American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 1 Review: The Man Who Would Be Vogue

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Gianni Versace was murdered nearly 20 years ago in the summer of 1997 under the blazing Miami sun.

His murder and the subsequent hunt for his killer was one of the biggest news stories of its time. And now it’s getting the Ryan Murphy treatment.

The brain trust behind the riveting The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, have turned season 2 into American Crime Story: The Assassination of Versace Season 1 Episode 1.

A Final Look - American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 1

And while the premiere wastes no time in showcasing the aforementioned murder, it looks like the subsequent fallout will be the main focus of the series.

Much as the OJ case concentrated on the trial, it appears that what happens after Versace’s murder, will be just as important as everything that comes before it.

A Living Legend - American Crime Story: Versace

If you’re entering this with fresh eyes, there’s a lot thrown at you in the first hour.

While we meet all the necessary players, we don’t get to see much beyond what we may read on a footnote. The one exception being the man behind the murder, Andrew Cunanan.

Played to absolute perfection by Glee alum Darren Criss, Andrew is the villain of this story -- no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Making Merry - American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 1

Switching between the murder and scenes of Andrew years prior, it’s very clear that Andrew is a confused man.

A conversation with a male companion pretty much lays out the kind of man he will be.

Andrew: What does it matter what I say?
Friend: What does it matter?
Andrew: Yes?
Friend: It matters.
Andrew: Only if they know it isn't true.
Friend: But you know.

Whether he’s boasting about his father and his riches or his dreams to write a novel, there’s a falseness and arrogance that just comes pouring off of him.

See, we are privy to seeing a glimpse of the real Andrew, a man with an empty closet, living with friends who continuously roll their eyes everytime he begins to tell a long-winded tale.

But the Andrew who boldly introduces himself to the Gianni Versace and scores a celebratory glass of champagne with the famed designer is a phony suck up, whose dastardly charm brings him face to face with the man he would later murder in cold blood.

The Killer - American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 1

While the OJ series played out in the courtroom and brought the conversation of race and the justice system to the forefront, this series will definitely delve into what it meant to be gay in the '90s and the incompetence in the search for Cunanan prior to Versace’s murder.

It looks like there will also be a peek into the lives of the other Versaces and how Gianni's death affected not only them but the company he took to such heights.

Darren Criss steals a lot of the screen time in the premiere, but Penelope Cruz, showing up about midway through, makes Donatella Versace into a steely-eyed woman, hellbent on preserving the Versace name.

The Sister - American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 1

She also has an icy relationship with Versace's partner of 15 years. 

Nothing was ever asked of you, except to take care of him. You couldn't even do that.

Donatella [to Antonio]

It's interesting play to begin the series with the murder and switch between alternating timelines. Sweeping stories of this nature sometimes do better when they are told from a straightforward point of view -- a simple point A to point B.

But I'm trusting in the Ryan Murphy magic here. There's a reason we are seeing things in this order.

Moving forward there will be much to cover, and I think the premiere sets the stage for another engrossing series.

It's got all of the right ingredients so far. A top-notch cast and a compelling story based on real-life happenings.

Can this series deliver like the one that preceded it?

What did you guys think about "The Man Who Would Be Vogue"?

Do you like that the story is being told in reverse order? How do you feel about the cast?

What are you hoping to learn from this series?

Leave me a comment, so we discuss it all. 

The Man Who Would Be Vogue Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (25 Votes)

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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American Crime Story: Versace Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Friend: You can't even tell people you're gay.
Andrew: I tell people all the time. I told people for years.
Friend: You tell gay people you're gay. And straight people you're straight.

Versace has invited me to the opera. Of course I said yes.