American Crime Story

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American Crime Story
American Crime Story.jpg
Genre
Based onSeason 1
The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson
by Jeffrey Toobin
Season 2
Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History
by Maureen Orth
Developed byScott Alexander
Larry Karaszewski
Starring
Composer(s)Mac Quayle
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes19 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Chip Vucelich
  • John Travolta
  • Alexis Martin Woodall (season 1)
  • Eric Kovtun
  • Lou Eyrich
  • Eryn Krueger Mekash
Production location(s)Los Angeles, California (Season 1)
Miami, Florida (Season 2)
CinematographyNelson Cragg
Editor(s)
  • Adam Penn
  • C. Chi-Yoon Chung
  • Stewart Schill
Running time41–66 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor20th Television
Release
Original networkFX
Original releaseFebruary 2, 2016 (2016-02-02) –
March 21, 2018 (2018-03-21)
External links
Website

American Crime Story is an American anthology true crime television series developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who are executive producers with Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Ryan Murphy, and Brad Simpson. A spin-off of the horror anthology series, American Horror Story,[1] also from Murphy and Falchuk, each season is presented as a self-contained miniseries, following separate unrelated true events. Alexander and Karaszewski did not return after the first season, but they retained executive producer credit.[2]

The first season, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson, presents the murder trial of O. J. Simpson, based on Jeffrey Toobin's book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson. The second season, subtitled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, explores the murder of designer Gianni Versace by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History.

The series is broadcast on the cable television channel FX in the United States. It premiered on February 2, 2016.[3][4][5] A third season, based on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, was in development but production was scrapped.[6]

Overview[edit]

The People v. O. J. Simpson (2016)[edit]

Based on Jeffrey Toobin's The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson, the season explores the O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) murder case as well as the combination of prosecution confidence, defense wiliness, and the Los Angeles Police Department's history with the city's African-American community that gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.[7][8]

The season also stars Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, Kenneth Choi as Lance Ito, Christian Clemenson as Bill Hodgman, Bruce Greenwood as Gil Garcetti, Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018)[edit]

Based on Maureen Orth's Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, the season examines the July 1997 assassination of legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramírez) by sociopathic spree killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), who killed himself in a Miami Beach houseboat after an eight-day manhunt.[9][10]

The season also stars Ricky Martin as Antonio D'Amico and Penélope Cruz as Donatella Versace.

Katrina and other projects[edit]

Based on Sheri Fink's book Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, a season would take an unflinching look at the decisions doctors made at Memorial Medical Center[11] (see also: Memorial Medical Center and Hurricane Katrina). In August 2017, it was announced that Sarah Paulson would star as Dr. Anna Pou, who was on duty at the hospital when Katrina struck.[12][13] The so-called Katrina season was originally planned to be the second season of the series, with The Assassination of Gianni Versace following as the third. However, in June 2017, it was announced that Katrina would not begin production until early 2018 and that Versace would air in early 2018, replacing Katrina as the show's official second installment.[14]

In January 2017, it was announced that a fourth season was in development. It was supposed to cover the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal and the ensuing events during Clinton's presidency, based on Jeffrey Toobin's book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.[15][16] In February 2017, Ryan Murphy revealed that Sarah Paulson was supposed to be in the season, but not as Hillary Clinton.[17] However, in April 2018, Murphy revealed that the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal-based season was scrapped and no longer in development.[18] In early February 2019 John Landgraf acknowledged that the Katrina storyline was also cancelled and won't be the subject of any season of the series either.[19]

Episodes[edit]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonTitleEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1The People v. O. J. Simpson10February 2, 2016 (2016-02-02)April 5, 2016 (2016-04-05)
2The Assassination of Gianni Versace9January 17, 2018 (2018-01-17)March 21, 2018 (2018-03-21)

Season 1: The People v. O. J. Simpson (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
US viewers
(millions)
11"From the Ashes of Tragedy"Ryan MurphyScott Alexander & Larry KaraszewskiFebruary 2, 2016 (2016-02-02)1WAX015.12[20]
22"The Run of His Life"Ryan MurphyScott Alexander & Larry KaraszewskiFebruary 9, 2016 (2016-02-09)1WAX023.90[21]
33"The Dream Team"Anthony HemingwayD. V. DeVincentisFebruary 16, 2016 (2016-02-16)1WAX033.34[22]
44"100% Not Guilty"Anthony HemingwayMaya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky and
Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
February 23, 2016 (2016-02-23)1WAX043.00[23]
55"The Race Card"John SingletonJoe Robert ColeMarch 1, 2016 (2016-03-01)1WAX052.73[24]
66"Marcia, Marcia, Marcia"Ryan MurphyD. V. DeVincentisMarch 8, 2016 (2016-03-08)1WAX063.00[25]
77"Conspiracy Theories"Anthony HemingwayD. V. DeVincentisMarch 15, 2016 (2016-03-15)1WAX072.89[26]
88"A Jury in Jail"Anthony HemingwayJoe Robert ColeMarch 22, 2016 (2016-03-22)1WAX082.91[27]
99"Manna from Heaven"Anthony HemingwayScott Alexander & Larry KaraszewskiMarch 29, 2016 (2016-03-29)1WAX092.76[28]
1010"The Verdict"Ryan MurphyScott Alexander & Larry KaraszewskiApril 5, 2016 (2016-04-05)1WAX103.27[29]

Season 2: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
US viewers
(millions)
111"The Man Who Would Be Vogue"Ryan MurphyTom Rob SmithJanuary 17, 2018 (2018-01-17)[a]3WAX012.22[31]
122"Manhunt"Nelson CraggTom Rob SmithJanuary 24, 2018 (2018-01-24)3WAX021.42[32]
133"A Random Killing"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonTom Rob SmithJanuary 31, 2018 (2018-01-31)3WAX031.26[33]
144"House by the Lake"Daniel MinahanTom Rob SmithFebruary 7, 2018 (2018-02-07)3WAX040.98[34]
155"Don't Ask Don't Tell"Daniel MinahanTom Rob SmithFebruary 14, 2018 (2018-02-14)3WAX050.91[35]
166"Descent"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonTom Rob SmithFebruary 28, 2018 (2018-02-28)3WAX071.10[36]
177"Ascent"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonTom Rob SmithMarch 7, 2018 (2018-03-07)3WAX060.92[37]
188"Creator / Destroyer"Matt BomerTom Rob Smith and Maggie CohnMarch 14, 2018 (2018-03-14)3WAX081.00[38]
199"Alone"Daniel MinahanTom Rob SmithMarch 21, 2018 (2018-03-21)3WAX091.20[39]
Notes
  1. ^ This episode was available five days before the official premiere for FX+ subscribers.[30]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The People v. O. J. Simpson

On October 7, 2014, it was announced that FX had ordered a 10-episode season of American Crime Story, developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and executive produced by Alexander and Karaszewski, as well as Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who co-created such series as Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, and Pose. Murphy also directed the pilot episode. Other executive producers are Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.[40] Co-executive producers are Anthony Hemingway and D. V. DeVincentis. All 10 episodes were expected to be written by Alexander and Karaszewski.[7][41] The series was previously in development at Fox but since moved to the company's sibling cable network FX.[42]

Katrina

When first announced as the second season, Katrina was said to be using Douglas Brinkley's book The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the primary source material,[43][11] with Annette Bening cast as Kathleen Blanco, Matthew Broderick as Michael D. Brown, and Dennis Quaid as George W. Bush.[44] Cuba Gooding Jr.[12] and Courtney B. Vance[12] were set to return after their participation in the first season, but after the source material was changed, only Sarah Paulson was set to star as Anna Pou, with the other actors such as Bening, Broderick, and Quaid leaving the project. However, it was said the producers would try to find new characters for at least some of those actors already cast.[13]

Casting[edit]

For season 1, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Paulson were the first to be cast as Simpson and Marcia Clark, respectively.[45] Subsequently, David Schwimmer was cast as Robert Kardashian.[46] In January 2015, it was reported that John Travolta had joined the cast as Robert Shapiro; he would also serve as producer.[47] In February 2015, Courtney B. Vance joined the series as Johnnie Cochran.[48] In March 2015, it was announced that Connie Britton would co-star as Faye Resnick.[49] April 2015 saw the casting of Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden,[50] Jordana Brewster as Denise Brown,[51] and Kenneth Choi as Judge Lance Ito.[52] In May 2015, it was confirmed Selma Blair would be portraying Kris Kardashian Jenner.[53] In July 2015, it was announced Nathan Lane had joined the cast as F. Lee Bailey.[54]

In February 2017, Annette Bening has joined the cast of Katrina as Kathleen Blanco,[55] while Matthew Broderick was cast as Michael D. Brown.[56] That same month, Édgar Ramírez and Darren Criss joined the cast of The Assassination of Gianni Versace as Gianni Versace and Andrew Cunanan, respectively.[57]

Initial reports announced that Lady Gaga would portray Donatella Versace in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, but Murphy confirmed that they were false.[58][59] Penélope Cruz was later cast in the role.[60] In April 2017, it was announced that Ricky Martin had joined the cast of The Assassination of Gianni Versace as Antonio D'Amico, Versace’s longtime partner.[61] On April 28, 2017, Annaleigh Ashford was seen filming on the set of The Assassination of Gianni Versace with Criss.[62] On June 21, 2017, it was announced that Ashford's role in the series would be as Elizabeth Cote, a friend of Cunanan's since high school.[63] On May 5, 2017, Murphy posted a photo on Instagram of Criss and Max Greenfield on the set of the season. On June 21, 2017, it was announced that Finn Wittrock would play Jeffrey Trail, Cunanan's first victim.

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for season 1 began on May 14, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.[51][64] According to set photos, principal photography of Versace (then season 3, now season 2) began at the beginning of May 2017, in Miami, Florida.[citation needed]

Promotion[edit]

In October 2015, FX released its first promotional trailer for The People v. O. J. Simpson, showing an Akita dog whining, walking from its residence onto a sidewalk to bark, then walking back to its residence, leaving behind bloody paw prints.[65] Later that month another teaser was released, wherein the first actual footage of Travolta as Shapiro was shown. In the teaser, Shapiro is about to ask Simpson (whose face is unseen) if he is responsible for the murder of Simpson's ex-wife. In the next short teaser that was released, Simpson (again unseen) is taking a lie detector test.

In November, two new teasers were released. The first shows Simpson writing his attempted suicide letter, while a voice-over by Gooding, Jr. narrates. The second shows the police chasing Simpson's white Ford Bronco, while dozens of fans cheer for him.[66]

The first full trailer was released in December, along with a poster for the season. The trailer included Simpson sitting in the childhood bedroom of Kim Kardashian and contemplating suicide while Robert Kardashian tries to stop him.[67]

In September 2017, FX released the first promotional teaser for The Assassination of Gianni Versace, showing doves sitting outside Versace's former mansion and flying away when two gunshots ring out.[68] A second teaser was released that same month, depicting Versace's sister Donatella placing flowers on a casket.[69]

Broadcast[edit]

The series first premiered worldwide in Canada on FX on February 2, 2016.[70] In the Philippines, the series premiered on February 3, 2016 on CT.[71] In India, the series premiered on STAR World Premiere HD on February 8, 2016. The first series premiered in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2016.[72] The second series began on February 28, 2018 on BBC Two. In Israel, the series premiered on February 22, 2016. In Australia, the series' first season was promoted as a "miniseries" under the title The People vs OJ Simpson and premiered on Network Ten on March 6, 2016 before concluding on May 8, 2016.[73] The series currently airs at 10:15pm on Thursdays on RTÉ One in Ireland.[74]

The first season was made available on Netflix in all countries except Canada and German speaking Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) in February 2017. All future seasons will be made available on Netflix following their respective broadcast windows.[75]

Reception[edit]

Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
The People v. O. J. Simpson 97% (74 reviews) 90 (45 reviews)
The Assassination of Gianni Versace 89% (61 reviews) 74 (34 reviews)

The first season of American Crime Story has received critical acclaim. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an approval rating of 97%, based on 74 reviews, with an average rating of 8.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story brings top-shelf writing, directing, and acting to bear on a still-topical story while shedding further light on the facts – and provoking passionate responses along the way."[76] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 90 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[77]

The second season of American Crime Story received near critical acclaim. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an approval rating of 89%, based on 61 reviews, with an average rating of 7.09/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Assassination of Versace starts with a bang and unfurls slowly, moving backward through an intricate (and occasionally convoluted) murder mystery anchored by a career-defining performance from Darren Criss."[78] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 74 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[79]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2015 5th Critics' Choice Television Awards Most Exciting New Series American Crime Story Won [80]
2016 7th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Movie/Miniseries The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won [citation needed]
Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries Cuba Gooding Jr. Nominated
Courtney B. Vance Won
Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Sarah Paulson Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Sterling K. Brown Won
John Travolta Nominated
BET Awards 2016 Best Actor Courtney B. Vance Nominated [81]
74th Golden Globe Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won [citation needed]
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Courtney B. Vance Nominated
Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Sarah Paulson Won
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Sterling K. Brown Nominated
John Travolta Nominated
68th Primetime Emmy Awards
(68th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards)
Outstanding Limited Series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won [82]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Courtney B. Vance Won
Cuba Gooding Jr. Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Sarah Paulson Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Sterling K. Brown Won
David Schwimmer Nominated
John Travolta Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Ryan Murphy (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
John Singleton (for "The Race Card") Nominated
Anthony Hemingway (for "Manna from Heaven") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
Joe Robert Cole (for "The Race Card") Nominated
D. V. DeVincentis (for "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia") Won
Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special Jeanne McCarthy, Nicole Abellera Hallman, Courtney Bright, and Nicole Daniels Won
Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie Nelson Cragg (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series, or Movie Hala Bahmet, Marina Ray, and Elinor Bardach (for "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia") Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or Movie Chris Clark, Natalie Driscoll, Shay Sanford-Fong, and Katrina Chevalier Won
Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic) Eryn Krueger Mekash, Zoe Hay, Heather Plott, Deborah Huss Humphries, Luis Garcia, and Becky Cotton Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie Adam Penn (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
C. Chi-Yoon Chung (for "The Race Card") Won
Stewart Schill (for "The Verdict") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie Doug Andham, Joe Earle, and John Bauman (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Won
32nd TCA Awards Program of the Year The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won [83]
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Won
Individual Achievement in Drama Sarah Paulson Won
Courtney B. Vance Nominated
2018 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Performance in a Show Darren Criss Nominated [84]
70th Primetime Emmy Awards
(70th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards)
Outstanding Limited Series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Won
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Darren Criss Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Ricky Martin Nominated
Édgar Ramírez Nominated
Finn Wittrock Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Penélope Cruz Nominated
Judith Light Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special Ryan Murphy for "The Man Who Would Be Vogue" Won
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special Tom Rob Smith for "House by the Lake" Nominated
2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Darren Criss Won [85]
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Penélope Cruz Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Limited Series The Assassination of Gianni Versace Won [86]
Best Actor in a Movie/Limited Series Darren Criss Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Limited Series Finn Wittrock Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Limited Series Penélope Cruz Nominated
Judith Light Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form – Adapted Maggie Cohn and Tom Rob Smith Won [87]
Satellite Awards Best Miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace Won [88]
Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film Darren Criss Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Édgar Ramírez Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Penélope Cruz Nominated
Best Ensemble: Television The Assassination of Gianni Versace Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Won [89]
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Darren Criss Won
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Édgar Ramírez Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Penélope Cruz Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tom Rob Smith, Daniel Minahan, Brad Falchuk, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Chip Vucelich, Maggie Cohn, Eric Kovtun, Lou Eyrich, and Eryn Krueger Mekash Won [90][91]

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