Stream On: American Crime Story

By on November 7, 2019

Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden prepare to argue a case that they “can’t lose” in The People vs. O.J. Simpson. (IMDB.com)

This ambitious FX true-crime anthology series has two brilliant seasons out, with more to come. Sticking tolerably close to the facts, it examines notorious American crimes without editorializing (not easy in the first season) while extracting every bit of drama from them.

Season 1: The People vs. O.J. Simpson

The first season of ACS (2016) recreates the setting of the 1994 murders of football star and actor O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman, its discovery, the police investigation and taking into custody of O.J., the trial and its aftermath, and is gripping from beginning to end of its ten episodes.

The talent is A-list: Cuba Gooding Jr. is O.J. and David Schwimmer (Friends, Band of Brothers) plays his best friend Robert Kardashian. Sarah Paulson (Deadwood) plays Marcia Clark and Sterling K. Brown (This is Us) is Chris Darden, the unhappy prosecutors struggling to keep a dead certainty of a case from slipping through their fingers. At the defense table, Nathan Lane (Modern Family), John Travolta, Courtney B. Vance (Law and Order: Criminal Intent) and Evan Handler are F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, Johnny Cochran and Alan Dershowitz, respectively.

O.J.’s mercurial mental state and contradictory responses to the crime and investigation are examined with subtlety by Cuba Gooding, also the case’s effect on his friendship with Rob Kardashian and his family (he was “Uncle O.J.” to the Kardashian girls). Lead prosecutor Marcia Clark was going through a bitter divorce, and African-American Chris Darden became unpopular with some friends and neighbors after signing on to the case against O.J. The assembling of O.J.’s defense team was not uneventful, nor was Darden’s idea of having the defendant try on the glove found at the scene of the crime, which haunted him after it put the finishing touches on the defense’s case.

It’s gripping and informative entertainment. Here’s a two-minute trailer: “You saw it all, but you don’t know the half of it.” Both seasons of ACS are available with subscription to Netflix; the second, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, is also available on demand from a half dozen streaming services. [TV-MA]

Andrew Cunanan, a failed fantasist and serial killer, fixes his sights on designer Gianni Versace in The Assassination of Gianni Versace. (IMDB.com)

Season 2: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

In 1997 celebrated Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot and kiled as he returned from a morning walk to his mansion in Miami. His assassin was a sociopathic fantasist, gigolo, and drug dealer, Andrew Cunanan, who had already killed four, including two former boyfriends, an older real-estate developer with whom he had had an affair, and a groundskeeper whose truck he stole while eluding police.

Like O.J. Simpson prosecutors Marcia Clark and Chris Darden, the police failed, here, in preventing Cunanan’s last two murders, which were committed after he was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

Different in tone than Season 1, The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018) is told with a shifting timelime, its main focus being the assassin and his strange journey from child of an audacious failed stockbroker who deserted his family, to prolific liar in high school, to pretender who befriended many  wealthy older gay men, living at their expense. He became obsessed with Versace, whom he apparently met in San Fransisco in 1990.

Along the way he befriended the friend of a former lover whom he killed, and began an affair with him, ultimately killing him too, with a pistol stolen from the lover, a navy veteran.

The other plot thread concerns Versace (Édgar Ramírez, The Bourne Ultimatum, Zero Dark Thirty)and his formulative childhood years in Italy when he received encouragement from his mother, a dressmaker. Versace later encouraged his unconfidant sister Donatella (Penélope Cruz, 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express in her TV debut) to take over his international fashion-design company. Unlike manipulative Cunanan, Versace was an altruistic and generous friend to his sister and employees.

Of special note is a scene in which Cunanan (Darren Criss, who received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his performance) and his second victim-to-be David Madson (Cody Fern, House of Cards) go to a club. Guest star Aimee Mann is onstage, playing an acoustic cover of the Cars’ “Drive,” while a nervous Madson in the men’s room considers surreptitiously leaving and Cunanan silently breaks down at their table, to the lyric “Who’s gonna come around, when you break?”

Here’s a 1:15 trailer to this excellent season. [TV-MA]

So much TV, so little time! Join me next time for more fogotten or obscure streaming picks. Email me and follow Stream On OBX on Twitter.

Click here for more Stream On: What to watch on TV columns by Pete Hummers.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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