In the second season of the true crime anthology television series American Crime Story, FX traces the iconic family’s fateful journey from Reggio Calabria, Italy to Miami, Fla., where Gianni Versace’s life was abruptly cut short.
The season’s storyline was an adaptation of the book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History by Maureen Orth.
Édgar Ramírez takes on the role of Versace, a man with a vision who built a fashion institution.
Alongside Ramírez is Penelope Cruz as the designer’s sister and muse, Donatella Versace.
Gianni’s longtime partner, Antonio D’Amico, is also featured in the series, portrayed by Ricky Martin.
The nine-episode season dives into the personal life of Gianni, from his humble Italian roots and first taste of the fashion world, to his untimely death and how his legacy was carried on by his family–especially Donatella.
Cruz’s portrayal of Donatella rightfully gets prominent screen time as the season showcases her as a true Italian matriarch of the Versace Group, and an example of triumph over tragedy as she ensures that her brother’s life work and legacy will not die along with him.
The season also focuses on the background of the murderer, Andrew Cunanan, played by Darren Criss.
Throughout the season, viewers see defining moments in Cunanan’s life, from his childhood to the moment he met Gianni Versace in 1990, to the 1997 murder spree that claimed the lives of five people, including the iconic fashion designer.
The season concludes with the widespread manhunt for Cunanan, who committed suicide eight days after shooting Versace on the front steps of his Miami Beach mansion.
However, Versace Group sent a statement to Harpers Bazaar warning viewers that the family had nothing to do with the season nor the authenticity of its content:
“The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace. Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is partly based nor has it taken part in the writing of the screenplay, this TV series should only be considered as a work of fiction.”
Harpers Bazaar said D’Amico also called the season “ridiculous,” claiming many of the portrayed scenes were untrue. However, D’Amico reportedly met with Martin for advice on the role, just as Donatella Versace gave personal insight to Cruz, according to Harpers Bazaar.
Despite the disapproval from Versace Group, the season was hailed by critics and went into the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards already triumphant with the nine nominations, the most of any show that year.
Out of those nine nominations, the season took home four awards, including Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Darren Criss, Outstanding Contemporary Costumes, and Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie or a Special.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story can be viewed on Netflix.