LOS ANGELES — Gianni Versace is the murder victim in the next edition of FX’s American Crime Story, but the story will extend beyond the famed fashion designer.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, the next chapter in the Emmy-winning anthology series that opened with  O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, examines the lives of Versace (Edgar Ramirez) and his killer, Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), who shot and killed Versace outside his palatial home in Miami Beach in 1997. It premieres in January.

Cunanan, who had killed four other men across the country before shooting Versace, later killed himself.  

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Penelope Cruz plays Versace’s sister, Donatella, and singing star Ricky Martin plays Antonio D’Amico, the Italian designer’s partner.

The series opens with a nearly wordless, operatic eight-minute sequence detailing the moments leading to the murder of the fashion designer, who was open about being gay at a time when many prominent gay people weren’t. The scene, shown Wednesday to the Television Critics Association, , features lush cinematography and orchestral music and was shot partly in Versace’s beautifully appointed home.

The new season, which uses Maureen Orth’s book, Vulgar Favors, as its source material, will look backward from the murder to examine the men’s lives. It also will will go beyond the crime itself to examine prevailing social attitudes, including homophobia, executive producer Ryan Murphy said. 

“Versace really did not have to die,” he said. “One of the reasons Andrew Cunanan was able to make his way across the country and pick off these victims, many of whom were gay, was because of homophobia at the time, particularly within the various police organizations that refused in Miami to put up wanted posters, even though they knew Cunanan was probably headed that way.”

Murphy says the season, which features an episode focusing on the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” military policy, remains relevant today, “particularly with the president we have and the world we live…