Photo credit: Hulu
A man is found dead in his apartment within the Arconia Housing complex you live in. The police have closed the case, and there are seemingly no leads. Something smells fishy. So, what do you do? You start a murder podcast, of course!
That is what Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnum (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) decide to do when the mysterious Tim Kono dies in Only Murders in the Building, created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman. Why was the fire alarm pulled on the night he died? What was the tie-dye hoodie guy seen going up the emergency exit stairs doing? Who is that bassoonist playing her tune on the other side of the building? Those questions and more will be answered in this murder mystery-comedy.
The unlikely trio of an out-of-his-prime television actor, a failed director, and a young woman renovating her aunt’s apartment are only brought together by two strings: they are neighbors, and they love the same murder mystery podcast. While a group of strange protagonists can detract from the plot, watching these characters interact and learn from each other feels quite natural. The chemistry between said characters is impeccable, and each faces character development in their own way brought on by the story and by each other.
This show takes considerable risks which easily pay off. One such risk comes in the form of episode seven, The Boy from 6B. The episode, featuring a character who is deaf, takes an unconventional approach by including little to no audible dialogue, putting the watcher in the shoes of said boy. Another unconventional storytelling technique is the inclusion of Looney Toons characters as unexplained delusions during episode four. These characters are used to prompt questions from the audience and address lasting mental health issues. While these risks had a chance to ruin the show, they add to the effective quirkiness that makes Only Murders in the Building unique in its approach to storytelling.
So, if someone is murdered, there have to be suspects, right? Well, Tim Kono has no shortage of prospective murderers. An unlikable young man, he kept just as many secrets as the one who took his life. Only Murders in the Building does a nice job of throwing in a large number of plot twists. My main criticism of this show would have to be the execution of said plot twists and suspects. Without trying to give any spoilers, it is hard to make theories from the beginning of the show, and most of the information to piece the story together comes together in the later portion of the show. With so many suspects and roads to take, it leaves the audience confused and frustrated that they couldn’t see the answer or a reasonable motivation of the killer. However, the show never fails to keep its audience on their toes, from suspecting the musician Sting to members of the detective trio themselves.
If you’re like me and are dying to learn what happens next in the podcast, season 2 is confirmed and is in the process of filming. Currently, season one of Only Murders in the Building can be streamed on Hulu. Overall, I had a very pleasant experience watching this show, and can’t wait for more.
By: Kacy Hartman