Clear Your Calendars, Because the Season 2 Premiere Date For American Crime Story Is Here

Image Source: Getty / Michel Arnaud, Dimitrios Kambouris

Season two of American Crime Story, titled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, finally has a premiere date. The new episodes, which will focus on the tragic murder of the iconic fashion designer, were originally slated for season three, preceded by a season focusing on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina starring Dennis Quaid and Annette Bening. Due to production schedules, the two were soon swapped, and many expected season two not to arrive on FX until 2019. Fortunately, for American Crime Story fans, the premiere date is much sooner than we thought: Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, at 10 p.m. ET.

The story centers on Versace’s 1997 murder, and will feature a number of people from his personal life, including sister Donatella Versace. After returning from a morning walk, the 50-year-old was shot twice on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan and died from his wounds. Cunanan wasn’t caught by police but killed himself nine days later (with the same gun, no less) while on a houseboat in Miami. Edgar Ramirez is on board to play Gianni, while Penélope Cruz will appear as Donatella, Glee‘s Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, and Ricky Martin as Gianni’s partner, Antonio D’Amico. Watch the first teaser for season two ahead.


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Everything We Know About American Crime Story Season 2, Including the Release Date

Image Source: Getty / Stringer

Season one of American Crime Story swept the Emmys, and creator Ryan Murphy’s brilliant idea for season two, titled American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, will likely be just as affecting. It was originally slated to be season three, preceded by a season focusing on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina starring Dennis Quaid and Annette Bening, but due to production schedules, the two have been swapped. Season two will be here before you know it, so let’s take a look at all the information released about the show so far.

The Story

Tom Rob Smith wrote the script for the show, which centers on the 1997 murder of Donatella Versace’s brother, designer Gianni Versace (pictured above). After returning from a morning walk, the 50-year-old was shot twice on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan and died from his wounds. Cunanan wasn’t caught by police but killed himself nine days later (with the same gun, no less) while on a houseboat in Miami.

The Cast

Image Source: Getty / Stuart C. Wilson
Originally, American Horror Story alum Lady Gaga was in talks to play Donatella, but the role eventually went to Penélope Cruz (who definitely looks the part). She’s joined by Glee actor Darren Criss (as Andrew Cunanan), Edgar Ramirez (as Gianni), and Ricky Martin (as Gianni’s partner, Antonio D’Amico). Most recently, Finn Wittrock joined the cast as Jeff Trail, the former friend and first victim of Andrew Cunanan.

The First Photo

In June, Entertainment Weekly unveiled their new cover story, which offered a first peek inside the new season. In addition to the stunning cover shot, there are a handful of additional images on the inside. Creator Ryan Murphy also revealed his inspiration behind the project: «The more I had read about [Versace’s murder], the more I was startled by the fact that Cunanan really was only allowed to get away with it because of homophobia. There was this great apathy about it, and I think part of that was because it seemed like gay people were disposable in our culture.»

The Teaser

The Premiere Date

During a commercial break for American Horror Story: Cult, it was revealed that American Crime Story‘s second season will premiere on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.

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Why Reporting a Sex Crime Is Often As Difficult as Enduring a Sex Crime

It happened to me a few times in my 20s, and I was never really shy about telling my friends. It’s amazing how easy it is to speak out when you turn it all into a joke. And it’s a lot different for a guy my size — they’re uncomfortable encounters, but I’d let them go only so far because I knew I could have beat the shit out of someone if necessary. I was very «gay friendly» and sometimes dudes confused that with gay, and you’d end up in some unpleasant situations. With a woman, you know the signs. You can put the kibosh on it, but with a dude, you don’t want to jump to conclusions, and you don’t want anyone thinking you’re homophobic. So, sometimes «no, dude!» was mistaken for «You’re gay and you just don’t know it yet, so I’m going to remove your pants and then you’ll see!»

Whaddya gonna do?

I was a little more powerless when it happened in my teens with a teacher, but even that became a joke, which was fine. Because it was easier. «Sprockets» on Saturday Night Live was popular then, so when the teacher would leave the class, there was a kid who would stand up and say in a bad German accent, ‘Hello. My name is Mishus ——, and this is my shlover, Dushty.» The teacher’s affection for me was not a secret; anyone could have seen that from the way she approached me at my locker every day. I got teased a lot. Sprockets dude, of course, didn’t know how much Mrs. —— pressured me outside of class every day to actually make me her «shlover.» I was an easy target. I got beat up a lot, so I think this teacher thought she could parlay that into something. I don’t know. I dunno what goes on in people’s minds. Besides a lot of uncomfortable flirting and a few unsettling groping episodes, I managed to avoid the worst of it. God knows what happened to the kid in my situation the years before. Or the years after.

But, you know: It’s different than what most women encounter. I could extricate myself. I always had that option. An older guy once invited me over for to his house for a steak dinner. I was dumb and naive. I was also poor and I’d never had steak before, so I said yes. Steak! When I got there, he turned on a soft-core porn movie, sat down next to me, and starting rubbing my goddamn thigh like a madman, and I got the hell out of there, because I could. I could push that motherfucker out of the way and beat a path home. I had to walk a lot of miles to get there, but I was otherwise unscathed, save for a story about a creepy old guy that I couldn’t wait to tell my friends. He still came into the store and harassed me a lot, but I got pretty skilled at hiding. I never did get that fucking steak, either.

Whaddya gonna do?

Anyway, I try to stay out of these conversations, because it’s not my lane. There are a lot of amazing women here, with a lot of stories they can (and have) told. It’s different with me and other dudes, though; it just is, and it has a lot to do with power. Physically, I had as much or more of it than most of my «assailants,» so to speak.

But then there was this piece today in Marie Claire, about how we must end the statute of limitations on sex crimes, and I read it and I was like, «Shit! That’s my lane!» And I’ll tell you why. It’s because there were all those other times when I was powerless.

Look: I don’t know what the per capita rate on lecherous, sleazy, rape-y men is in Hollywood, but I am guessing it’s roughly the equivalent to the number of child molesters there are in the shit-poor South. There’s one on every corner, and within a certain socioeconomic bracket, encounters with them are the price of doing the business of growing up. It is what it is. It’ll either fuck you up, or it won’t. Among those I grew up with, I guess it’s about 50/50.

In the dirty South, there’s a lot of dirty old men, and being poor comes with its own set of concerns specific to this. But where it concerns speaking out, there’s a lot of similarities with what so many women are experiencing now, specifically where it concerns the statute of limitations.

Goddamn that statute of limitations.

You see, sometimes it takes years to work up the nerve to say something for so many reasons, not least of which is because you don’t think anyone will believe you. And by the time you do work up the courage, it’s too fucking late. But you don’t know it’s too late until you go through one of the most humiliating, awful experiences of your life.

Folks, let me tell you something that a lot of you already know: Sometimes reporting the crime is more harrowing than enduring the crime.

I ratted out one of the men. In fact, several of us did. The weight of carrying that secret around caused one of us to have a nervous breakdown in the middle of the goddamn day. In that nervous breakdown, there was a confession, one he didn’t even have to finish. We saw it in his eyes, because we all knew the story intimately.

We told my Dad. That was hard, because you don’t blame your Dad, but your Dad is going to feel responsible anyway, because he’s your Dad and it’s his job to protect you but he can’t protect you from everything. He’s gonna feel the weight of that forever, though, and you hate to do that to a person, you know? That poor bastard. Honest to God, I was glad I was me, and not my Dad in that situation, and I feel that even stronger now that I have kids of my own. God, what a nightmare it must have been for him. Anyway, my Dad confronted the man’s wife; she begged him not to call the cops. «He’ll go to jail!» she said. Well, that’s the point, isn’t it, you dumb piece of shit.

My Dad called the cops the next morning.

You know what happens when you call the cops? You have to tell your story. Again. And that sucks, because now it’s a stranger who doesn’t know you, and who has no reason to believe you, and the whole time you feel like you’re trying to convince this disbelieving person of something. It’s even worse when he refers you to an assistant D.A., and you have to tell your story again. Every little detail. You gotta say words to strangers that you don’t like to say to strangers. You gotta talk about «parts» because they won’t let you get away with vagaries. It’s a goddamn interrogation, and there’s a lot of raised eyebrows, uh huhs, skeptical looks, and «then what happeneds.» All in, it was hours of confessions.

And you know what that motherfucker said afterwards? After he’d put us through the wringer? After he’d elicited every goddamn detail? After he made us talk about parts? You know what that asshole said? He sat back in his goddamn chair, sighed real big-like, and he said in his thick fucking drawl, «Son, have you ever heard of a statute of limitations?»

He may as well have said, «Son, go fuck yourself,» because that’s what it felt like. I don’t know what it is now, but then, the statute of limitations was only three years. Most of us had just missed it; one of us was within the statute. He refused to confess. He just couldn’t do it. We didn’t blame him. Not one bit.

But what it meant was, we had to go back home. We had to see this guy, this guy who knew we’d ratted on him, but also knew that there was fucking nothing we could do. That sniveling shit. And that’s what all these women who came out against Cosby have to deal with now. It’s what most of the women Harvey Weinstein assaulted have to deal with. It’s what thousands of women have to deal with every day. You can tell your story, and that’s hard and it sucks because you worry about the way people are gonna look at you. Like, they’re gonna say, «She’s so brave!» But they’re gonna think, «She’s so damaged!» That’s probably what half of you are thinking of me right now (and fuck that half of you). Nobody wants to be thought of that way, and it sucks even more that it means nothing, at least in the criminal context.

I mean, with a guy like Harvey, at least you can ruin his life, and there’s probably some satisfaction in that, but not as much satisfaction as seeing that motherfucker buried under a prison where he belongs. Most men aren’t like Harvey, though. Most men are just dudes you know, or dude that you just met, and if you rat them out, maybe they’ll lose their job or something. But then they’ll just get another one. Because without a conviction, there’s nothing to put on their goddamn records, nothing to be discovered in background checks.

And that’s the problem, as Marie Clarie points out, with those goddamn statutes of limitation. They’re not realistic time frames. They don’t take into account how long it takes to build up the nerve to rat someone out. Sometimes, you need a lot of separation from the event to build up enough courage. Sometimes, you only gain that courage when someone else says something, or when you find out it wasn’t just you. It was her and her and her and him and her and him. And when you finally do build up that courage, the worst three words in the goddamn human language are «statute of limitations.»

Anyway, something needs to be done about that. Because speaking out is important, but women need to be given the legal tools to turn that brave act into consequences. You want to empower people to speak out by handing them a weapon called the motherfucking penal code. We are a country of laws, but you gotta let us use them, otherwise what the fuck use are they?

Also, believe women, because you shouldn’t need a middle-aged white dude to tell you how fucking hard it is to share their stories.

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Ricky Martin Reveals He Spoke to Gianni Versace’s Partner After Filming American Crime Story

Ricky Martin is going back to the small screen as Antonio D’Amico, Gianni Versace’s longtime boyfriend, in Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, and while filming the new show, he spoke to D’Amico about his role, even asking for a favor. «I had the opportunity to speak to D’Amico a few months ago, and I said, ‘Antonio, listen, maybe you’ve seen a couple of paparazzi shots of the actual scenes that we’re shooting, but please don’t judge the quality of it just by one picture because it could easily be taken out of context. You have to see what we’re doing, and you’re going to be so pleased with everything,'» he told Ocean Drive magazine about the conversation the two had.

Before Martin spoke to D’Amico, the 58-year-old shared his unhappiness with the show with The Observer after seeing images of Martin and Édgar Ramírez, who plays Versace, filming the assassination of the famous designer. «The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous. Maybe it’s the director’s poetic license, but that is not how I reacted. I felt as if my blood had turned to ice,» he said after revealing he was not consulted for the series. «I saw Gianni lying on the steps with blood around him. At that point, everything went dark. I was pulled away, I didn’t see any more.»

Not many details about the show have been revealed, but according to Martin, it’s a series no one can miss. «We’re treating this story with a lot of respect and really serious about it. I’m so happy with the results. It’s very dramatic and powerful, but you will also see a lot of love. The love between Antonio and Gianni was a very beautiful one.»

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Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders: The 80s Were A Hell Of a Drug

I didn’t follow the Menendez Brothers case much when I was a kid because I was a kid, and I’m intentionally avoiding Wikipedia et. al, because I would rather experience the case play out on NBC’s Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders. I mean, I know they killed their parents. I also know that they were convicted. But beyond that, I have only the vaguest recollections.

It’s insane, however, to consider that Lyle and Erik Menendez are 49 and 46 years old, respectively. Also, they are both married — in fact, Lyle is on his second wife. They are in prison for life without the possibility of parole, so I’m not sure how that works, but sure: Murderers deserve love, too.

In any case, I’m tuning into the show because I am a sucker for both Law & Order and salacious criminal cases, and so far, it’s decent. I have to say, however, that my favorite character on the show has been the 80s. It’s not just Edie Falco, either, although it’s definitely Edie Falco, as well.

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Look at that hair! But also, look at Sam Jaeger’s ‘stache. It’s been transformative for the once best character on Parenthood until the show completely assassinated that character and turned him into an ass.

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Anthony Edwards? Well, he’s Anthony Edwards. He looks the same no matter the decade.

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I didn’t realize, however, that Josh Charles was in this, and now I want to write poetry about his hairstyle.

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Who knew that charming, boyish Josh Charles could look like a pedophile with a bad haircut and big glasses?

The best part? Josh Charles plays the therapist to Erik Menendez. I don’t know how he factors into the case yet, but he’s played by Josh Charles, so clearly he matters. In the first episode, we find out he’s having an affair with a woman who calls him «Doctor Daddy» in a really gross way. I did not recognize his mistress, however, until the second time through, and then I had to look it up to confirm.

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I’m not going to say who that is. Some of you may already know. Someone surely will post in the comments. But for those who don’t immediately recognize her, I’m just gonna leave you hanging, like she is going to leave Doctor Daddy hanging until he leaves his wife.

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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Get to Know the Man Ricky Martin Is Playing in American Crime Story

When news broke the upcoming season of American Crime Story was going to be about the murder of famous designer Gianni Versace, we couldn’t wait to see who was going to be part of it and play all the fashionable characters who played a role in the story. Édgar Ramírez is playing Gianni Versace, Penélope Cruz signed on to be Donatella Versace, Darren Criss is Andrew Cunanan, and Ricky Martin is starring as Antonio D’Amico, Versace’s partner.

The 45-year-old Puerto Rican singer is playing Versace’s longtime lover. The two met in 1982 and were in a relationship for more than a decade and until Versace’s murder in 1997. D’Amico was actually the one who found Gianni’s body after he was shot by Cunanan. In the Italian designer’s will, he left Antonio a $ 31,000 monthly pension for life, plus the right to any of the Versace homes in Italy and the United States. Unfortunately for D’Amico, the homes Versace left him actually belonged to the fashion company, so they were immediately given to Donatella; his brother, Santo; and his niece, Allegra. D’Amico was able to come to an agreement with the family and received a portion of his pension and restricted rights to the houses.

«It’s a story that needs to be told,» Martin told Entertainment Weekly. «We’re going to go mainstream with a story that talks about homophobia, that talks about hate, that talks about indifference. I feel humbled. It’s so raw and honest and so dramatic and sad. But at the same time, you show the love of Versace and D’Amico and 15 years of struggling, fighting. It’s something that I really wanted to be loud about.»

Pictured: Antonio D’Amico and Santo Versace.

We will probably get to see the strained dynamic between Gianni’s partner and Gianni’s sister. «My relationship with Antonio is exactly as it was when Gianni was alive. I respected him as the boyfriend of my brother, but I never liked him as a person. So the relationship stayed the same,» Donatella told The New York Times in 1999.

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Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys Have Been Partners in Crime For More Than 3 Years Now

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys have been together for a few years now, but unlike some celebrity couples who seem to rush down the aisle, these two seem perfectly happy either way. After meeting on the set of their hit show The Americans, the pair sparked up a romance in 2013 after Keri split from husband Shane Deary. Since then, they’ve solidified themselves as somewhat of an It New York couple, popping up at events around town and taking family strolls in their borough of Brooklyn. Keri, who shares daughter Willa and son River with Shane, added to her brood when she and Matthew welcomed their first child together, son Sam, in May 2016. While we would love to see Keri as a stunning bride, the genuine love between these two just makes us so happy.

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“American Crime Story: Katrina” Is Currently In Limbo

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The next season of FX’s American Crime Story was supposed to have been about 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. But it looks like speedos and serial murder trump terrifying natural disaster and the destruction of almost an entire city. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, one of the directors of ACS’ first season (The People Vs. O.J. Simpson) says that the show might not happen at all.

Producer/director Anthony Hemingway says that the American Crime Story team is “waiting to find out what’s happening” from ACS creator and gay television mafia head Ryan Murphy.

“That just kind of got stalled. We’re all standing by waiting to find out what’s happening.”

Originally, Gianni Versace/Andrew Cunanan (American Crime Story: Versace) were supposed to have been the anthology’s third season. It got bumped up in June, although FX said at the time that both seasons would air in 2018. But it looks Ryan might have put Katrina aside. Anthony, who directed five episodes of O.J., noted that “nothing has really been done” in regards to the show, and that they “haven’t started prep on it at all.

ACS: Katrina is supposed to star Annette Benning as former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Dennis Quaid as Dubya, and Matthew Broderick as Federal Emergency Management Agency director (and Katrina villain) Michael D. Brown. Fun fact – Annette was the only worthwhile part of the Murphy-directed film version of Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors in 2006. They can’t all be winners (hence The New Normal and Scream Queens).

Honestly, you can’t blame Ryan. Like I mentioned in the first paragraph – speedos. Speedos are wonderful if you’re able to ignore the killing spree and the miscasting of Donatella Versace. (They should have just charbroiled Janice from the Muppets.)

“I just think that was [what was] at play. It was the bird in hand syndrome. [Versace] needed a lot of attention, so I think he just made the decision to do that. Instead of do what was intended, which was doing them parallel at the same time, he chose to do them one at a time.”

THR says “sources” claim that Ryan wasn’t ready for how much work Katrina would be. 1,800 people died and a city partially sunk. It makes sense that depicting it would be a little intimidating. It’s probably going to take a lot more than Sarah Paulson in a fright wig to pull that awfulness off in a realistic manner without offending everyone.

Pic: WENN

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There’s Been a Murder: Reading Scottish Crime Novels as an Actual Scottish Person

After talking a lot about the ways in which Scotland, its people and its dizzying array of national stereotypes are utilised to swoonworthy effect in the romance genre, I began to think about how this strange nation of mine is portrayed in other literary genres. There’s a long history of Scotland in fiction, written by Scots and non-Scots alike, delving into a multitude of themes, styles and intents. Anyone who’s browsed the Scottish fiction section of a bookshop or spent time studying here will know the classics — Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott, Alasdair Gray, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Jackie Kay if you had a really cool teacher — but every visit I make to my local Waterstones leads me to one section where national pride is at its most visible: Crime.

Scots love crime fiction. Can you blame us? After all, Arthur Conan Doyle was one of our lot, an Edinburgh boy who went to the city’s medical school but found greater satisfaction with the mysteries of the fictional realm (you can find the Conan Doyle statue just across the road from the Edinburgh Playhouse and adjacent gay district. There’s also a fabulous pub called the Conan Doyle I’ve been told does a top notch breakfast). We’re an absolute sucker as a nation for crime novels set in the country too, populated by familiar folks and dour detectives with secrets too shocking to reveal. If Scottish romance novels are for everyone else, Scottish crime is for the Scots.

That’s not to say it’s lacking in popularity outside of our borders. Mainstays of the genre like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Stuart MacBride have become household names to genre fans across the globe, and Rankin in particular remains an icon to the city of Edinburgh alongside literary masters like Muriel Spark and Irvine Welsh (at least 10% of the reason I chose to attend university in the nation’s capital was due to my adolescent obsession with Rankin’s work). Yet there’s something inimitably local about these works, which Rankin has categorised as «tartan noir». They seldom show Scotland at its best and brightest, but that’s probably why we like them so much.

The origins of the genre lie in some of the most beloved fiction of the country. Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde may be set in London but its theming and inspirations are decidedly local. Originally, Stevenson, born and raised in the city, had intended to write a play about Deacon William Brodie, a city councillor and respected tradesman who lived a secret double life as a burglar. Make your way up the Royal Mile and Brodie’s mark on the city is clear, from the pub that bears his name to the lovely cafe located in the eponymous close. He was eventually caught and hanged on the Old Tolbooth, and it’s easy to see how a man like Stevenson, raised in a strict Presbyterian household, would find such fascination of the concept of duelling personalities and the perpetual fight of good versus bad.

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But before Jekyll and Hyde, there was Robert Colwan, the unfortunate protagonist of James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Colwan, the son of a fervent Calvinist, is so convinced that he is one of the Lord’s chosen people, predestined to enter Heaven from birth, that he chooses to lead a life of deviance and debauchery, as influenced by an enigmatic stranger named Gil-Martin, who may or may not be the devil. The first half of the novel is narrated by an editor, recounting what he believes to be the facts of the tale; the second is Robert’s own account, which, as you can imagine, doesn’t end well. This was a major influence for Stevenson and casts a major shadow over Scottish fiction. From the earliest point, Scottish fiction revelled in the conflicts of national pride: How does a country with a love of booze, partying and inspiring shenanigans cope with the Calvinist guilt and fear of eternal damnation?

The work we would now come to recognise under the tartan noir banner was pioneered in its modern form by William McIlvanney and his 1977 novel Laidlaw. The tale of the sardonic Glaswegian police chief investigating the murder of a teenager was considered a departure for the author, but it’s hard to imagine Scottish crime fiction without this as its foundations. The noir-tinted kitchen-sink drama is unflinching in its brutality and moodiness, and it doesn’t apologise for its Scottishness. Even today, there’s a freshness to the prose that defies its age. Alan Massie put it best: «Hemingway used to say that all American literature came out of Huckleberry Finn; all Scottish crime writing — ‘tartan noir’ — comes out of Laidlaw

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We love a moody bastard in Scotland, but we also love them to have a heart. Inspector Rebus is more compassionate than he lets on; Lindsay Gordon is arrogant and cynical to a fault but fiercely loyal when called to task; DS Logan McRae’s sense of humour borders on upsetting but his sense of justice is firm. Heroes don’t do much for Scots; give us an anti-hero.

This new face of Scottish fiction came at a time when homegrown talents were making their name in film and TV with urban dramas that shunned Hollywood mandated stereotypes. Peter McDougall, one of Scotland’s greats, made his name in the 70s on BBC Scotland with TV dramas that tackled Sectarianism, like Just Another Saturday and Just Your Luck. Topics like the Orange Parade marches and the Protestant-Catholic divide in Glasgow remain contentious to this day; tackling them in 1975 was nervy beyond belief. McDougall’s 1981 work, A Sense of Freedom, tackled one of Glasgow’s most infamous criminals, Jimmy Boyle. Even by today’s standards, it’s brutal viewing and refuses to look away from how violence takes effect. You can’t talk Scottish crime and TV without getting into Taggart, the long-running series that basically every Scottish actor appeared in at least once (except for David Tennant, and he’s really annoyed about that).

If romance novels are the fantasy, crime is the reality, and for a lot of Scots, it ain’t pretty. Our crime fiction is heavy on social commentary, noting massive discrepancies between rich and poor in our biggest cities and the perpetual cycle of poverty that traps many in lives of illegal activity. Low-quality housing, unemployment, lack of government investment, gang culture, bad weather, and lower life-expectancy; Trainspotting contains the infamous line, «It’s shite being Scottish», but it’s the crime fiction that delves into the why of it all.

Of course, if grit isn’t your thing, Scotland’s got plenty of rolling hills and cosy murder to make your evening complete. M.C. Beaton’s long-running Hamish Macbeth series brings a lighter touch to the genre, with its postcard perfect Northern Scotland setting and town of quaint but devious suspects. Imagine Agatha Christie with a gentle humour (this makes the TV series made from the books all the funnier for Scots when you remember the other role Robert Carlyle is best known for playing). Alexander McCall Smith, a highly prolific author and generally super nice guy, has the Isabel Dalhousie series, his contribution to the Edinburgh crime world. Isabel’s Edinburgh is the one of delightful frivolities, even with the occasional murder. It’s the version of the city where you’d be happy to bring your tourist friends to the crime scene. Pure fantasy, but it goes down so easily.

While our crime fiction isn’t as explicitly catered to a non-Scottish audience as something like romance, it’s not free from the inevitabilities of patriotic branding. Many critics have argued against the label of «tartan noir», finding it both inaccurate and condescending: How do you encapsulate the array of layers the category has with such a twee label? Slapping a tartan sheen over the front page arouses suspicion in many Scots, who are all too used to seeing the markers of our culture decorated like a shortbread tin. Scottish crime fiction is defined by its full-throated depictions of the worst the country has to offer, so there’s something kind of hilarious about it being packaged as adorable to unsuspecting readers simply because they see Scotland as the sacred homeland of kilted lairds and haggis throwing.

I can’t say that I enjoy crime fiction more or less than romance because I’m an omnivorous reader who seldom discriminates. It is easier on the cringe-reflex to visit Scotland through crime, simply because it tends to be Scottish writers creating those worlds and they’ll forever feel more familiar to me than the heather-tinted alternative. Some work can delve a tad too giddily into unnecessary misery for my tastes, but the best crime reminds the reader that Scots are funny as fuck, and the true geniuses of the creative swear. If you want a good place to start off, go with Knots and Crosses, the first Rebus novel, Stuart MacBride’s Aberdeen set Cold Granite, or The Distant Echo by Val McDermid. The marketing may play a quainter tune, but the books are for us, and we’re not likely to forget that any time soon.

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Open Post: Hosted By The Cast Of “American Crime Story’s” Versace Season 

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If you’ve been following the making of Ryan Murphy’s latest bewigged dramatic extravaganza, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, then you’ve probably already seen Darren Criss (Andrew Cunan), Edgar Ramirez (Gianni Versace), Penelope Cruz (Donatella Versace) and Ricky Martin (Gianni’s partner Antonio D’Amico) in character. But Entertainment Weekly got the first official picture of all of them together. That cover is a tacky, opulent 90s fever dream of Day-Glo messiness, and yes I’m going to force my family to recreate it for our 2017 Christmas card, and we don’t even do family Christmas cards! And yes, hair will be pulled and faces will be scratched as we fight over who gets to be the “Donatella.”

ACS’ Versace season, which doesn’t start airing on FX until early next year, is based on the book Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth. I read Vulgar Favors and Maureen barely writes about Donatella, so I’m not totally sure why she’s a huge character in ACS, but I’m not going to complain. I really want to start off 2018 but taking in the sight and sounds of Penelope Cruz throwing a glass of champagne at a minion while cursing at them in Italian with a Spanish accent. I still don’t even care that the popped pimple on my right nip looks more like Donatella than Penelope does. She looks more like a pissed off and miniaturized Holly Madison.

And well, even if the second season of ACS turns out to be a mess, at least there will be a scene where a Versayce speedo-wearing Ricky Martin rubs his nipples all over Edgar Ramirez. I hope there is. Ryan Murphy, don’t let me (or my loins) down!

Pics: Alexei Hay/Entertainment Weekly

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