Now that Season 2 of Ryan Murphy's true-crime anthology series, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, has reached its gruesome conclusion, the mystery remains: Which infamous case will Murphy tackle next?
Well, we already know the answer. And the one after that as well. Murphy has teased that subsequent seasons of American Crime Story will cover Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, as well as the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal. But given the critical and awards show acclaim American Crime Story has generated so far, we think Murphy & Co. could keep this series going for years to come.
Here are our suggestions of crimes the show could depict in subsequent seasons:
1. John Lennon's murder
The Beatles singer was gunned down outside his Manhattan apartment building as he stopped to respond to an autograph seeker on Dec. 7, 1980. The fan, Mark David Chapman, ended up being Lennon's killer. Chapman is currently incarcerated and has said he committed the murder in order to get attention and because he was jealous of Lennon's fame.
2. The Lindbergh baby kidnapping
On March 1, 1982, 20-month-old Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., the son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, was kidnapped from his home in New Jersey. His body was discovered 11 days later. Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was arrested, convicted, and later executed for committing the crime, maintained his innocence up until his death by electric chair in 1936. There are all kinds of twists and turns to the story that would make for intriguing drama - like the suicide of a servant whom police initially named as a suspect, and the theories that suggest Hauptmann may have been part of a larger conspiracy.
3. Natalie Wood's death
Natalie Wood's mysterious drowning has been back in the headlines lately, so what better time to revisit the case on television? The actress met her untimely end in 1981, while on a weekend boat trip to Santa Catalina Island with her husband, actor Robert Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken, who was her co-star in Brainstorm, the movie she was filming at the time. To this day, no one's sure what happened, though Wood's body was found with bruises on her arms and torso and a cut on her cheek. Her cause of death was officially ruled to be "drowning and other undetermined factors." A bonus would be seeing Murphy's handling of the lifestyles of the rich and famous in the early '80s. The fashion alone would be amazing!
4. The AIDS crisis
Murphy already gave us his take on a fictionalized version of the AIDS crisis with HBO's 2014 adaptation of The Normal Heart. But it would be interesting to see American Crime Story's treatment of it. As with the upcoming Katrina season, there's no specific "crime" to point to here, only the negligence on the part of the American government in waiting so long to address the crisis, which many consider criminal. As source material, Murphy could look to David France's How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS.
5. Black Sox scandal
What fits the American Crime mold better than a crime that took place in the world of America's favorite pastime? Sure, there was already a movie made about the Chicago White Sox throwing the World Series in 1919 (1988's Eight Men Out), but it could use a dramatic as hell Ryan Murphy update.
6. JonBenet Ramsay's murder
One of the most notorious unsolved American crimes of the last century, the 1996 killing of 6-year-old beauty pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey in her family home in Colorado captivated the national interest for months - and still does. Much as he expanded the O.J. Simpson trial to comment upon race relations and sexism in America in the first season of American Crime Story, Murphy could use the Ramsay case to make a big statement about the exploitation and sexualization of young girls in this country.
7. The case of "Clark Rockefeller"
Or perhaps this would more aptly be called the case of Christian Gerhartsreiter, a German imposter who moved to the United States as a teen and subsequently assumed many fake identities, eventually passing himself off to be a wealthy member of the Rockefeller family and marrying American businesswoman Sandra Boss. His real identity was discovered after he was arrested for kidnapping his daughter in 2008, and he was subsequently convicted of the 1985 murder of a California man. He's currently serving time in a California prison.
8. Sacco and Vanzetti
It's been nearly 100 years since the anarchists Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco were sentenced to death for the murder and armed robbery and sentenced to death. But their trial and conviction are still discussed and debated in both history classrooms and the culture at large. The men each penned several letters maintaining their innocence up until their deaths, and in 1977, then-Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation that the pair had been wrongly convicted. A two-part television drama about the case aired back in 1960, but if The People v. O.J. taught us anything, it's that Murphy is an expert at depicting the unconscious biases of members of a jury.
9. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
We'll never know just how large of an impact King's murder in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, and the nationwide riots that followed, had on the Civil Rights movement of that decade. But suffice it to say, many of the battles that King was fighting are far from over. His killer, James Earl Ray, was a racist and segregationist who pled guilty but later recanted his confession. He died in prison in 1998, having served 29 years of a 99-year sentence.
10. Richard Nixon's resignation
Comparisons of current events to the Watergate scandal are aplenty nowadays, so this might be the perfect time for Ryan Murphy to show people exactly what it was that led to the resignation of the 37th U.S. president, Richard Nixon, on August 9, 1974. Two years prior, five men were caught breaking into the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., which housed the headquarters of the Democratic Party. An investigation later revealed that Nixon's re-election committee, and the president himself, were involved in the break-in, in an attempt to sabotage their political opponents.
11. The Oklahoma City bombing
Years before 9/11, the country was horrified by a bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 that killed nearly 170 people and injured nearly 700 more. Perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh, who said he carried out the truck bombing to express his hatred for the American government, the bombing stands as the deadliest incident of domestic terrorism in the United States. McVeigh was executed in 2001, and his co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, was sentenced to life in prison in 2004.
12. Caylee Anthony's death
In a case that gripped (and disgusted) the entire country, 2-year-old Caylee Anthony went missing from her Florida home in June 2008, though her mother Casey didn't officially report her disappearance until a month later. Even before Caylee's remains were found in December of that year with duct tape on the skull, Casey Anthony was charged with the first-degree murder of her daughter. In a verdict that stunned the nation to the same degree O.J. Simpson's acquittal did decades prior, she was found not guilty in July 2011 and released from prison later that month.
13. Jeffrey Dahmer
Maybe the story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is more in the wheelhouse of American Horror Storythan American Crime Story, but we'd be interested to see Murphy's handling of the story behind the "Milwaukee Cannibal," who was guilty of raping, murdering and dismembering nearly 20 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. In 1992, he received a life sentence 15 times over and was beaten to death by a fellow inmate two years later.