The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Does the Renowned Designer Justice

Maeve Malaney-Lau

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is set in July of 1997 in Miami. From the start, we see a stark contrast of two different worlds. While world renowned Italian designer and fashion icon Gianni Versace, played by Edgar Ramirez, is lounging in his Italian style beachfront villa, Andrew Cunanan, played by Darren Criss, stumbles through the city, high on drugs, with a gun in his hand. After reaching Versace’s villa and shooting him dead as he unlocks his front gate, we move back in time to follow Cunanan’s story of how he got to this moment.


Throughout the series, we see a couple of characters develop. One of the most important charactesr being Donatella Versace, played by Penelope Cruz, Gianni’s sister. After Gianni’s death, Donatella blames his lifelong partner, Antonio (Ricky Martin). We also see throughout the show how Donatella inspired Gianni whilst keeping everyone around him in line. Her strong personality caused her to butt heads with Antonio and even Gianni at times, but ultimately she helped shape the Versace empire. The death of Gianni affected her the most out of everyone as she had to immediately take over his company and his legacy.


The main storyline shows how Gianni built the Versace company while weaving in his interactions with Cunanan from Cunanan’s point of view. As the viewers see more and more of Cunanan, we see that Versace isn’t the only person he has killed. Through his struggle with sexual identity and family problems, Cunanan turns to hard drugs to cope. This eventually increases his violent and erratic temperament and only causes more death. Cunanan’s character is well portrayed by Criss. He develops into a narcissist with an extremely inflated image of himself, and viewers become scared of his next move as he is so unpredictable.


One of the last points of view in the show is that of the police officers going after Cunanan. Even after multiple murders, they find it very difficult to locate him.  Through the police, we find out the backstory of Cunanan’s family, particularly his father. After putting Andrew on a pedestal his whole childhood, he is suddenly forced to leave his family and flee to the Philippines without even saying goodbye. It is suggested that this is part of the reason why Cunanan develops sociopathic tendencies. At the end of the series, Cunanan’s father attempts to cash out on his own son’s media fame for the murders, and ends up tricking and betraying his son.


Overall, this show did a great job of telling the story of a troubled young man and his connections with the homicide of Gianni Versace. The multiple layers and different points of view allow viewers to understand all perspectives of the story and develop each of the characters even more in only nine episodes, which is not an easy task to complete.