the larger cultural context behind the murders — namely, the treatment of the gay community in the ‘90s.
The Versace family has expressed qualms with the adaptation of their great tragedy, claiming the show is a "work of fiction." Read on for the basics of what occurred, before going into the premiere episode. The facts, so to speak.