TV Review: Only Murders in the Building – A Comedic & Modern Take on A Twisted Thriller


Chelsea Long, Writer

WARNING – This article contains major spoilers of Only Murders in the Buildingand content surrounding murder, death, etc.

As summer has sadly come to an end, so has the time to catch up with our favorite television shows. Just before this school year rolled around the corner, I was lucky enough to watch the first season of a series that I had not heard of until only a few weeks ago– Only Murders in the Building. Created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman, Only Murders in the Building is a comedy-mystery show about three strangers– played by Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez– who all live in the same apartment building where the mysterious death of a man takes place. Soon enough, the three characters cross paths and team up to uncover the full truth about what exactly happened in their apartment building that police are insisting was just a suicide case. As they continue with their investigation, they create a murder podcast to track their progress and bring attention to the unsolved mystery– to which they call it Only Murders in the Building.


Episode 1: “True Crime”

I actually didn’t think that I’d be interested in this series when I first started watching it, but I was completely drawn into it after the first twenty seconds. To start off, we meet the three main characters– Charles Haden-Savage, a former television actor; Oliver Putnam, a struggling theater director for Broadway; and Mabel Mora, a young woman renovating her aunt’s apartment. They are three people, totally unrelated, other than the fact that they live in the same apartment building in New York City called the Arconia. They realize they have a shared love for true crime podcasts and, quickly, a trio is formed. When a man in their apartment building dies suddenly, they start digging for answers, but what Charles and Oliver don’t know is that Mabel knew this man, whose name was Tim Kono.

My episode rating: 9/10


Episode 2: “Who is Tim Kono?”

This episode digs deeper into Tim Kono’s backstory as the trio continues searching for answers. Flashbacks are shown when Mabel and Tim first met, and how they created a friendship over their shared love for The Hardy Boys mystery book series. As the two grew into adults, they expanded their friend group, adding characters Oscar and Zoe. During a previous New Year’s Eve party, Zoe died from falling off of the roof of the Arconia. Oscar was arrested for pushing her off, but it’s uncertain that he was truly the one to blame. After this event, Mabel and Tim drifted apart, making them strangers before he mysteriously died.

My episode rating: 8/10


Episode 3: “How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?”

Every moment of this episode entertained me, with the perfect balance of mystery and comedy. As Charles, Oliver, and Mabel continue with their investigation, they start to suspect their cat-obsessed neighbor Howard, but discover that their speculation about him won’t be going anywhere. In the Arconia, Charles meets a pretty woman named Jan who plays the bassoon, and Mabel suggests he ask her out. Oliver is shown having money struggles, so he encounters his old associate, Teddy, for help, and he agrees to sponsor the podcast so it gains more popularity. When Mabel does some further investigation, she finds a note from Tim that writes “G.M. 1/31 @4:30PM SHORE ROAD,” and wonders what the meaning of it could be.

My episode rating: 8/10


Episode 4: “The Sting”

This episode was incredibly funny, especially if you are familiar with the iconic musician Sting. Sting is also a resident of the Arconia, and Oliver suspects that he is a suspect in the murder and attempts to convince Charles and Mabel of the possibility. During a confrontation with Sting himself, he shamefully confesses that Tim worked for him, but Sting fired him in a fit of range which he is afraid was the cause of Tim’s “suicide.” Because of Sting’s obvious guilt, he is taken off of the suspect list and the group moves on with their research. Afterwards, Charles goes on a date with Jan and they both agree to a second one. Mabel realizes that “G.M.” stands for a place called “Montrose Gems,” and meanwhile, Charles and Oliver find out about her previous friendship with Tim Kono.

My episode rating: 9/10


Episode 5: “Twist”

I loved this episode as much as most other episodes, and I feel that it explained a lot of small, unsolved details. Mabel is being followed by someone on the sidewalk, whom she realizes is Oscar after just being released from prison. He offers to drive her to the written place on Tim’s note, and when Charles and Oliver see her leave in a stranger’s car, they follow her out of concern. The place written on Tim’s note turns out to be a tattoo parlor, and Tim Kono had been trying to track down the jewelry dealer working there, Angel, which is why he had a note of the address. When Charles and Oliver arrive at the tattoo parlor right after Mabel, they question her and she finally admits that Tim Kono was her friend.

My episode rating: 8/10


Episode 6: “To Protect and Serve”

Not too much happened during this episode, but I loved how we got to explore the character of Detective Williams, who is the head detective of the Tim Kono case. As she sees the rising popularity of the murder podcast about Tim Kono, she feels hesitant about closing the case as a suicide. Teddy writes Charles and Oliver a check for $50,000 for more episodes, but the check is drawn from an account called “Angel,” possibly making Teddy the same jewelry dealer that Tim Kono was trying to track down before he died.

My episode rating: 8/10


Episode 7: “The Boy from 6B”

This was absolutely my favorite episode out of the entire season. Not only did it explain lots of plot holes, but I just think that the episode was beautifully constructed and had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Charles and Mabel break into the apartment of Teddy’s son, Theo, and find a hidden room containing urns from a funeral home. They leave, and Charles then goes on a date with Jan. At another time, Oliver and Mabel investigate the funeral home where they see Theo stealing expensive jewelry off of the bodies. Theo sees Charles and Mabel and kidnaps them, putting them in the backseat of a van, and they text Charles that Tim Kono’s phone password may be “THEO.” For most of the episode, however, flashbacks are shown to when Zoe was alive, and she is seen to be stealing a ring from Theo’s apartment. At the New Year’s Eve party, Theo asks Zoe to return the ring, and they get into an argument, which results in Theo accidentally pushing Zoe off of the roof of the Arconia.

My episode rating: 10/10


Episode 8: “Fan Fiction”

Each episode approaching the finale of the season was extremely fun to watch, so I immensely enjoyed this episode as well. Oliver and Mabel are returned to the Arconia after being kidnapped, and they had to compromise with Teddy and Theo by saying that they would end the podcast. Jan attempts to help Charles, Oliver, and Mabel with the investigation, but they kick her out for being of no help. As Jan arrives home, she finds a note on her door saying, “I’M WATCHING YOU.” Tim Kono’s autopsy comes back and it is revealed that he died from poisoning, and security footage also reveals that Teddy and Theo were outside during the exact time of Tim’s death, so they couldn’t have been the murderers. At the end of the episode, Charles visits Jan’s apartment to apologize for kicking her out, and he finds her on the floor, unconscious with a stab wound.

My episode rating: 9/10


Episode 9: “Double Time”

As the last episode of the season approaches, the mysteries get close to finally unraveling. Charles, Oliver, and Mabel take back their accusation of Teddy and Theo being the murderers of Tim, so this leaves only confusion and worry, but also encouragement to continue. Thankfully, Jan is alive and well, but she doesn’t remember the person who stabbed her. Charles goes to Jan’s orchestra concert and sees that she lied about being at first chair, and in the same moment, Oliver and Mabel find a bassoon cleaner while looking through Tim Kono’s belongings.

My episode rating: 9.5/10


Episode 10: “Open and Shut”

One thing is clear to the trio at this point: Jan is the murderer of Tim Kono. She was even in a romantic relationship with Tim at one point, but killed him after they broke up. Oliver and Mabel sneak into Jan’s apartment to find clear evidence of her doings, including the poison she used to kill Tim and the knife she used to stab herself in order to draw attention away from the possibility of her being the murderer. Jan is arrested, and the trio celebrate with champagne on the roof of the Arconia. Mabel goes back down to her apartment to get more drinks. Just a few moments after, Charles and Oliver receive a text saying to get out of the building immediately, so they stop by Mabel’s apartment to tell her. When they get there, they see a bloody Mabel kneeling over the dead body of Bunny, the board president of the Arconia. Mabel says, “It’s not what it looks like.”

My episode rating: 10/10

All in all, Only Murders in the Building was an incredibly exciting, thrilling, and hilarious watch. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in mystery stories, especially more comedic ones. I’m currently in the process of watching season two and I’m deeply looking forward to seeing the resolution. Not only are the storylines very interesting, but the characters are extremely likable as well. Thank you for reading, and I hope I’ve inspired you to consider watching this series. Seasons one and two are both already streaming on Hulu!