American Crime Story: Versace Recap: “A Random Killing” Leads To Heartbreaking Devastation

Credit: FX

After last week’s chilling episode where more of Andrew Cunanan’s state of mind was revealed, including his affinity to duct tape and Phil Collins, one would think that would be it for the creep factor. As it turns out, Cunanan’s depravity is limitless.

This week’s episode took us back to May 1997 and introduced us to one of the men that Cunanan had murdered prior to Gianni Versace, Lee Miglin. For many, Miglin’s murder seemed like a random choice but as we learned during this episode, there was so such more to it.

The setting moves the series to Chicago, with top notch guest performances by Judith Light and Mike Farrell as Marilyn and Lee Miglin. She’s a cosmetics maven with a home-shopping TV high profile and a “perfect husband” in Lee, a well-connected real-estate tycoon who’s also a closeted gay of a certain age, making him vulnerable to the narcissistic and murderous predations of Cunanan.

Though this episode may be a Versace-less one, it packs quite the punch and fills us with dread as it makes the fate that befalls Versace even more harrowing.

Gather ’round and let’s discuss “A Random Killing”.

A Wife Always Knows: The episode begins with Marilyn coming home from a trip, expecting Lee to be there to pick her up, but he isn’t. So instead she takes a cab, and returns home to eerie silence and the unmistakable sense that something isn’t right. Marilyn gets the neighbors and calls the police, who tell her what she already knew: Lee is dead.

The Perfect Sham: We are then taken back to a week earlier when Lee and Marilyn were at a fundraiser for Illinois governor Jim Edgar. Marilyn introduces her husband as the guest of honor, and we are given a glimpse of their married life and relationship. He and Marilyn were a partnership, working together to grow their individual careers. They appeared to be the perfect couple until they got home, and the truth comes to light as this isn’t a marriage of convenience, but it’s not one of passion either. Marilyn then leaves for work, which gives Lee the opportunity to invite Andrew over, who just arrived unexpectedly in Chicago.

A Moment of Joy Becomes A Moment of Horror: The second Andrew arrives, it is immediately revealed that the two men had a semi-regular thing going on, though Andrew’s latest visit came as a welcome surprise to Lee. Lee starts their visit off by making Andrew a sandwich and showing off architectural plans for a magnum opus, a skyscraper that would be the Tallest Building in the World. “You’re trying to impress me,” says Andrew as he points out how Lee is pretending “that there’s a genuine attraction between us.” “You can pretend too,” says Lee before Andrew kisses him deeply. “You’ve never been kissed like that, have you?” he teases. “How did it feel?” Lee, exultant: “Feels like I’m alive.”

That moment of exultation doesn’t last long though as Andrew takes Lee into the garage. The beginning of the end for Lee begins with a consensual BDSM encounter until it becomes terrifyingly obvious that Andrew has something god awful in mind. Once Lee is fully bound, with duct tape around his face and cords around his ankles, Andrew punches him hard enough in the face to break his nose (!!!) and reveals to a devastated Lee that he’s killed two men already, and that not only does he plan on killing him but also leaving his body in women’s underwear, surrounded by gay porn. “What terrifies you more, death or being disgraced?”, Andrew taunts the dying man.

Lee doesn’t get the chance to respond unfortunately as Andrew proceeds to crush him with a bag of concrete before stabbing him with a gardening tool.

A Wife’s Heartbreak: The police arrive when Marilyn calls, and when they find the body, they understand that the situation surrounding the murder makes the case more sensitive than most. The death leaves Marilyn in a state of besieged grief: Devastated by her loss, devastated by how society itself is assaulting her marriage. She and her son are staunch in their approach that this was just a random killing, and that Andrew Cunanan had no relationship with her husband aside from being the stranger who took his life.

The Chase Begins: We follow Andrew across state lines into his most random killing as he becomes aware that the police are onto him thanks to the radio leaking the news of their trace; all he wanted was a truck. He stalks some would-be victims at a rest stop, waiting until he sees a man driving a red pickup truck. When the man starts driving away, Andrew follows him, shadowing him through a graveyard where he is the caretaker. Finally, the man arrives at his office, and Andrew follows with a gun drawn. “Stay calm,” Andrew says. “No one’s going to get hurt. I’m here to steal your truck.”

Unfortunately, that isn’t all that happens, as the man gives Andrew his keys and goes down to the basement so Andrew can lock him down there. The man starts to tell Andrew about his wife and their son. “I’m a married man,” he says. “We have a son, Troy. I’d very much like to see them again.” Andrew then shoots him, point blank, in the head.

The final moments of the episode are given back to Marilyn Miglin, back on the air, talking about how much her husband meant to her.

Instant Reactions/Questions:

Mike Farrell is heartbreaking in the scenes with Darren Criss, and it made me hate Criss in those moments, which is a testament to how well Criss is doing in this role.

If you still had any sympathy or affection left for Andrew, this episode should have stripped that away entirely.

As much as I missed Versace in this episode, this spotlight was greatly needed to further reinforce how merciless and cruel Andrew is.

Quote of the Night:

“That’s all I’ll allow that man to steal from me. I won’t let him steal my good name. Our good name.” – Marilyn

Check out the promo for next week’s episode “House by the Lake” below!

Erika Negrón Rivera
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