Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Episode 4
The Big Picture
- Only Murders in the Building excels in its character development, creating a cast of odd yet captivating characters who add humor and push the plot forward.
- The show utilizes celebrity cameos effectively, with big names like Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep enhancing the series while still keeping the core three characters at the center.
- With four episodes into the third season, Only Murders in the Building is off to a smooth and promising start, offering plot twists, terror, and an abundance of jokes, all while introducing new hilarious and intriguing characters.
Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building is back for its third season, and already off to a fantastic start. While Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin are excellent leads, centering the series with their roles as Mabel, Oliver, and Charles (respectively), Only Murders in the Building once again introduces an entirely new gaggle of supporting characters who all but steal the show. This is one of the murder mystery comedy’s successes — the show manages to build worlds filled with captivating, surprising, and deeply funny characters, who push the plot forward just as marvelously as the center three do. Sex and the City notoriously claims that New York City is the show’s fifth main character, and that sentiment can certainly ring true here as well, but Only Murders in the Building’s New York is the one made up of the oddball neighbors you see in the elevator, the cashier at your favorite New York deli, and the person you’ve been spontaneously running into for the past ten years. Season 3 is the show’s most star-studded, featuring both Paul Rudd and the Meryl Streep in seemingly significant roles, along with a bevy of other actors who are already cementing themselves as part of Only Murders in the Building‘s charming universe. They seem to be playing to their strengths, and we’re all about it.
Like All Murder Mysteries, ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Needs Plenty of Suspects
Part of Only Murders in the Building‘s dedication to its smaller characters is a direct consequence of the murder mystery genre. In any good whodunnit, the story introduces a plethora of suspects — all with fleshed out backstories, all with potential motives. The key is to invest in each character as if they would later turn into the killer, so the viewers can’t distinguish early on whom that killer might be. In order to do so successfully, each one needs to be treated with the same exact care. Where Only Murders in the Building shines, however, is with the joy and whimsy that is injected into every scene (and therefore, into every character). With comedy legends Martin and Short at the helm of the show, which Martin created with John Hoffman, this level of humor shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, it feels wholly reminiscent of their sketch comedy days on Saturday Night Live. The way their humor reaches the character development? Well, that’s truly spectacular.
One of the greatest successes in character development is specificity, and Only Murders in the Building delivers it in spades. Every character on Only Murders in the Building has their very specific quirks – whether it be Oliver’s love of dips or newcomer Joy’s (Andrea Martin) obsession with fish. Howard Morris, a resident of the Arconia who is delightfully played by Michael Cyril Creighton, only recently revealed his deep appreciation of sweaters (trust us, the scene is much funnier than you’d think.) All of these small details build convincing characters, albeit definitely odd ones. It’s a move reminiscent of Amy Sherman-Palladino‘s Gilmore Girls, where every minor character on screen matters, and in turn directly adds to the tone of the show. It’s safe to say that all the characters on Only Murders in the Building only belong on Only Murders in the Building — they are unique to the world that the writers have built, and they push the entirety of the show forward.
‘Only Murders in the Building’ Takes Celebrity Cameos in Stride
In its earlier seasons, Only Murders in the Building had already started playing around with big name stars. ‘The Police’ frontman Sting had an incredible two-episode cameo, as did comedian Amy Schumer. Model and actress Cara Delevingne had a more significant role in the series, playing Mabel’s love interest in Season 2. Season 3 added Grey’s Anatomy alum Jesse Williams and Emily in Paris star Ashley Park, both of whom have had incredibly promising starts in the first few episodes. But the show’s big-ticket names were truly their biggest, with both Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep starting the season in central roles. Only Murders in the Building is already a hugely prestigious series — after all, Steve Martin and Martin Short are legends in their own right, and Selena Gomez is a bonafide pop-star. With Rudd and Streep stars of a different realm, how will the show weave and use their fame to its advantage? Their level of star-power (Streep’s, specifically), can tend to overshadow, and Only Murders in the Building needs to continue keeping its core three in the center. At least on the internet, most of the viewers have ruled out Streep’s character Loretta Durkin as the murderer simply because Meryl Streep playing the juiciest role is the obvious choice. (We have to say, we would kill to see her play out an Only Murders in the Building murderer reveal — they are nothing short of iconic.) (That pun was intended.) So far, however, the two’s addition seems to only be helping the series, with Rudd’s Ben Gilroy equally charming and awful and Streep’s Loretta incredibly engaging, if a little kooky. Only time will tell, but it seems the writers are getting it right.
We’re four episodes into Only Murders in the Building‘s third season, and things so far are going smoothly. There are sufficient plot twists, moments of terror, and an almost inconceivable amount of jokes. But more than anything, there are new characters — many of them! — each one more hilarious and intriguing than the rest. With big names that miraculously fit within the ensemble and slightly smaller ones that are proving up for the task, it’s certainly an optimistic start. Theirs is a cast that we’re excited to tune in to see, and with such stellar worldbuilding, we can only assume it will get better from here. There’s sure to be plenty of mayhem, comedy, and character development to come. Now the only thing that’s left is to find out who did it.