The Assassination of Gianni Versace is a television masterpiece

Sara Varela


We’ve got ourselves the first masterpiece of television for 2018.

Ryan Murphy has caught us all on his web once again. This time with American Crime Story – The Assassination of Gianni Versace(ACS).

For those who don’t know, Murphy is the creative genius behind many successful series over the past decade including Glee, American Horror Story and the first season of ACS – The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Murphy has become a household name for his successful adaptation of true-crime into masterpieces of TV.

The second season of ACS, supposedly deals with the 1997 assassination of famous Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace, played by Edgar Ramírez, who was gunned down in front of his Miami Beach mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, played by Darren Criss.

But the series runs way deeper than that.

Versace’s assassination actually occurs within the first 10 minutes of the premiere, which by the way, are the most intense, beautifully dramatic series of shots television has seen in a long time. The cinematography, the music, the editing. The opening sequence of “The Man Who Would be Vogue” is a fantastic piece of art all by itself.

As we get into the episode, we start exploring the immediate aftermath of Versace’s murder as police begin the manhunt for Cunanan. We meet Gianni’s sister, Donatella, played by Penélope Cruz, and his partner of 15 years, Antonio D’amico, played by Ricky Martin. 

But as they audience immerses into the story, Murphy’s peculiarity shines through as the audience realizes that Versace’s murder is not the highlight of the story but rather the knot that ties the murder of five gay men together.

If we think about it, we all know very little about one of the most sensationalized murders in America. All we really know is that Versace was gunned down in front of his mansion and that Cunanan committed suicide on a boat eight days later as his manhunt came to an end.

And what most of us seemed to forget: Versace wasn’t the only victim of Cunanan’s selfish, egotistic, jealous rage. There were four other men whose names are all but forgotten.

With the insight of two gay men serving as writer and executive producer respectively, ACS offers a deep look at the big role homophobia in the nineties played as part of the American culture that allowed four murders to go unnoticed until Versace’s murder. Even though he was also gay, he had something the other four victims lacked: money, fame, and power.

The casting of ACS is powerful and inviting. Despite not being the central figure of the story, Criss’ portrayal of Cunanan will probably earn him an award or two due to his fabulous job conveying Cunanan’s psychopathy in ways that show him as he truly was: an obsessed, jealous, pathethic man who couldn’t deal with failure or rejection. 

Meanwhile, Ramírez’s physical transformation to resemble Versace is, to say the least, impressive. His portrayal of Versace not only as the titan of fashion he was, but as a generous, caring and openly gay man in the nineties promises to provide us with a unique insight of the designer that has not previously been shown.

One aspect many of us didn’t expect was Martin’s fantastic acting. Yes, he’s been a phenomenal performer for decades but acting I wasn’t so sure about. I wasn’t expecting much from him but his acting skills came through as soon as we see Versace dead on the mansion steps. We can feel D’amico’s grief in our bones.

When it comes to the technical aspects of ACS, Murphy’s artistry and his capacity to bring together the very best people of the industry together to make a phenomenal team is to be celebrated.

Every single aspect: the cinematography, lighting, music, editing, and casting are all out of this world. The quality of the production is impeccable and a gift for the eyes. 

The Assassination of Gianni Versace is a gift to all the television lovers who appreciate fantastic storytelling integrated to a high-quality, movie-like production.