The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Character: David Madson
Created by: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Tom Rob Smith
Directed by: various directors
Written by: Tom Rob Smith, Maggie Cohn
Other cast: Édgar Ramírez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin, and Penélope Cruz.
Premiere date: January 17, 2018
Episodes: Appeared in 4 episodes / episodes 2.04 to 2.07
Original airdate: February 7, 2018
Genre: Drama, Crime
Running time: 1 hour

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is the second season of the FX true crime anthology television series American Crime Story. The season premiered on January 17, 2018, and concluded on March 21, 2018. It consists of a total of 9 episodes and explores the murder of designer Gianni Versace by spree killer Andrew Cunanan, based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History.


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Episode Guide:

2×04: House by the Lake
Directed by: Daniel Minahan | Written by Tom Rob Smith
Airdate: February 7, 2018

In April 1997, Cunanan lures former acquaintance Jeff Trail to the Minneapolis loft-apartment of his former lover, David Madson, and bludgeons him to death with a claw hammer. After forcing Madson to remain complicit, Cunanan decides to flee to Mexico when one of Madson’s co-workers visits him. The Minneapolis Police Department, meanwhile, discovers Trail’s corpse and suspect Madson to be the killer. They proceed to question Madson’s parents, who firmly believe that their son is innocent. When Madson confronts Cunanan about his lies, Cunanan realizes that he has lost his hold on his lover and shoots Madson near a lake outside Rush City.

2×05: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Directed by: Daniel Minahan | Written by Tom Rob Smith
Airdate: February 14, 2018

In June 1995, Versace ignores Donatella’s disapproval and makes his sexuality public in an interview. In November 1995, U.S. Navy lieutenant Jeff Trail is suspected as a homosexual after saving a fellow veteran from being assaulted in San Diego. Following an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Trail goes to a gay bar and meets Cunanan. Trail later agrees to do an interview about homophobia in the military, during which he “makes the decision” to leave the Navy. Two years later, Cunanan runs into Trail and David Madson in Minneapolis. Both men, however, try to avoid him, with Trail staying at his sister’s house and Madson stating he has moved on. Abandoned and angry, Cunanan resolves to murder Trail.

2×06: Descent
Directed by: Gwyneth Horder-Payton | Written by Tom Rob Smith
Airdate: February 28, 2018

In 1996, Cunanan lives in La Jolla, California with middle-aged businessman Norman Blachford, who handles his finances as part of their arranged relationship. During his twenty-seventh birthday party, Cunanan tries to impress David Madson by fabricating details about his life and boasting that everyone loves him. After an attempt to ask Blachford for more extravagant demands results in him being kicked out of their house, Cunanan spends thousands of dollars in an attempt to win Madson over only for Madson to cut all ties with him. Cunanan then turns to drugs and outs Jeff Trail to his father in a postcard, causing Trail to threaten him before moving to Minneapolis. Following a severe, drug-fueled bout of depression, Cunanan reunites with his mother Mary Ann and tells her he is going to Minneapolis.

2×07: Ascent
Directed by: Gwyneth Horder-Payton | Written by Tom Rob Smith
Airdate: March 7, 2018

In 1992, Versace pressures Donatella into taking over the company after his death. Following a failed attempt to collaborate on a dress for the Vogue anniversary gala, Versace is diagnosed with ear cancer and travels to Miami to recover, forcing Donatella to take the reins. That same year, Cunanan, who is living with Mary Ann, starts working as a gay escort for older men. He develops a relationship with architect Lincoln Aston, a close friend of Norman Blachford, only for Aston to break up with him after discovering he and David Madson spent the night together. Cunanan’s attempt to reconcile with Aston ends with him witnessing Aston’s brutal murder. Cunanan then moves out of his mother’s apartment following an argument and uses Aston’s death to develop a relationship with Blachford, who lets him move into his house.