The Feb. 14 episode of ‘American Crime Story’ dives deep into Jeff Trail’s life before his tragic death at the hands of Andrew Cunanan.
The fifth episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story starts out in Milan in June 1995. Gianni Versace is arranging his coming out interview. Donatella is angry at her brother for not consulting her about this, especially since she does publicity for the company. She thinks this is all Antonio’s doing, and he only wants to be famous. She believes this could all backfire on Gianni. She wants to know why he wants to do this now. Gianni says he was sick and didn’t die. This is his second chance. He’s not going to waste it.
Flash forward to April 24, 1997 — four days before Jeff Trail’s murder. Andrew is in San Diego begging an airline customer service representative for a one-way ticket to Minneapolis, all while doing crack. He’s run out of money and just needs to get to Minneapolis. He manages to convince the woman to give him a free ticket. Andrew quickly packs his things, which reveals a shrine to Gianni and his disgust for Antonio.
Jeff meets David Madson at the airport. David has no idea why Andrew is coming. Jeff knows why: Andrew has nothing and no one since he’s a pathological liar. Jeff says he’s going to give Andrew the weekend, and then he’s done with him. Jeff gives Andrew the key to his apartment since he’s going to be at his sister’s house for the weekend. Andrew goes to David’s place instead and gives him an expensive watch. He doesn’t stop there. He asks David to marry him! Andrew swears he’s turned his life around, but David doesn’t believe him.
David and Andrew go out with David’s co-worker Linda. Andrew just sits back and watches David have fun. He lies to Linda about making movie sets for Titanic, and that’s the final straw for David. David tells Andrew they can’t get married and gives back the watch. Andrew is made of nothing but lies and refuses to accept reality. Out of nowhere, Andrew asks David if he’s seeing Jeff.
Jeff goes to his sister’s house for the weekend. Jeff’s avoiding Andrew at all costs, especially after Andrew sent a post card to his dad trying to out him. Jeff’s sister thinks it’s time for him to tell their parents that he’s gay, but Jeff doesn’t feel the same way. Jeff doesn’t want to disappoint his parents. He regrets leaving the Navy, and his time in the service wasn’t exactly the best it could have been.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Back in Nov. 1995, Jeff was serving on the U.S.S. Gridley in San Diego. He stopped a vicious beatdown of a gay sailor. He later woke to the sailor being beaten again. Jeff comforted to poor guy and someone spotted him. Suddenly, Jeff was terrified about being outed. He tried to cut off his tattoo, which was how one sailor was identifying his sexual partners, but he couldn’t finish doing it. Jeff tried to commit suicide by hanging himself in the bathroom, but he stops before it’s too late. He goes to a gay bar and runs right into Andrew, who takes Jeff under his wing.
As Gianni comes forward about his sexuality, Jeff is still staying in the shadows. While they’re both giving interviews about being gay men, they are vastly different. Gianni brings Antonio out of the shadow and conducts the interview with him. Jeff, whose face is masked, admits that he wishes he could take back the moment he saved the gay sailor. Just so people wouldn’t know the truth about him.
On April 27, 1997, Jeff comes home and finds Andrew. “You have no honor,” Jeff says to Andrew, who believes he “saved” Jeff. Jeff sees things very differently. He thinks Andrew ruined him. “No one wants your love!” Jeff screams at Andrew. A scorned Andrew retreats to David’s place. He calls Jeff to let him know that he has his gun. Jeff says he’ll come get it, but he’s “done” with Andrew. Andrew makes David go get Jeff so he can get ready. As soon as Jeff walks through the door, Andrew hits him repeatedly with a claw hammer. Andrew viciously murders Jeff in front of David. Jeff’s sister gives birth to her first child, and his parents call over and over and over. They always get Jeff’s answering machine. Jeff never gets to meet his little niece. All because of Andrew Cunanan.
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