When he auditions to be an escort, for instance, Cunanan is told that no one wants a smart Asian—he is not a desired archetype by the rich, white men he wants to attract. Broadway performer Jon Jon Briones, who is Filipino-born, steals the show towards the end of the series as Cunanan’s father, Modesto. We see that Cunanan’s delusions of grandeur, propensity for taking shortcuts, and obsession with materialistic wealth and status stems from Modesto, who in the show (and in real life) fled back to the Philippines in 1988 to evade embezzlement charges. Sometimes, Orth reported, the real-life Cunanan would pretend to be Jewish.

But when Cunanan—real and fictional versions—did acknowledge his Asian background, it was a lie constructed through a fabulist’s filter: his father owned pineapple plantations back in the Philippines, he would say, or his father was the personal pilot of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines who was known for her extravagance and marriage to a dictator.

“This is not just a story about how much alternative sexuality or sex panic there was in the 1990s,” Kapadia said. “It’s also the story about a multi-racial mixed-race person from California in the very moment in which California’s becoming a majority minority state and there were all of the kinds of questions around the new face of America into the new millennium.”

But Murphy doesn’t touch these complex racial points—about how Cunanan may have struggled with his racial identity, about, even briefly, what it was like to be a mixed-race kid going to the exclusive mostly-white private school he attended. Race is not given the complexity of storytelling it deserves—the complexity Murphy so readily gives sexuality.

We will never know Cunanan’s exact relationship to his racial identity, just as we will never know his exact motives for killing. Those explanations died with his suicide on July 23, 1997. But we do know Murphy’s interpretation of Cunanan—and unfortunately, Murphy doesn’t seem to think that race matters at all.

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