Why ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ Plays Out in Reverse Chronological Order

TCA 2018: Writer Tom Rob Smith has a pretty damn good reason

Last Updated: January 15, 2018 @ 3:14 PM

“American Crime Story” fans can’t wait for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” to start — though they’ll have to wait until it ends for the actual beginning of the story. We’ll explain.

The new season of anthology series “ACS” plays out in reverse chronological order, a decision that the producers were asked about Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour.

“This case is famous because of the murder of Versace,” executive producer and writer Tom Rob Smith explained. “The story-telling has to relate to the story itself.”

And that particular high-profile murder took place at the very end of Andrew Cunanan’s (Darren Criss) three-month streak of bloodshed back in 1997. Cunanan had killed at least four others before taking Versace’s life, and then ultimately his own.

As “fascinating” as Andrew’s own background might be, Smith continued, the audience “wouldn’t understand the context” had the show started there. After all, the average TV viewers probably wouldn’t know any of the earlier victims.

“We had to go backwards starting with what people know and then move into what they didn’t know,” he said.

Makes sense. Smith then pulled out a parallel between his back-to-front device and the real-life horror Cunanan created.

“[Andrew] understood that if he hadn’t have killed Versace … no attention would have came to this at all, it would have disappeared,” Smith said of the serial killer.

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” premieres Wednesday, Jan.17 at 10 p.m. on FX.