American Crime Story is an FX true crime docudrama anthology series, exec. produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk — the masterminds behind anthology sister shows American Horror Story and Scream Queens. Much like American Horror Story, each season of American Crime Story dramatizes a different real-life crime.
Its first season, The People v. O.J. Simpson, covers the infamous O.J. Simpson murder trial that spanned eleven months between 1994 and 1995. Cuba Gooding Jr.. stars as Simpson himself, while the cast is rounded out by Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran, Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, Selma Blair as Kris Jenner (formerly Kardashian), Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey, and Billy Magnussen as Kato Kaelin.
Its second season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, details the murder of the legendary fashion designer committed by Andrew Cunanan in 1997. Edgar Ramirez stars as Versace, while other main cast members include Penélope Cruz as Donatella Versace, Darren Criss as Cunanan, Max Greenfield as Ronnie, Ricky Martin as Antonio D'Amico, and Finn Wittrock as Jeffrey Trail.
A third season, Katrina, was slated to follow The People v. O.J. Simpson, but has been confirmed to no longer be centered around Hurricane Katrina. To quote the article, "FX CEO John Landgraf revealed that there are four ideas for the series in the works, but the order in which they will be made is unclear." Its cast originally included Annette Bening as Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, Sarah Paulson as Dr. Anna Pou, Matthew Broderick as Matthew D. Brown, and Dennis Quaid as President George W. Bush, but it's since been stated that only Paulson is likely to remain in her role, with the others possibly being assigned new ones. Its scope was also narrowed to Memorial Medical Center, where the staff were stranded for five days after the hurricane and left to care for hundreds of patients without electricity, ultimately deciding to euthanize many of the worst cases.
An additional fourth season has already been greenlit as well. It was originally slated to detail with President Bill Clinton's impeachment, specifically the scandal involving his affair with Monica Lewinsky, but this was initially scrapped with it being unclear what season would air after Versace. However, in August 2019, it was revealed that the series would go ahead as the third season, with Lewinsky serving as a producer for the season. It will star Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp, Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, and Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones.
American Crime Story seasons to date:
- The People v. O.J. Simpson (2016)
- The Assassination of Gianni Versace (2018)
- Impeachment (2020)
- Season 4 (TBD)
American Crime Story generally provides examples of:
- Foregone Conclusion: Anybody familiar with the cases covered will know how they end.
- Lighter and Softer: Downplayed. It's not as gritty or bloody as American Horror Story, which it spun off from. Everything is still played with utter seriousness.
- Impeachment is this to the series itself, to a certain degree, since it doesn't revolve around or involve a murder.
- True Crime: Dramaticizing them.