The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

I was asked somewhere about what TV I'd been watching recently, and it was some time after replying that I realised I hadn't included this, even though its UK run still had an episode or two to go.

Partly, that was because I had almost forgotten that I was! Unlike the first series, The People v O.J. Simpson, it's not been 'event television', and US audiences were a half to a third of the OJ one. As well as this one's structure – most of it told in reverse order – putting people off, it's a relatively unfamiliar story. Involving lots of gay men.

Reading the book that was the first series' primary source recently makes it clear that the OJ Simpson one made almost everyone nicer than reality. There 'had' to be some heroes, and some major flaws and failures were skipped over. It could also, even for a UK audience, skip over most of the backstory, both in terms of OJ Simpson's rise to fame and the racism of the Los Angeles police – something that the documentary series O.J.: Made in America is excellent on, as well as covering what happened next.

In this series, there is really only one hero, Gianni himself. And he dies in the opening minutes. I've put in a request for this one's book, but I can believe that he really was a lovely person. The problem in terms of popular appeal is that no-one else is. Unless you're homophobic, a few come close, including his long-term partner, but there are an awful lot who definitely do not, like Versace's sister and, obviously, the killer himself.

So it's been a tough watch for the general public. One episode, you're shown something and can ask 'Why do I care what happens to this not very nice person?' Next episode shows you what lead up to that, and why you might have done so. But by that point, it's a bit late.

The highlight for me was the episode with the two interviews: Gianni Versace coming out to a US gay magazine – in the light, inviting his partner to join him – and a US Navy officer, previously seen being murdered, talking to a US network TV programme about the problems of being gay in the military – only in silhouette, after some horrible experiences that are leading him to resign his commission.

I wonder if anyone will do a more linear fanedit of it… and add the smoking that's blatantly missing from scenes in several 1990s US gay clubs!

The series itself has CW for homphobia and some bi erasure (one person denying their other gender partner was bisexual, for example, and everyone else treating them as closet gay).

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