• Network: FX
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 17, 2018
Season #: 1, 2
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Robert Rorke
    Jan 4, 2018
    100
    “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” is more personal and heartfelt than Murphy’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” and proves that when it comes to seductive allure laced with menace, no one in TV is Murphy’s match.
  2. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    Jan 17, 2018
    90
    Because it’s so great at reclaiming an era we almost forgot, The Assassination of Gianni Versace easily stands as first must-see offering of 2018. It checks all the boxes needed for the perfect winter miniseries and there’s not an inch of it that isn’t stylish.
  3. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Jan 11, 2018
    90
    I’m not sure The Assassination of Gianni Versace manages to add contemporary political and cultural resonance to its serial killer story as effectively [as The People v. O.J. Simpson]. ... But The Assassination of Gianni Versace is nonetheless extremely insightful, as well as consistently entertaining.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Lawson
    Jan 17, 2018
    88
    To me, the show is both balm and menace, lurid exploitation and primal scream. The series doesn’t have the seismic, prestige heft of People v. O.J., and it doesn’t share its forebear’s piercing intelligence. But in its messy and obliterating swirl, The Assassination of Gianni Versace does something ambitious and rattling. It frames a gay disaster as an intrinsically American one, binding personal values with national ones, tethering one sense of self-worth to another.
  5. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    Jan 16, 2018
    88
    Versace marries the extravagant with the violent. Even when the series stretches its plot too thin, bold direction mostly makes up for it, ensuring that there is always something to look at, either beautiful or repulsive. The series is grounded by sublime performances from its cast.
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Jan 19, 2018
    85
    The Assassination of Gianni Versace is a formidable piece of work, brilliant in its characterizations and harrowing in its depictions of the amorality of American culture's dark underside.
  7. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 11, 2018
    85
    “Versace" is not perfect--some episodes meander a bit and anytime the story takes viewers back to Versace and away from the other victims, it becomes less compelling--but it marks an early, strong entry for one of the best series of 2018.
  8. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jan 17, 2018
    83
    Although her time on-screen is limited, Cruz makes some strong impressions as the ever-demanding Donatella Versace.
  9. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 22, 2018
    80
    The details are less familiar than the O.J. Simpson trial, the subject of Crime Story's acclaimed first season, which makes the reverse chronology of the parallel narratives even more compelling and disturbing. [22 Jan - 4 Feb 2018, p.12]
  10. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jan 17, 2018
    80
    The story is told in reverse chronological order, jumping back and forth, here and there, across the trail of Cunanan’s various crimes--can sometimes seem gratuitously confusing, but once you get used to its rhythm, this American Crime Story has an irresistible pull.
  11. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Jan 16, 2018
    80
    Fascinating, creepy. ... The Assassination of Gianni Versace does not justify Cunanan--he is, always, self-pitying and lazy, unwilling to choose a better course--but it does more than simply try to comprehend him. Occasionally it has compassion for him.
  12. Reviewed by: Melanie McFarland
    Jan 16, 2018
    80
    The Assassination of Gianni Versace hangs together imperfectly, and its lines don’t quite flow with the level of unified elegance of its predecessor. Calling to mind the designer’s signature medallion, it is its own Medusa, beauty and horror in one long, complicated gaze. It doesn’t match its predecessor’s power to transfix the audience, but it is definitely worth seeing.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Jan 16, 2018
    80
    Assassination may not be as enjoyable to watch as O.J., but it’s striking to see how thoughtfully all involved approach a very different story in a way that gives it its own tone, its own themes, and its own grandeur. This is a more difficult but more ambitious work, and it stands as a worthy companion.
  14. 80
    The Assassination of Gianni Versace isn’t for everyone, either, but it’s sincere and committed as it follows its own path.
  15. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Jan 11, 2018
    80
    The narrative focus on Cunanan--he’s the story--is what holds this 10-part saga together, and it does so compellingly throughout.
  16. Reviewed by: Sonia Saraiya
    Jan 10, 2018
    80
    More saliently, the heavy-handedness slows down the story--or belies the fact that compared to “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” has much less story to tell. ... But with an array of fantastic performances and an eye to exploring the complexity of contemporary queerness, American Crime Story has produced another interesting history play to chew on--one with a lingering, intriguing aftertaste.
  17. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jan 17, 2018
    75
    If it doesn't rise to the same level as its predecessor in terms of racing through an airport to catch the next episode, "Versace" ultimately aces the watch-ability test with flying colors.
  18. Reviewed by: Michael Haigis
    Jan 16, 2018
    75
    The series is defined by an unsettling unreality that evokes the morbid interest that surrounded these events in real time. With its dogged adherence to authenticity, it creates the feeling of witnessing something illicit, suggesting that we're complicit in fulfilling Cunanan's quest to make an impression, by opting to relive his spree at all.
  19. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Jan 16, 2018
    75
    Sorry, not as good as “O.J.,” but Criss turns in a dynamic performance in service of a desperately sad story.
  20. Reviewed by: Erik Adams
    Jan 16, 2018
    75
    The Assassination Of Gianni Versace plays better as parable than reportage. While it never quite becomes the twin narrative of Versace’s and Cunanan’s lives that’s hinted at in the early episodes, it continues using them as mirror images of one another: creator and destroyer, mother’s apprentice and father’s favored child, doting brother and prodigal son.
  21. Reviewed by: Darren Franich
    Jan 12, 2018
    75
    If O.J. was an epic, this is a short-story collection. Some hit, some miss, all share a heartbreaking theme. ... Oddly, Versace is best when it leaves Versace behind.
  22. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jan 9, 2018
    75
    The quality of Smith’s script is honored effectively through the direction of the series, by Matt Bomer, Gwyneth Horder-Payton and series creator Ryan Murphy, and through exquisite performances, beginning with that of Darren Criss. ... Ramírez is equally convincing as Versace. His physical resemblance to the designer is uncanny, but the performance is what makes the story so credible.
  23. Reviewed by: Dave Nemetz
    Jan 9, 2018
    75
    After a while, as powerful as Criss’ performance is, even the Cunanan scenes start to feel like overkill: repetitive and methodical, to the point of becoming dull. There’s just not enough story here to justify nine hours of television. ... Overall, Versace ends up being an intensive character study of a complicated killer... and not much else.
  24. Reviewed by: Spencer Kornhaber
    Jan 18, 2018
    70
    The show is clearly hoping that audiences will share that stereotypically Italian trait as it channels Federico Fellini and The Godfather. Murphy is more of a workman than a high artist, though, and his meanderings here muddle an intrinsically strange, socially resonant story.
  25. Reviewed by: Lorraine Ali
    Jan 17, 2018
    70
    Versace sets out to make viewers care about a case most of them will barely remember. This is the show’s greatest challenge and its sharpest point.
  26. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Jan 3, 2018
    70
    The Assassination of Gianni Versace juggles three storylines and an innovative crimes-in-reverse structure in a way that yields a disturbing character study and an assortment of strong performances. Still, through eight of the nine episodes, it isn't quite as convincing or thematically unified as The People v. O. J. Simpson.
  27. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    Jan 16, 2018
    67
    Versace admirably (and more effectively) explores how Cunanan’s victims formed connections with him and why Cunanan may have finally snapped, even if it’s a less cohesive and richly detailed season than “The People vs. O.J.” ... [Darren Criss] has moments of raw power, he just doesn’t elevate the material the way Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, and David Schwimmer did for “The People vs. O.J. Simpson.”
  28. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jan 16, 2018
    60
    Fascinating yet repellent. ... Is it about beauty? Is it about psychosis? Is it about gay rights? Yes to all that, but never effectively.
  29. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 16, 2018
    60
    If you can view Cunanan not as the protagonist of Assassination, but its connective tissue, then it begins to feel more satisfying as a series of tragic vignettes about what it was like to be gay in America in the ’90s. ... But Cunanan’s just not interesting enough to support so much screen time, especially because we don’t really get to understand what makes him tick until the story’s nearly over. And even then, it’s hard to find empathy, given what we know about all the horror he inflicted.
  30. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Jan 11, 2018
    60
    [The Versace] sections of the story are stronger ... Reducing [Cunanan] to a morality-play story of a boy warped by his secrets is unsatisfying. It’s enough to make it relevant to an empathetic contemporary audience, but it’s not enough for a drama that uses the names and personae of people who really lived.
  31. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 16, 2018
    58
    Ramirez does an outstanding job capturing a gentle man and his passion for his work. Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) co-stars as his doting sister Donatella, who has absolutely no use for Antonio. (That animosity is well documented.) Criss’ portrayal is brittle and needy (and not such a far stretch from the character he played on Murphy’s “Glee”).
  32. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Jan 16, 2018
    50
    There are many incredibly suspenseful and deeply fascinating stretches. The problem is that fascination is wrapped around frustration in this second "American Crime Story," which is wearisomely lighter on details and slower of pace.
  33. Reviewed by: Margaret Lyons
    Jan 16, 2018
    50
    If The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story were a little more interesting, maybe it would be that lightning rod. But instead it’s a surprisingly inert, if lushly imagined, tale.
  34. Reviewed by: Josh Bell
    Jan 11, 2018
    50
    A manipulative sociopath and compulsive liar, Cunanan is a tough protagonist to invest in for nine episodes, and while Criss makes him suitably unsettling, the show too often skews more toward the sleazy excesses of a ’90s erotic thriller than the methodical refinement of something like The Talented Mr. Ripley.
  35. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Jan 17, 2018
    40
    What might have been a furious reflection on the worth of style and aesthetic as compared to the humanity encased within such frames and settings is boiled down to an extensive Wikipedia page, more interested in the facts of the case than why the case was so important and shocking to the zeitgeist in the first place.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 189 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 189
  1. Jan 18, 2018
    10
    Came into ACS: Versace expecting to be disappointed after the first season. It blew me away. The acting (Darren Criss & Penelope Cruz areCame into ACS: Versace expecting to be disappointed after the first season. It blew me away. The acting (Darren Criss & Penelope Cruz are standouts), the cinematography, the directing, the intense edge-of-your-seat storytelling. One of the best premiere episodes I've seen. Excited to see more! Full Review »
  2. Jan 18, 2018
    10
    Color me surprised. Following one of the most critically acclaimed seasons in TV history, my expectations were tempered for the second season.Color me surprised. Following one of the most critically acclaimed seasons in TV history, my expectations were tempered for the second season. Wow, was I wrong. I loved every minute, every second of the show's premiere. Phenomenal cinematography, a moving score, beautiful dialogue, and those quirky Ryan Murphy moments were on full, vibrant display - but the cast performances were absolutely incredible. You would be hard-pressed to find a stronger cast on TV, or perhaps film. Edgar's sensitive interpretation is heartbreaking. Cruz is epic and commands from the moment she arrives. But special note must be made of Darren Criss - whose layered, nuanced portrayal of a psychopath turns this show into the ultimate must-see show of 2018. Bottom Line: Come for Versace, stay for Cunanan. Full Review »
  3. Jan 18, 2018
    10
    I saw the episode last night and am instantly hooked. The cast is to die for. Darren Criss will undoubtedly take home an Emmy for lead, and II saw the episode last night and am instantly hooked. The cast is to die for. Darren Criss will undoubtedly take home an Emmy for lead, and I can see Penelope and Edgar getting one as well for supporting. I have a love-hate with Ryan Murphy productions, but this one is just fantastic. I have a hard time thinking any other limited series will come close to it this year. 10/10 Full Review »