Oxygen's 'Killing Versace' Documentary Special Is The Perfect Companion Piece To 'American Crime Story'
Fans of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace have dived headfirst into the tragedy of the famed fashion designer's murder at the hands of Andrew Cunanan, and now they have an opportunity to look at the case through a new and different lens. On Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. ET, Oxygen will debut Killing Versace: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, which is likely to be a must-see for anyone intrigued by the case. The hour-long special will not only focus on Versace's murder, but also track the path that lead Cunanan to his doorstep that fateful day and the manhunt that ensued after Versace's death. The documentary will use real footage from the scene of the Versace murder, and will be hosted by NBC News Senior National Correspondent Kate Snow. Additionally, experts on the 1997 case will weigh in and explore both new and known information about the infamous murder.
It's the perfect companion special for those who may have been tuning into The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, except this one uses real footage and experts and information to tell the true story. As you can see in the exclusive trailer for the Oxygen special below, it's just as compelling a story unedited and raw as it is dramatized for ACS.
The cause of Versace's untimely death is well-known, especially by those who are fashion enthusiasts or who lived during the time in which it took place. Versace fell victim to Cunanan, who shot the fashion mogul just outside his famed Miami Beach home, before heading on the run, according to the FBI account of the events. According to Time magazine, 27-year-old Cunanan was on the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitive list at the time of Versace's murder, and was suspected in the murders of people in Minnesota, Illinois, and New Jersey. Eight days after he shot Versace, Cunanan was found dead by suicide, according to the FBI.
Not much is known about Versace's relationship with Cunanan prior to the murder, and that's one thing that continues to be speculated upon. Maureen Orth, who wrote the book upon which this season of American Crime Story is based, told Vanity Fair that there was "no doubt in my mind that [Cunanan and Versace] met." Versace's family, though, has long maintained that he never met Cunanan prior to the murder, according to Vanity Fair.
The Oxygen special will be a new journey for anyone who has already tuned into another exploration of Versace's murder. American Crime Story's interpretation is now in full swing this season, with stars Darren Criss and Edgar Ramirez portraying Cunanan and Versace, respectively. That show, produced by American Horror Story's Ryan Murphy, is based upon true events, but, per Deadline, Murphy has been very clear that there are certain creative licenses that are taken when dramatizing a show of this nature.
"When you’re doing a show like this you’re not doing a documentary, you’re doing a docu-drama. There are certain things you take liberty with," Murphy said at a panel, according to Deadline. ACS also features a message in each of its episodes, reading, "This series is inspired by true events and investigative reports. Some events are combined or imagined for dramatic and interpretive purposes. Dialogue is imagined to be consistent with these events." This is true with many shows based on true events — no matter how much respect is paid to the real-life happenings, it's still a dramatized production, and details are often smoothed out or tweaked in order to help attain a showrunner's vision.
Oxygen's Killing Versace is different, though. It will be an entirely new venture even for fans of ACS, because it relies on real, authentic footage and interviews with experts, conducted by a professional and well-respected journalist. There's no movie magic or invented details, so fans can rest easy that the information they're seeing and hearing is accurate. When Killing Versace airs on Sunday, viewers will get an even more nuanced and informative account of the mystery surrounding the icon's tragic end.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.