Following the success of Ryan Murphy’s critically acclaimed The People v. O.J Simpson, the second instalment of the crime anthology revolves around the assassination of fashion designer, Gianni Versace.
The series debuted in the US on FX back in January, and finally arrived on BBC Two in the UK last week.
But while murderous pursuits of serial killer Andrew Cunanan is the focus of the series, the show deals with a whole lot more than a tragic killing spree in 1997.
Here’s four reasons why you need to watch The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
1. Darren Criss plays a sociopath
We never expected to see a Glee character suffocate an elderly man with duct tape before bludgeoning him to death with a brick – but Darren Criss’ portrayal of Andrew Cunanan, the serial killer who shot Gianni Versace, is disturbingly captivating.
It’s unfathomable as to how somebody can create a character boasting irresistible charm and intelligence, and juxtapose it with such insincerity and brutality, which makes it hard to watch and even harder not to.
He’s as compelling as a sociopath as he is a choir boy – which will make your moral compass spin all over the place.
2. Gianni Versace and Antonio D’Amico’s open relationship
Édgar Ramírez (Gianni) and Ricky Martin’s (Antonio) open relationship is a fresh representation of the often underrepresented concept of polyamory. But their openness doesn’t devalue their relationship, and the compassion they have for one another.
They are, in other words, the ultimate power couple.
“I want to normalize relationships like this. It’s good for the world; it’s good for me as a gay man with kids,” Ricky Martin said in a recent interview about the scenes.
“It’s important that we shed some light on power couples like [Gianni Versace and Antonio D’Amico], even though [D’Amico] was quiet and behind the scenes and he was just there supporting his man for 15 years.
“I also believe there was a level of homophobia going around in his family where he was hiding, even though he says, ‘My relationship was very open and free with Gianni’…”
3. That pink pants scene
If you don’t know what we’re talking about, see the images below and thank us later. As part of his narcissistic character, Darren Criss dances in some tight pink undies, as one of his ‘clients’ lay terrified on the bed- unable to see due to the tape over his eyes.
Besides the obvious appeal, this scene highlights how compelling Criss’ portrayal of a twisted killer really is.
4. The critique of homophobia in 90s Americana
The Assassination of Gianni Versace might not be what you expect.
Amongst the Versace runway, Miami beaches, and Darren Criss well-fitted underwear, the miniseries cleverly explores the consequences of being gay in the 90s. Because beyond the glitz and glam lies the not-so-pretty reality.
Homophobia affects most of the characters in the series. Andrew Cunanan struggles to come to grips with his sexuality and targets in-the-closet homosexuals. Each one of his murders, which are poorly chased up by the police, are acts of internalised homophobia.
In what could be his best role yet, Ricky Martin doesn’t only have to face the grief he feels from the death of his partner, he also has to deal with the implications that this horrific murder and its corresponding investigation has for him as a gay man.
He deals with institutionalised homophobia from the police who investigate him, estrangement from Gianni’s sister Donatella (portrayed by Penélope Cruz), and remains half in the closet when he’s forced to suppress the truth about his sexuality. His performance is bound to leave you teary-eyed.
Later in the season, the real-life stories of closeted business tycoon Lee Miglin, and gay naval officer Jeff Trail – two other of Cunanan’s victims – are explored further, unpacking the rife homophobia in which the LGBTQ community had to operate in in their personal and professional lives.
You can follow Liam on Twitter @LiamGilliver