HomePower Beats Club

‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’ is a painful and pointed look back

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace” and “The People v O.J. Simpson” have much in common: Both series are part of FX’s “American Crime Story” anthology, both are scripted dramas that revisit 1990s celebrity crimes, and both are the work of mastermind Ryan Murphy.

Yet the Versace story, which premieres Wednesday, is a markedly different viewing experience from its award-winning predecessor.

There are no Marcia Clarks or Johnnie Cochrans in the Versace story, no bloody glove, no white Bronco. In short, the new series doesn’t coax audiences in with the familiar, dipped in decade-centric nostalgia.

Details surrounding the Italian fashion designer’s 1997 murder by serial killer Andrew Cunanan weren’t burned into the American psyche like those of the double homicide in the Simpson trial. “Versace” sets out to make viewers care about a case most of them will barely remember. This is the show’s greatest challenge and its sharpest point.