Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace

'The Assassination of Gianni Versace': How Andrew Cunanan Spent His Last, Desperate Moments

What the series got right, and what it got wrong. [Caution: spoilers about The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story ahead!]

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storychronicles Andrew Cunanan's (played by Darren Criss) murder spree in 1997, in which he killed four men before shooting acclaimed designer Gianni Versace (played by Edgar Ramirez) on the steps of his Miami mansion. Though the Versace family contends FX's series is fictitious, the series is based on the book Vulgar Favors by investigative journalist Maureen Orth -- a Vanity Fair correspondent who spoke to more than 400 people in researching her exhaustively detailed book. Orth's story is a sad, gruesome, terrifying and shocking tale that, in executive producer Ryan Murphy's hands, illuminates how institutionalized homophobia allowed a killer to remain on the loose for months. But as is the case with adaptation, some licenses get taken when translating material from real life to the screen. So what's fact and what's fiction? TV Guide weighs claims from the series against the book below.

EPISODE 9 "Alone"

The Assassination of Versace ends as it began, with Andrew Cunanan shooting Gianni Versace on the steps of the designer's Miami mansion. After eight weeks digging into the haunting, complex backstory that chronicled the four murders before Gianni Versace's, the Versace finale only needed to show Andrew's last days to make the narrative complete. It did more. Versace brought back all its big guest stars, including Judith Light as Marilyn Miglin, Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz as Gianni's lover and sister, respectively; and Jon Jon Briones and Max Greenfield for incredible turns to reinforce how many lives were impacted by Andrew's descent and the institutional homophobia that enabled the him to elude capture. Of course, nobody will ever really know what went on in Andrew's mind in the final moments of his life, but the series portrayed him celebrating his heinous act and reveling in the attention from his loved ones when they appeared on TV. Versace also painted Andrew as the last victim in the tragic story -- a man who got the fame he wanted but died a desperate coward, alone. What really happened and what didn't?

1. Did Andrew really run into a checkpoint trying to escape?
Possibly. Miami Beach had been shut down; the only way to escape was by land by crossing a causeway. News reports had someone swearing she'd seen him going north in a Mercedes.

2. Did Andrew really celebrate with champagne as the news of Versace's murder made the news?
Vulgar Favors doesn't report champagne among the things law enforcement found when they found Andrew's body, but he was definitely aware of what was going on. In fact, law enforcement was so certain Andrew was watching coverage about the murder that they used his loved ones, including his friend Liz, to make media statements in hopes of luring Andrew out. Andrew could see police closing in, and as obsessed with media and himself as he was, he likely did watch the funeral ceremony on TV.

3. What about the dog food? Was Andrew really eating canned canine food out of desperation?
No. Vulgar Favors says that when police finally found Andrew in the houseboat, "There were oddities throughout. The front-door lock, for example, was found in the refrigerator's butter compartment. Most of the kitchen cabinets were open, and a pair of binoculars lay on the counter. There were fast-food wrappers in the bathtub and a plate of nut shells two inches high on the living room coffee table."

Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace

Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace


4. Did Marilyn Miglin really go on TV to talk about Lee after Versace had been killed?
Not according to the Chicago Tribune. This 1998 article says Miglin shunned all press until a reporter interviewed her a year later.

5. Did Andrew fire a warning shot for the man who came looking inside the houseboat?
Yes. The man in charge of watching over the houseboat -- which by the way belonged to a man who ran gay bathhouses in Las Vegas and is believed to be a place Andrew knew he could hide -- alerted authorities when he went to check on it and noticed the front door was compromised. "His suspicions mounted as he and his wife entered, because all the lights were on and the drapes, which were always open, were drawn," Vulgar Favors says. Cushions had been pulled off the sofa and made into a bed on the floor with a blanket, and a chair had been turned over as if to form a barricade. As he pulled out his gun, he heard a loud shot from the second-floor master bedroom. He and his wife ran outside and hid in the bushes and he called his son, who called the police.

Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story​

Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story


6. Did Andrew's father Pete really promise Andrew that he was coming to help get him out of Miami?
There's no evidence they talked and even if they had, Andrew would've obviously been nearly impossible to find.

7. Did Andrew's father Pete really do an interview denying Andrew was gay and say he was working on a movie about Andrew's life?
He did, but after Andrew was dead. Pete found out about the Versace murder from a politician in the Philippines, and quickly denied that his son was gay or capable of committing such a crime. He got $10,000 for an appearance on Inside Edition, but he went on Hard Copy for free in exchange for all the Associated Press clippings about the case. Months later, he proposed a film about his son.

8. Did Gianni's partner Antonio really try to commit suicide?
Antonio has said in interviews, including this one with the UK's Sun, that he fell into a deep depression, but there's no explicit mention of a suicide attempt.

9. Did police actually storm the houseboat Andrew was squatting in?
Yes. After shooting pepper spray and gas into the houseboat, officers tried to communicate with Andrew again and then entered the houseboat. On the second floor they found his body with a gunshot wound to his head and a handgun in his hand. "Andrew, eyes open, with several days' growth of beard, was lying in a pool of blood on a pillow propped on another pillow," Orth's book says. "He had shot himself through the mouth. Blood from his ears, nose, and mouth had caked, and the pillow was also soaked in blood. Jeff Trail's gun was still in his hand, resting on his stomach, and a single spent bullet casing was lying next to the sliding glass window."

EPISODE 8 "Creator, Destroyer"

Only one episode remains in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and if it hasn't been made clear by now, "Creator, Destroyer" removes any doubt this series is really about how Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) became a monster. "Creator, Destroyer" delves into the origins of Andrew's creation -- and ups the ick factor by making viewers have empathy for Andrew's pathologies and mental illness due to his childhood. Whereas Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez) got parental support and encouragement through a sense of purpose, Andrew got it through material goods, deception and masked threats from his father Modesto "Pete" Cunanan (Jon Jon Briones). No wonder Andrew repeated the sins of his father. In the episode's climax, Andrew learns his entire life had been built on a lie and unthinkable betrayal from his father, which planted a seed of anger, humiliation and entitlement that would've been impossible to overcome without intense therapy. Andrew never got to heal but instead descended into the death spiral depicted over the last seven episodes. What's real and what's made up in Episode 8? TV Guide checks the facts.

1. Did Andrew's dad really give him the master bedroom and a car before he could drive? Yes. Versace looks to be depicting the $189,000 four bedroom town house Modesto purchased in Rancho Bernardo, which Andrew's mom MaryAnn (Joanna Adler) called a mansion. Andrew was in high school at this time, not a young tyke as the show depicts but nonetheless, Pete gave Andrew the room -- with the caveat that his dad would have to come in to use the closet -- while MaryAnn slept in the maid's room and Pete slept on a couch; his siblings Gina and Christopher had already moved out.

2. Did Andrew's dad really work at Merrill Lynch? Yes, but not in the way depicted. Pete did begin a training program to be a stockbroker with Merrill Lynch in 1979, but wasn't with the company when he fled the U.S. During the nine years Pete Cunanan worked as a licensed stockbroker, from 1979 to 1988, he was employed by six brokerage houses; he never stayed more than two years at any job.

3. Were the feds really on his tail for defrauding people out of money? Not exactly. There's no disciplinary action with the The National Association of Securities Dealers on record, but Pete was fired than once. By 1987, Pete ended up at a place called Trademark Investment Services, Inc., where suspicions began to trickle in that he was doing something shady -- including taking money from a woman in her 90s as shown in the episode. Eventually, Pete took a windfall from a deal, sold an Alfa Romeo sportscar, got rid of the houses and split. He must have known the walls were closing in on him, but the chase scene in the series is fiction. He left his wife and children with nothing but his Naval pension check for less than $700 a month.

Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace

Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace


4. Did Andrew's father molest him as implied with Modesto turns out the light when Andrew is in bed?
This is ambiguous for a reason: Vulgar Favors says "people have wondered whether Pete and Andrew could possibly have had an intimate relationship," and the real life uncertainty is as creepy as it appears on screen. In her book, Maureen Orth asks Pete point blank about it. "Pete is not upset by the question. He coolly takes a drag on his cigarette, and says no." It is true that Pete said, "He was more than a son to me. He was a friend," and it's true that Andrew told people his father was gay and had a young boyfriend. Neither was true but one thing is certain: Pete paid Andrew the most attention and declared him the best looking of his kids.

5. Did Andrew really have an older gentleman friend in high school?
Yes -- at least one. One of his older friends bought him a bright red leather jumpsuit, as depicted.

Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace

Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace


6. Did Andrew go to confront his father in the Philippines?
He did. He stayed five days, according to his father, and spent most of the time "sweating in a motel room," from the tropical humidity. There's no mention of the heated argument shown in the series, but Andrew went back home from the Philippines with $900 and a newly distorted mind. From then on, Andrew's stories about his family's wealth and sugar plantations became more elaborate. In Andrew's telling, Pete--who'd just taken flying lessons once and never earned a pilot's license--became a Filipino general who flew Ferdinand Marcos around. "When Andrew saw the crude poverty in which his father was living," says one of his teachers, "a driving madness took over his mind." Something in him broke beyond repair.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.

EPISODE 7: "Ascent"
With just two more episodes left in its season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story continues to dig deeper into what made Andrew (played by Darren Criss) go from being a petty drug dealer, gay hustler and pathological liar to becoming a homicidal madman who killed five people before taking his own life. In this hour, Versace begins to a draw a clear parallel between the lives of Cunanan and his final victim, Versace (played by Edgar Ramirez). As Versace struggled to deal with his HIV diagnosis, Andrew struggled to find an outlet for his talents. Andrew lands on a strategy though, and "Ascent" shows how Andrew methodically pursued older rich men like Norman Blachford (Michael Nouri), using his sharp memory and vast knowledge of the arts to lure them. As Versace becomes increasingly aware of his mortality, Andrew looks like he has nothing but abundance ahead. What's true in this episode and what's fiction? TV Guide has the answers.

1. Did Donatella Versace (played by Penelope Cruz) really make that exaggerated splash into the limelight with that bondage-inspired dress?

Yes. Relative to the slinky, sexy and sometimes scandalous designs her brother put models in, Donatella herself had a relatively subdued look about her through the late 80s -- perhaps even a little matronly, as this shot from 1988 shows. But by 1992, Donatella dialed up the va-va voom, showing more skin and confidence in Versace's bondage-inspired dress from his fall 1992 collection titled "Miss S&M." Her image changed forever. Contrary to what the series asserts about the dress' sales, Vogue described it as an instant hit, but it is true that the siblings clashed openly all the time, including over clothes as series writer Tom Rob Smith told Vanity Fair.

2. Did Andrew work at a drugstore?
Yes. By 1991, Andrew's free rent situation with Lizzie (Annaleigh Ashford) and her husband had ended, and he moved in with his mom in a small, $750-a-month, two-bedroom apartment in Rancho Bernardo. He took a job at Thrifty Drug, which he thought was beneath him, and in his free time he'd go party in Hillcrest as Andrew DeSilva.

3. Did Andrew really slam his mother against a wall and fracture her shoulder?
He did. His mom MaryAnn (Joanna Adler) had serious mental health issues. She chain smoked, had several nervous breakdowns and threatened suicide often. When Andrew would get in from partying, he'd demand his mom stay silent -- she took the phone off the ringer for him -- and he would get enraged if she tried to enter the drug store where he worked. Vulgar Favors says that, in 1993 "Andrew lost control of his anger completely and slammed his mother against the wall so hard that she fractured her shoulder and had to wear her arm in a sling. When she went to the emergency room, Andrew warned her that if she ever told anyone he'd kill her."

Michael Nouri as Norman Blachford, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Michael Nouri as Norman Blachford, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story


4. Was Andrew rejected by an escort service?
Not formally, Vulgar Favors says. It does recount the tale of a well-known San Diego gay guy who connected people with dates; he, not the woman depicted in the series, is the one who said, "I've never had a call asking for an Asian," when a friend connected them. When Andrew came to the man's apartment, Andrew said his best attributes were his smile and eyes (and that he was of average endowment) but Andrew only got matched with about four people over the course of a few years.

5. Did Andrew actually witness his client Lincoln get murdered?
This is debatable and there's speculation that Andrew might've been the one who killed him. Lincoln Aston, Vulgar Favors says, was a 61-year-old wealthy man who favored young men, and paid for their company. By 1994, when Andrew was the toast of the La Jolla gay scene and known for being the go-to guy for drugs, escorts or anything else people needed, Lincoln and Andrew became inseparable. But in May of 1995, Lincoln was bludgeoned to death with an obelisk from his art collection by a guy he picked up in a bar. Andrew bragged to people that he'd been with Lincoln the night of his death and had found the body, but many people believe Andrew might've done it. He was using crystal meth heavily and as an acquaintance pointed out to the San Diego reader, the manner in which Lincoln and Jeff Trail were killed is eerily similar. He was never formally linked to the crime.

6. Did Andrew take a man in his 30s to his senior prom as he claimed?
Not technically. A classmate named Richard Caleel says in the series Mugshotsthat Andrew brought an older gentleman to a dance -- not explicitly a prom but close -- where Andrew famously wore a flashy red leather jumpsuit the man had purchased for him.

7. Did Versace actually have a problem with his ears and hearing as depicted?
This is unclear. It's commonly assumed that the Versace family explained Gianni's retreat from public life in 1994 and 1995 with the story that Gianni had a rare form of inner-ear cancer rather than the H.I.V. Maureen Orth's book declares. He very well could have endured a problem with his ears and hearing, but when his health improved the family claimed treatments worked. When his condition declined again in 1996, he was said to have a bone tumor in his cheek.

EPISODE 6: "Descent"
Episode 6 of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is, yet again, more "The Making of Andrew Cunanan" than Versace-centric -- this episode starting off a year before Andrew (played by Darren Criss) killed his friends Jeff Trail (Finn Wittrock) and David Madson (Cody Fern.) As a piece of the series' carefully constructed whole, "Descent" serves to show Cunanan's deteriorating mindstate as his life started spiraling downward -- a natural result of his excessant crystal meth use and increasing realization by his friends that Andrew was a sociopath. Whereas other episodes served to reinforce the series' main commentary about societal homophobia ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell") or how law enforcement dropped the ball in catching Andrew ("Manhunt"), "Descent" plays like the first real opening act of Andrew's tragedy, showing him enjoying the high life just before everything started to crumble. As Episode 6 ends, Andrew is in dire straits, because his desperation and madness thickened into homicidal rage. TV Guide breaks down what's accurate and what's fiction from the episode.

1. Was Andrew really not having sex with Norman Blachford even though he was living with him?
Probably not. Andrew was such a liar that nothing he said could be taken at face value, but according to Vulgar Favors, at least one acquaintance of Andrew said that sex with Norman was part of a negotiated deal in exchange for room and board.

Andrew met him around 1994 through members of Gamma Mu, an exclusive club for rich, mostly closeted gay men nicknamed the "pink Mafia." Norman's partner of 26 years had died of AIDS when he met Andrew, so he was alone and vulnerable and Andrew carefully researched Norman before making him his target. Norman lived in Phoenix, and Andrew would visit him there, wooing him with his impressive knowledge of culture and art. They traveled to Europe, where Andrew wowed Norman with his expertise on architecture and paintings. All the while though, Andrew was luring other young men with fancy dinners and trinkets: backups, in a sense. Andrew and Norman moved in together in 1995 -- an arrangement they were both very clear on and one that, if anything, offered Norman as much as it did Andrew. Norman had a suave companion he could take in front his rich friends; Andrew got Andrew a $33,000 Infiniti, an allowance of $2,500 a month and freedom to come and go as he wished.

While one source told Maureen Orth that the two had twin beds in their shared place in La Jolla, another said it was absolutely not true that Andrew didn't have sex with Norman. Sex was part of their agreement.

2. Did Andrew really ask Jeff Trail to give him a pair of shoes Andrew had already bought as to impress people at his birthday party?
Yeah, this happened. Norman and Andrew were living such separate lives in August of 1995 that Norman gave Andrew two parties for his 26th birthday: one for Andrew and his friends and another joint one with their mutual friends. Andrew asked Jeff Trail to not say that he was in the training program for the California Highway Patrol program as he was, but to say that he was an instructor there. Vulgar Favors says Andrew "handed Jeff a brand-new pair of expensive Ferragamo shoes still in the box and told him, 'Give me these shoes."' He also gave Jeff another pair of Ferragamos and told him to wear them and that he should tell people he was a doctor, since Jeff obviously couldn't afford them.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,  Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan


3. Did Lee Miglin (the Chicago businessman Andrew murders in Episode 3) appear at Norman's party?
This is likely fiction. Lee (Mike Farrell) doesn't become a part of the story recounted in Vulgar Favors until later and, remember, the Miglin family maintains that Andrew and Lee never met. In the series, showing Lee Miglin at Norman Blachford's party is likely a way producers wanted to illustrate the close-knit group of wealthy, closeted older gay/bisexual men that hung out in La Jolla and met in other places around the world in secret.

4. Did Andrew really have the master bedroom when growing up?
Yes. Andrew's early years will be explored in further episodes, but Andrew's father Modesto "Pete" Cunanan lavished Andrew with attention and material goods, making Andrew believe he was special and deserved all the finest things all the time. By the time Andrew was in middle school, his father had a job that enabled the family to move into a new home and he gave Andrew the master bedroom while his parents, brother and two sisters got the leftovers.

5. Did Andrew's mom really bring him lobster dinner to school?
Also true. The kid was spoiled. While most kids brown bagged it, Andrew demanded gourmet fare. At least once he made his mom bring him clam chowder and lobster with rice and drawn butter from a nearby seafood restaurant.

6. Did Andrew really try to sneak into Norman's house?

There's no mention of this in Vulgar Favors; it's probably fiction. After Andrew's failed ultimatum -- including a new $125,895 Mercedes SL 600 convertible -- he bid Norman farewell. Months later, the book reports, Andrew called Norman Blachford to say goodbye. "Blachford," Vulgar Favors says, "was somewhat puzzled by the call. He already knew that Andrew was leaving." A friend described their situation as "a deal not continued." An attempted break-in is noteworthy enough that one of Orth's many sources probably would've mentioned.

7. Did Andrew really go visit his mother MaryAnn while strung out?
Yes -- and Andrew's departure is meant to sum up the moment Andrew slipped down the rabbit hole into chaos. Andrew went back to live with his mom (Joanna Adler), who had debilitating mental health issues, when he fell on hard times, and he was even more controlling of her than he was everyone else. He would even get violent, too. "At one point in 1993 Andrew lost control and slammed his mother against the wall so hard that she fractured her shoulder and had to wear her arm in a sling," Vulgar Favors says. At the emergency room, Andrew threatened to kill her if she told the truth. But MaryAnn called Andrew the Prince, and she treated him like royalty. When Andrew would party for days and then come home to crash, he'd insist his mother remain quiet while he slept, so she'd take the phone off the hook and whisper when she spoke. She cooked whatever he wanted, whether she could afford it or not, and yet still relied on a friend to drive her 12 miles to get prescriptions filled because Andrew refused to do it.

EPISODE 5: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
After two Versace-free episodes, the titular hero of the series returns in Episode 5 -- if only for a little bit. "Don't Ask Don't Tell," as the not-at-all-subtle headline suggests, is an overt plea for viewers to look at how institutionalized homophobia directly impacted the lives of its central characters. This military policy, a compromise that only went halfway to end all discrimination against LGBT service people that then-president Bill Clinton wanted, went into effect in 1993. Intended to be a way of protecting gay and lesbian service people from intrusion into their personal lives, it really only served to remind LGBT people, directly and indirectly, that society was not ready to greet or treat people like Naval officer Jeff Trail (Finn Wittrock) as equal. But "Don't Ask Don't Tell," makes the point that this silence and shame wasn't just limited to the military; even Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramriez), a fashion designer who sold an image of flamboyance and decadent happiness, had to still be reminded how risky coming out was. Finally, this episode also unspooled more of Andrew Cunanan's (Darren Criss) path to becoming a murderer, revealing the lies and conniving behavior Andrew displayed up until he killed his friends. But even Andrew's making of a murderer story sticks to the theme, showing how Andrew's constant lying was linked to a disconnect from reality due in part to internalized self-hatred that helped drive him mad. But what's real and what's not? TV Guide breaks it down.

1. Did Gianni and Donatella really argue over Gianni's coming out in The Advocate?
Probably. Though there's no mention of this blow-up in the source material, Vulgar Favors, there are clues this very well could've taken place. For starters, Donatella (Penelope Cruz) is much more business-minded than she's been portrayed in the past, and her instinct that Gianni's formal coming out in a gay magazine could jeopardize sales in countries where homosexuality was illegal made sense. Further, the Versaces come from a private, old-school Catholic family and, as is widely known, she wasn't a huge fan of Gianni's partner Antonio D'Amico either. Lastly, Donatella and her brother had fights that were the stuff of legend. They'd make up the next day but frequently clashed over the direction of the brand, so the idea Donatella adamantly did not want Gianni to reveal details of his personal life fits into the bigger picture. By the way, here's that interview, in the July 11, 1995 issue of The Advocate.

2. Did Andrew really send Jeff Trail's parents a postcard implying that Jeff was gay?
Yes, and it was really upsetting for Jeff. Vulgar Favors describes Jeff as "a handsome, authentic all-American kid with dark hair and an engaging smile," from the Midwest (northwest of Chicago). He was fairly straight-laced -- the baby of the family who was also its lone conservative -- who gravitated to rules, order and the military. His sexuality nagged at him though; nobody on his ship the USS Gridley knew he was gay, nor did his parents, which is why a letter with a pet name for Jeff seemed like a threat that Andrew would out Jeff to his family if he stopped paying attention to Andrew.

Cody Fern as David Madson, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Cody Fern as David Madson, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story


3. Did Andrew propose to David?
Probably. Vulgar Favors provides ample evidence that Andrew considered David Madson the love of his life, and told people he wanted to marry him; though Andrew lied non stop, he told a friend he wanted to give David a ring but David turned him down. They met in 1995 in San Francisco, when David, a rising architect, visited the city on business and Andrew sent him a drink in a restaurant. They had a spark and what might generously be called a relationship, albeit briefly. Mostly it amounted to Andrew wooing David with expensive gifts. Andrew was living with a rich man, Norman Blachford, for a good chunk of the time he was pursuing David.

4. Did Jeff really do an interview with a TV newsmagazine about being gay in the military?
Yup. Maureen Orth writes Vulgar Favors that in late 1992, Jeff spoke anonymously about being closeted in the navy for the show 48 Hours. "I am not able to share my life with those around me," he said, darkened by silhouette just as shown in the series. The interview went on longer than what actually aired. But still ever much the conservative and sightly still tormented by his own sexuality, he said being gay is a "half natural and half conscious choice," and, a military man through and through, he sounded more bothered by the fact that taxpayers were wasting money training people who'd then either leave the military or be forced out due to their sexuality.

5. Did Jeff really try to cut off his own tattoo to avoid being incriminated as a gay man?
This is probably fiction, meant to show how much distress Jeff was in due to the military, although Jeff did in fact have a Marvin the Martian tattoo near his ankle.

6. Was Jeff's sister really delivering a baby just as Jeff had gone missing?
This, sadly is true. Lisa Stravinskas knew her brother was gay, and, along with her sisters, kept the secret from her parents. She delivered her baby by C-section at 8:15 a.m. -- two hours after Andrew pulled into a Chicago parking garage with David Madson's stolen Jeep. By this point, Jeff's body had been rolled into a carpet, and Andrew was about to strike again.

EPISODE 4: "House by the Lake"
This gruesome and terrifying installment of FX'sThe Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story re-enacts the moment Andrew Cunanan murdered his friend Jeff Trail (played by Finn Wittrock) in cold blood -- and the bizarre moments afterwards. The book that the series is based on, Vulgar Favors, lays out how Andrew lured Jeff, a former Naval officer who'd grown tired of Andrew's constant lying, to their friend David Madson's (Cody Fern) apartment in meticulous detail. But in Ryan Murphy's telling, the details coalesce to show how entrenched homophobia and anti-gay bias contributed to the tragic crimes in the first place, and how the bungled investigations gave Andrew a months-long head start ahead of authorities. "House by the Lake" depicts a depraved, heinous act of violence -- Andrew murdered Jeff with a hammer -- and then, the killing of David Madson too. These were two boiling points in Andrew's long-simmering descent into an abyss of drugs, hardcore porn and incessant deception that'll be unveiled in subsequent episodes. What's real and what's not in Episode 4? TV Guide breaks it down.

1. Did Andrew ask David to marry him?
Probably. Vulgar Favors provides ample evidence that Andrew considered David Madson the love of his life, and told people he wanted to marry him; though Andrew lied non stop, he told a friend he wanted to give David a ring but David turned him down. They met in 1995 in San Francisco, when David, a rising architect, visited the city on business and Andrew sent him a drink in a restaurant. They had a spark and what might generously be called a relationship, albeit briefly. Mostly it amounted to Andrew wooing David with expensive gifts. Andrew was living with a rich man, Norman Blachford, for a good chunk of the time he was pursuing David.

2. Were David and Jeff secretly dating, as David hinted when he said, "He knows about us?"
No -- this is fiction. Jeff Trail and David Madson, according to an abstract of Orth's book in Vanity Fair, became casual acquaintances once Jeff moved to Minneapolis. And on the weekend of Andrew's fateful visit, Jeff made it clear that he wouldn't be around much -- not only because he was fed up with Andrew's shady ways but also because Jeff's boyfriend was celebrating his 21st birthday, and Jeff was taking him out of town. Jeff had a boyfriend and likely wasn't hooking up with David as the series insinuates. One thing is certain though: Andrew was consumed with jealousy, paranoia, obsessiveness and desperation, and he was certainly enraged that the two people he liked most -- the only people left in his life who hadn't cut him off -- were in the same city without him. Knowing Jeff and David were in Minneapolis and phasing him out of their lives pushed Andrew over the edge.

Cody Fern as David Madson, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Cody Fern as David Madson, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story


3. Did Andrew and David really go walk David's dog Prints after Andrew killed Jeff?Yes. When police found Jeff's body -- which they thought was David's, in part because they thought the crime was "a gay thing" -- there was no urine or feces in David's apartment, which means Prints had been taken out. Vulgar Favors reports that on the day David didn't show up for work, a tenant in David's building saw David and Andrew walking toward the building although she couldn't remember if Prints was with them; another tenant said she saw, out of her window, two men walking a dog along the river where David usually walked Prints and the dog was uncustomarily on a leash. By the way, Prints was a Dalmatian, not a terrier as shown.

4. Was that scene where David panics after his father shoots a bird while hunting real? Yes. David hated violence, Vulgar Favors said. "David did not like to see anything killed," his father Howard told Orth. "We shot this duck, and he cried so bad I finally hid the thing over by a tree...because David was just beside himself we killed this duck."

5. Did Andrew really stop with David at a lounge and bar after killing Jeff?
Possibly. Vulgar Favors reports that a woman named Jean Rosen, owner of the Full Moon Cafe about eight miles from the place where David was murdered, was convinced she saw the two come into her restaurant on Friday May 2 -- one day before two fishermen found David's body. "They had ordered two California cheeseburger baskets, drunk two bottles of Grain Belt beer, and left about forty-five minutes later," said Rosen. Her friend Michelle, who tended bar at J.J.'s Bowl and Lounge, a bowling alley a few miles away, had been there that day and could confirm it, the book says. Another book, Death at Every Stop -- The True Story of Serial Killer Andrew Cunanan confirms that account too, even adding that they sat across from each other at a picnic table, sometimes smiling and holding hands. But Orth's book, which is considered the bible on the story, casts doubt on Rosen's claim. Some things Rosen remembered didn't correspond with other evidence, like her recalling that Andrew had slicked-back hair, for example. Also, her account would've had David in her restaurant on April 27, Orth said, not Friday May 2 when experts say was David's official time of death.

6. Did David really wait until he won an award to come out to his father?
Possibly. David excelled in his chosen profession, Vulgar Favors said, though finding his professional groove took a minute. He worked at a law firm, despite not having done well on his exams, but felt lured by architecture. He won a slot to University of Minnesota's architecture school in 1990 and, by the time he graduated he'd won the President's Medal for having the most outstanding thesis for the class of 1995. But he struggled with his sexuality all through college -- especially since his family adhered to religious norms of their Lutheran faith. The way David's father Howard reacted, though, aligns with what's shown in the series so it's possible David wanted to soften the news although that's not mentioned in the book. "I disagree with that type of life," Howard Madson told Orth in Vulgar Favors. "However, that had nothing to do with what I thought of him or how I treated him. I'm not going to go there perfect, and neither are you...What's the difference whether you lie, cheat, steal, you're homosexual, you murder. If you believe that forgiveness is there, if it's on the cross and by the grace of God, you've got just as good a chance as anybody else. So I don't look at David as any different. Yet I do look at him as different because he was homosexual. But that didn't create any problem between David and me. My feelings for David were no different."

7. Did David really try to escape Andrew by punching out a window in the bathroom?
Probably not. There's no mention of that in Vulgar Favors -- a detail that would've likely been mentioned by anyone who'd seen the two because it would have been clear proof David attempted to flee Andrew.

EPISODE 3: "A Random Killing"
Episode 3, "A Random Killing," depicts the murder of Lee Miglin (Mike Farrell) a prominent Chicago real estate magnate who was murdered in his own garage after being wrapped in duct tape. That Andrew is the person who committed the murder isn't up for debate; law enforcement officials now consider that a fact based on the S&M nature of the crime and evidence linking him to the green Lexus Andrew stole. What remains contentious though, at least for the Miglin family, is how Andrew came to know -- and then kill -- Miglin at all. FX's series shows Andrew and Miglin having an affair that rewarded Andrew financially for his time with the wealthy and connected businessman. But the Miglin family, led by matriarch Marilyn (Judith Light) has never wavered in denying that Lee Miglin and Andrew knew ever each other -- that it was a crime of happenstance. What's the truth and what's fiction? Here's the truth behind 7 things from this episode.

Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story


1. Did Andrew Cunanan really did not know Lee Miglin, as his wife Marilyn maintains in the series?
Fiction -- if the reporting in Orth's book is to be believed. Orth interviewed some 400 hundred people for Vulgar Favors, and it strongly suggests that Andrew Cunanan knew Lee Miglin and/or his son Duke, an actor living in Los Angeles. It's important to note that book never explicitly makes this claim, the family has steadfastly denied knowing Andrew and no hard evidence exists. No official report was ever released. But in a separate story about the case Orth wrote for Vanity Fair, former FBI agent Gregg McCrary said it was "highly probable," they knew each other for reasons unknown to the public.

First, the Miglins lived in a leafy, relatively tucked away section of Chicago's Gold Coast area, which reduced the likelihood a burglar randomly picked the Miglin's home. No sign of forced entry appeared present, which led investigators to theorize that Andrew either held a gun to Miglin, or he was let in voluntarily. Also, most burglars flee a home after robbing it, whereas Andrew stayed overnight -- even taking a bath, as depicted in the series. Other clues suggest an intimate knowledge.

Andrew lied obsessively, so almost nothing he said could be taken at face value, but he did claim to have visited Chicago many times, and he told at least one person that one of his sugar daddies was a Chicago real-estate tycoon. An expert in Orth's book says wounds on Miglin's face indicate a "personal" impetus. A neighbor claimed to have seen the red Jeep Andrew had been driving near the Miglin's home -- once with two people in it, a fact Orth said was omitted from the unreleased report. Another person who lived close to the Miglins, Betsy Brazis, rented her place from the Miglins. She also told police she saw the red Jeep Andrew near her house a few times before Miglin was found. Vulgar Favors also quotes her as saying, "I saw other things that I never divulged to the police, because they did not ask me direct questions. I didn't respond out of respect for the Miglins."

Lastly, Orth quotes in her book a New York real-estate financier, Jack Shaffer, who worked with Miglin's firm, who claims to have seen Duke Miglin and Andrew together. In the anecdote, Shaffer and his partner said they saw the Miglins in the United Airlines' Red Carpet Lounge at a Los Angeles airport. According to their story, Duke arrived with a friend who left a lasting impression; when they saw Andrew's picture in the news when he became a suspect, they were certain it was him. They couldn't swear to it in court though.

Brazis, who led an AIDS support group in Chicago even before she became the Miglins' tenant, said in Orth's book his identity was well-known. "Lee's name would come up occasionally as a gay 'straight' man," she said.

The Miglins were high-powered and influential; they owned property on a ritzy stretch where upscale stores including Barneys and Versace were located. Marilyn served as an officer of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and served on Illinois's Economic Development Board. Nobody has explicitly said so, but FX's series magnifies what's suggested in the book: Marilyn used her power and influence to make the investigation go away.

2. Did Marilyn Miglin really come home and find no one in the house as she did in the series?
Fiction -- if you count the family dog. There's an interesting omission from the series: Honey, the Miglins' "aging" retriever. Orth reports that neighbors said the dog barked frequently at strangers, but didn't bark the time of Miglin's murder and was not harmed. Honey, Orth said, was later the target of Marilyn Miglin's fury for not barking as she did usually, and she sent the dog to live in the country for months.

3. Did Andrew leave ice cream sitting on the counter, and the ham with a knife in it sitting out?
Fact. Lee Miglin was notoriously fastidious, so the instant Marilyn saw the pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream with a spoon in it on the counter, she knew something was wrong. The Miglins' friend Stephen Byer found the ham with a knife in it on Lee's desk in the library. Not shown in the series: Marilyn had been upstairs and saw a gun, too.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Judith Light as Marilyn Miglin.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Judith Light as Marilyn Miglin

Matt Dinerstein/FX

4. Did Lee Miglin really have that creepy altar in his basement?
Fact. On his search of the home, Byer stumbled onto the altar with more than a hundred unlit candles. The Miglins were Catholics. Of course, there's no way to know if he was down there atoning for his same-sex attraction as shown in the series.

5. Was Lee Miglin wearing women's underwear when they found his body?
Fiction, probably. Vulgar Favors says Lee Miglin was found lying on his back fully clothed, wearing a tan suede jacket, white shirt, and jeans, with a shoe on and one off. Underneath, he was wearing "black Calvin Klein bikini underwear trimmed in white." There's no explicit mention of said underwear being women's -- a fact the hyper-detailed story would've likely pointed out. Orth said that the medical examiner did not consider the underwear as a sign of a double life. "Marilyn was high fashion--she probably bought it for him," he told her.

Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story


6. Did police almost catch Andrew because of the cell phone in Lee Miglin's Lexus?Fact. The FBI, Chicago police and Philadelphia police were aware the phone in Miglin's car was pinpointed in Philadelphia on May 8; the next day, The Chicago Tribune ran a story based on this information thanks to a leak in Chicago law enforcement. Police publicly confirmed the tip. That, Orth said, might've been the most serious blunder in the manhunt for Andrew. Once the story got out, Andrew heard it and tried to rip the phone's antenna out of the car. He never found the power box though and when he realized he couldn't completely disconnect it, he decided to ditch the car.

7. Did Andrew visit a Versace store in New York after killing Lee Miglin? Fiction. He might've, but there's no mention of that in Orth's book. He did, however, shop for jeans at a Levi's store on 57th Street near Fifth Avenue. And, in what could've been a deliberate taunting of law enforcement, he went to see Jim Carrey's Liar Liar, and Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own.

EPISODE 2: "Manhunt"
This episode mostly chronicles the time before Andrew murdered Gianni Versace. At this point in the tragedy, Andrew had already killed two people -- friends Jeff Trail and David Madson, in Madson's apartment in Minneapolis -- was the subject of manhunt by the FBI. Despite that though, Andrew brazenly hid in plain sight. This episode highlights one of the main themes of the series: the ineptitude of law enforcement as well as homophobia ingrained in the local FBI allowed Andrew to go uncaptured, providing him the opportunity to strike. Yet not everything in the episode is exactly as it happened. What's real and what's not? TV Guide breaks it down.

1. Was Gianni Versace really so sick with AIDS he could hardly walk?
According to Vulgar Favors, yes. This remains a matter of dispute for the Versace family; they've denied commenting on Gianni's health since he was killed. But Orth's book provides evidence that Gianni had been ill. She recently told The Hollywood Reporter, "I was told on the record by the lead detective on Miami Beach that he had heard from the medical examiner who did the blood work that he was [HIV-positive]. And it also goes along with other people who told me that he was very weak at one time and he needed Antonio [D'Amico, his boyfriend] to help him walk, and they came over to his house when he was having breakfast and he had 27 bottles of pills in front of him." That's part of what made Versace's murder so difficult to swallow: he'd just begun to get better when Andrew Cunanan gunned him down on the front steps of his own home.

2. Did Gianni and his partner, Antonio D'Amico really want to get married and have a family, as Donatella says?
No. He told People, "Neither Gianni nor I were looking to get married or to have children," he says. "All we wanted was to live our relationship in the open -- as we did. We were more than happy to have the nieces and nephews that we had and were not seeking children of our own."

Ricky Martin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace

Ricky Martin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace


3. Did Andrew really hear that he was wanted on the radio?Yes. Andrew was keenly aware that the FBI was looking for him, which made his refusal to hide all the more jarring.

4. Did Gianni Versace really propose to Andrew as he tells Ronnie (Max Greenfield)? Ha! Yeah right. No.

EPISODE 1: "The Man Who Would Be Vogue"
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storyunspools in reverse, first showing how Andrew Cunanan shot the legendary designer on the steps of his Miami home while the remaining episodes show what led up to the crime. Ryan Murphy's debut episode for this iteration of the American Crime Story series recounts in meticulous detail how Andrew, who'd been hiding in plain sight in Miami, left a shockingly easy trail for law enforcement to find him after murdering four other people before landing in Florida in a stolen truck. This episode also plants the seeds of the in-depth examination of Andrew's dark side to come -- illustrating how his compulsive lying intensified over the years and factored into his devolution into a deranged madman. What's true and what's fiction? TV Guide breaks it down.

1. Was Andrew really the live-in houseguest of a married couple?
For a time, yes. Liz Coté (played by Annaleigh Ashford) whom Andrew knew when living in Berkeley as he drifted post-high school, was the daughter of a rich couple from Rancho Santa Fe. Andrew moved in with her and her soon-to-be husband Philip Merrill, who actually liked the idea of "Lizzie" having someone to keep her busy. Andrew never admitted to Lizzie and Philip that he was gay and lived with them for some time -- all expenses paid -- even after the couple had their second child.

2. Did Andrew really meet Gianni Versace in San Francisco?
This is believed to be true. A witness told Maureen Orth that on the evening they met, Gianni Versace pointed at the man who'd one day kill him and said, "I know you. Lago di Como, no?" to which Andrew replied, "Thank you for remembering, Signor Versace." He likely confused Andrew for someone else.

3. Did Versace really invite Andrew to the opera, Capriccio, that he did the costumes for? Probably not. And though he's shown drinking champagne, the real Gianni Versace did not drink.

4. Did Andrew actually use his real name when pawning that gold coin at a pawn shop?
Yes, and that's an example of the mind-boggling ways law enforcement dropped the ball that Ryan Murphy wanted to showcase in the series. Shop records weren't yet computerized but still, even with indications that Andrew might take shelter in Miami (in part because of its thriving gay scene) the FBI didn't do due diligence. If agents had blanketed the area with flyers about a killer targeting gay men on the loose as other localities had, Andrew's face would've been inescapable. Even with a gay detective, Lori Weider (played by Dascha Polanco), on the case urging her colleagues to get the word out in the gay community, the FBI failed to capture Andrew.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.