Celebrities

Six Miami Places You'll See in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

When FX's American Crime Story premieres tonight, Miamians will be familiar with much of the landscape. Season 2 of the hit series explores the assassination of Gianni Versace, who was gunned down on the front steps of his Ocean Drive mansion in 1997. The death of the iconic Italian fashion designer stunned South Beach and sent police scrambling to find the murderer.

The narrative of the nine-episode season follows the search for suspect Andrew Cunanan, a 27-year-old serial killer who became obsessed with attaining celebrity status. Despite his short stay in South Florida, he changed the face of Miami Beach forever. Here are six South Beach spots you'll see in upcoming episodes:
1. Versace's mansion. Because Florida legislators did away with film incentives in 2016, much of this season's ACS was filmed in California. But there's no way set designers could do justice to Versace's Ocean Drive mansion with a replica, which is why exterior scenes were shot in South Beach. Versace fell in love with the jaw-dropping estate, also known as Villa Casa Casuarina, on a visit to Miami Beach in 1992 and purchased the property soon after. The luxurious home now operates as a hotel and restaurant.
2. News Café. Every morning, Versace strolled to News Café to grab a newspaper or magazine to read on the beach. Although regulars began to recognize him, staff from the time say he preferred to maintain a low profile. On July 15, 1997, the Italian designer was returning home from the restaurant when he was shot dead in front of his mansion.
3. The Miami Beach Police Department. Miami Beach Police suspected serial killer Andrew Cunanan almost immediately. They'd first heard of him a week before Versace's murder when a federal agent called about rumors that Cunanan, who had already killed four people, was involved in a secret gay organization in South Florida. After Versace was shot in South Beach, police warned the public that Cunanan was armed and dangerous.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jessica Lipscomb is news editor of Miami New Times and an enthusiastic Florida Woman. Born and raised in Orlando, she has been a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.
Contact: Jessica Lipscomb