5 American Crime Stories That Could Be Used For Future Seasons

Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Pari Dukovic/FX
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story -- Pictured: Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace.

With the success of American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson and the excitement around the release of The Assassination of Gianni Versace, true crime continues to fascinate people and open new discussions.

While Ryan Murphy is planning to use the third season of the anthology series to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the fourth season to dive into the sex scandal of the Clinton presidency, it is never too early to wonder which other crimes will be explored.

Read on for a few true crime cases that had such an impact on America, they still have people talking:

Tonya Harding


The story of Tonya Harding has resurfaced lately, with a successful movie (I, Tonya) shining a spotlight on the skater’s alleged attack on competitor Nancy Kerrigan in 1994 and its repercussions. Though Harding has long denied her involvement in the assault, many are still unclear as to whether she was part of the planning process.

An effective way to craft this true event into a story—without retelling the same old story—could be to instead follow both Kerrigan and Harding as they are headed to the Olympics. Though this incident changed both of their lives forever, up until this point, most of the focus has been put on Harding.

Robert Durst

The Jinx - Robert Durst

Robert Durst. photo: Marc Smerling/courtesy of HBO

After the 2015 release of HBO’s The Jinx, the public became fascinated with real estate heir Robert Durst and his possible on-screen admission to murder. The docuseries examined the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, and the ensuing murders of the millionaire’s close friend in 2000 and his neighbor in 2001.

Durst was acquitted in the trial surrounding his neighbor’s murder. However, he was later arrested in connection to his friend’s murder when he was caught admitting to the crime while filming The Jinx.

Ryan Murphy’s approach to these crimes could be to take a look at the three different (but linked) cases in a new way. These stories have enough surprise twists and turns to last a full season, and it will keep the audience asking what happened and how Durst managed to get away with it for so long.

Charles Manson

In this handout photo from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Charles Manson, 74, is seen March 18, 2009 at Corcoran State Prison, California.

This famous murder case would pair well with Ryan Murphy’s other show, American Horror Story, after the latest season explored the idea of cults. Charles Manson created a cult that led to the 1969 murders of 9 people—including pregnant actress Sharon Tate—in 4 different locations.

These horrific crimes were some of the most gruesome at the time, and American Crime Story could take a closer look at how Manson convinced a group of people to commit these acts. This would also offer the anthology series the chance to explore the concept of cults in relation to criminal activity.

President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy speaks at a press conference August 1, 1963.

To this day, few political moments have shook the nation the President John F. Kennedy’s assassination did in 1963. It was a tragic event that was caught on film and still spawns conspiracy theories to this day.

Season 2’s Versace focus paves the way for another high profile assassination—this one with the added element of politics. It could also follow the Kennedy family in the aftermath of the president’s death, while also showing how America tried to make sense of the loss.

JonBenét Ramsey

JonBenet Ramsey

JONBENET PATRICIA RAMSEY (Aug. 6, 1990 – Dec. 26, 1996) winning a beauty pageant at 1996 America’s Royale Little Miss National Beauty contests. (© Mark Fix/ZUMApress.com)

The murder of JonBenét Ramsey would be the anthology’s first attempt at covering a crime against a child. The truth about what really happened to the pageant queen is tangled up in the idea that someone in her family—her parents or brother—could have been involved.

This is also a case that had heavy media attention, like The People vs. OJ, which affected how people perceived the evidence in the case. American Crime Story could focus on this, while also profiling the Ramsey family in the wake of losing JonBenét.

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Season Premiere, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 10/9c, FX