‘American Crime Story': Here’s Lizzie Coté’s Plea for Andrew Cunanan to Surrender

The video Cunanan sees in “American Crime Story” was really made — but did he ever see it?

(Note: This post contains spoilers for the finale episode of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”)

The finale of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” finally catches up to the end of killer Andrew Cunanan’s tale. On the run in Miami after committing five murders, and all over the news because one of his victims was Versace, the episode finds Cunanan watching news coverage about his own manhunt.

Cunanan (Darren Criss), hiding out in the houseboat where he’ll later take his own life as police close in, watches network news coverage about the story. And in the “American Crime Story” version of events, he sees interviews with Marilyn Miglin (Judith Light), the wife of Cunanan’s third victim Lee Miglin (Mike Farrell), and Lizzie Coté (Annaleigh Ashford), Cunanan’s longtime friend. In the show, Cunanan watches as Coté pleads for him to surrender to the police.

Lizzie Coté appeared in several earlier episodes of “American Crime Story.” She met Cunanan when he was still in school, and the pair were so close that Cunanan was the godfather of her children. The real-life Coté did tape a plea for Cunanan to surrender to police after the murder of Versace (played by Edgar Ramirez on “American Crime Story”), as the Washington Post reported at the time.

Reporter Maureen Orth, author of the 1999 book “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History” on which “American Crime Story” is based, writes that Coté recorded the statement at the request of the FBI, and used the nicknames of her children and other coded language of their friendship to try to get through to him. The book includes her full plea to Cunanan:

“The Andrew Cunanan I know is not a violent person,” Coté said, as Orth reports. “The Andrew Cunanan who is the godfather to my children is not a thief…. Please stop doing what you’re doing. I know that the most important thing to you in the world is what others think of you. You still have a chance to show the entire world the side of you that I and your godchildren know. The time has come for this to end peacefully…. D.D. loves you, Schmoo. I bring with me a special message from our papoose. Grimmy says she loves her Uncle Monkey and hopes that you’ll remember her always. Your birthday will soon be here, and someone else who loves you will be five years old.”

“Vulgar Favors also notes that “Coté ended with a Latin phrase that Andrew would remember from his days as an altar boy: ‘Dominus vobiscum’ (The Lord be with you).”

In “American Crime Story,” Cunanan sees Lizzie’s plea on TV. According to Orth’s reporting in 1997, however, he never got the chance. Lizzie recorded the statement in Los Angeles on the day Cunanan died.