‘American Crime Story’: Is this true crime anthology series worth watching?
It’s been three years since American Crime Story aired a new episode, and to say we’re itching for more would be an understatement. The hit FX show surprised us in 2016, when it unleashed a captivating retelling of the O.J. Simpson saga during its premiere season. Then, in 2018, American Crime Story season 2 tackled another scandalous true crime tale – the murder of Gianni Versace – and it hooked us all over again.
Producer Ryan Murphy is no stranger to the anthology genre, after a gazillion seasons of American Horror Story under his belt. He’s cracked the code again with American Crime Story, entrancing audiences with salacious true crime sagas that grabbed headlines back in their day. Thus, we are currently salivating over the upcoming third season, which is meant to focus on the Bill Clinton / Monica Lewinsky debacle.
So no death on the cards for next season – unless you count America’s innocence, ZING – but it’ll probably be as mesmerizing as the previous two. Thankfully, if you haven’t jumped aboard the American Crime Story train yet, that’s nothing a solid binge session or two can’t take care of. And if you’re still iffy about putting in the time, perhaps a more detailed overview of the show will help you commit. Let’s do it!
The trouble with O.J.
You know what’s crazy? We had two wildly successful O.J. Simpson projects come out in 2016. One was the Oscar-winning documentary O.J.: Made in America, which gave us an exhaustive look at the racial injustice that built up over decades and culminated in O.J. being found not guilty. The other was The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which did the same and also threw in John Travolta as Robert Shapiro.
Travolta’s metamorphosis into one of O.J.’s infamous lawyers was only one of the highlights of American Crime Story’s first outing. The award-winning season also gave us such gems as Sarah Paulson as deputy district attorney Marcia Clark, Sterling K. Brown as prosecutor Christopher Darden, and Courtney B. Vance as memefied-to-death defense attorney Johnnie Cochran.
Oh, and O.J. Simpson was played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in what was easily the most high-profile role he’s had since Jerry Maguire. Welcome back, Cuba! The entire thing was wall-to-wall cast with big names, and it took us into a much more complex journey than we expected. We all remember the soundbites from the O.J. trial, but American Crime Story provided a hypnotic context to them.
The deal with Versace
Pop culture didn’t soak up the murder of Gianni Versace to the same extent that it did the O.J. Simpson trial, but the story surrounding Versace’s death was just as interesting as O.J.’s battle against the legal system. To tackle it, American Crime Story used Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History as the base for its second season.
You probably recognize Versace’s name, but you may be less familiar with Cunanan’s. Andrew Cunanan was the spree killer responsible for the murder of the famous fashion designer. Played by Darren Criss in what Rotten Tomatoes calls “a career-defining performance”, Cunanan is one of the focus points of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Besides Gianni Versace, played by a rock-solid Edgar Ramirez, the two other key figures in the story are Versace’s sister Donatella, and his longtime lover Antonio D’Amico. Once again, American Crime Story’s casting department brought its A-game, getting Penelope Cruz to play Donatella, and Ricky Martin to play D-Amico. It’s so much easier to watch murder mysteries when you have some familiar faces guiding you!
Getting jiggy with Clinton
We don’t know much about American Crime Story season 3, and yet we also know plenty. All you have to say is it’ll deal with Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and most people’s minds will instantly fill in the blanks. If you were conscious during the 90s, you are familiar with the Monica Lewinski saga, even if you don’t know the details. Naughty going-ons at the White House – that sums it up.
Of course, that’s how most people felt about the O.J. Simpson story, and then American Crime Story season 1 showed us how much we didn’t know. There’s a very good chance the same thing will happen with season 3 – currently titled Impeachment – and we’ll be treated to an in-depth analysis of all the circumstances that led to Clinton receiving sexual favors in the Oval Office, being impeached, and remaining as president.
The cast, once again, is up to the standards set by previous American Crime Story seasons. Just for starters: Beanie Feldstein will play Monica Lewinsky, Clive Owen will play Clinton, Sarah Paulson will play Linda Tripp, Edie Falco will be Hillary Clinton, Billy Eichner will play Matt Grudge (brilliant!) . . . and that just scratches the surface.
Have we convinced you to check out American Crime Story? Or are you already a fan that’s looking forward to the new season? Let us know in the comments!