It’s in episode three that American Crime Story season 2 really starts to become “The Andrew Cunanan Story” rather than “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” It makes sense that Versace’s murder is where the show started, but the season is actually about Cunanan’s murder spree, and Versace is only the tail end of that. There’s a lot more story to tell about Cunanan’s other crimes and his life prior to becoming a murderer, and this is honestly where the season starts to get really good, in my opinion.
Because of the non-linear storytelling, we back up a bit in time to May 1997. This is where Judith Light (who is amazing and should be in all the shows) makes her first appearance as Marilyn Miglin. She’s the wife of Lee Miglin, a Chicago real estate magnate and Cunanan’s third victim. Since the show works backward, showing us the crimes first and the set-up second, this episode begins with Marilyn arriving home after a business trip and sensing something is wrong in her townhouse.
She asks some neighbors who are passing by to help her look around, and they find Lee’s mangled body in the garage (though we don’t know at this point that he had been tortured before his death). The tension and dread were so palpable as Marilyn and her friends walked through the house.
Backing up to a week earlier, we learn that the Miglins clearly have great affection for one another. However, it feels as though Marilyn is in love with Lee and Lee simply cares very much for Marilyn. Those are not the same thing.
But it’s working for them — except for the fact that Lee sees male escorts on the side. That’s who Cunanan poses as, and the show indicates the two have seen each other several times previously, though we aren’t given any details in that regard. But in this particular instance, Cunanan isn’t actually there as an escort — he’s mid-murder spree. He acts like he’s going to sleep with Miglin, but instead he brutally beats and kills him.
When we flash back to after the murder, Marilyn (who must have at least had an inkling about her husband’s real sexual identity) is refusing to believe what the police are telling her, instead citing all the stolen items — clothes, gold coins, money — as proof that this was obviously an intruder whom Lee surprised mid-robbery. She’s holding herself together as well as can be expected, but in private, she breaks down about the death of her husband and how wonderful their marriage was. It’s a heartbreaking monologue, and Judith Light performs the hell out of it. Look for her to earn at least an Emmy nom (if not a win) for guest star later this year.
Meanwhile, Andrew is moving on down the road in Lee’s car, which has a car phone in it. Every time the phone turns on, the police are able to track Andrew’s location. But that bit of information makes it into a news broadcast, and Andrew realizes he has to ditch the car. So he kills his fourth victim, William Reese (Gregg Lawrence), and steals his red pickup truck, heading for Florida to confront Versace.
It’s a bit weird that after two episodes that focused so heavily on Versace, we now have an episode that doesn’t mention him at all. The only Versace blip in episode three is that Cunanan visits the Versace store in New York. I understand the writers wanting to focus on the Miglins — the EPs told me that it’s important to the show to do justice to the other victims who were not famous fashion designers — but it’s still a little jarring.
What do you think of American Crime Story season 2 so far? Tell us @BritandCo.
(photos via FX)