Media Minute

"Only Murders in the Building" is the perfect embodiment of killer comedy

Spoiler Alert: This article will contain spoilers for season one of the Hulu series “Only Murders in the Building.”

When I heard that Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin were going to be starring in a show together, I was both excited and skeptical. In the end, my skepticism was unwarranted because “Only Murders in the Building” delivered one of the most compelling, humorous and all-around interesting first seasons of a show that I’ve seen in a long time.

The show centers on a popular trope in television. The one where an unusual group of people builds a friendship while trying to solve a problem. Those unusual people are Gomez’s Mabel Mora, Short’s Oliver Putnam and Martin’s Charles Haden Savage, and their problem is solving the murder of fellow building resident, Tim Kono.

The first episode centers around how the group comes together. After the three protagonists and Mr. Kono ride the elevator together, they all return to their respective apartments. While Mabel, Oliver and Charles try to listen to their favorite true-crime podcast, they’re interrupted by the fire alarm, leading them to gather at a restaurant and listen to the podcast together. When they get back, they find out one of their neighbors is dead. Soon after, they decide to figure out how he died, while making it their own podcast.

What follows throughout the season is an investigation filled with twists that are not only hilarious but also shocking enough to make you want more. As the season progresses we find out that Mabel knew the victim while they were younger, that Tim Kono witnessed a murder himself and didn’t say anything and that he was in a relationship with someone in the building.

Each episode brings something and someone new to the table. We are introduced to new characters, like the bassoonist, Jan, who begins a relationship with Charles, and Oscar, a convicted felon, who is another man from Mabel’s past. As the story progresses, the podcast’s ratings go up and more is uncovered about the death of Tim Kono, the stakes become higher for the protagonists. 

In the third episode, Oliver manages to get the podcast sponsored by his former friend and investor, Teddy, who also lives in the building. This leads to complications later on with Teddy and his deaf son, Theo, when it is discovered that they had a part to play in the murder that Tim Kono witnesses.

“Only Murders in the Building” also does something that many critics and audience members noted online. An entire episode of the show is presented in almost complete silence, as it centers around Theo and his concerns that the podcasters are becoming suspicious of him and his father. The showcasing of a situation from the perspective of a deaf character, while making the audience experience the silence as well, is a great touch to the season. 

Finally, when you are told who killed Tim Kono, it comes as a reward for waiting and experiencing the twists and turns alongside the characters. And for those who have their suspicions of the murderer before the reveal, finally seeing the characters figure it out on their own is worth the wait.

“Only Murders in the Building” is a treat that brings humor to the solving of crimes and shows just how crazy the production of a true-crime podcast can be. The dynamic between Martin, Gomez and Short is the highlight of the show, creating a palpable relationship between their characters, while making the audience care for them.