Cover of Only Murders in the Building. Martin, Short, and Gomez peer our from behind some cartoon skyscrapers


Title: Only Murders in the Building (Season #1)
Released: 2021

Fix: Whodunnit, Comedy Legends
Platforms: Hulu

Hulu Summary:

From the minds of Steve Martin, Dan Fogelman & John Hoffman comes a comedic murder-mystery series for the ages. Only Murders in the Building follows three strangers (Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez) who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. When a grisly death occurs inside their exclusive Upper West Side apartment building, the trio suspects murder and employs their precise knowledge of true crime to investigate the truth. As they record a podcast of their own to document the case, the three unravel the complex secrets of the building which stretch back years. Perhaps even more explosive are the lies they tell one another. Soon, the endangered trio comes to realize a killer might be living amongst them as they race to decipher the mounting clues before it’s too late.

FYA Summary:

For once, the canned summary is a good one. Three very different neighbors bond over a true crime podcast. When a man dies in their Manhattan apartment building under strange circumstances, they decide to create their own podcast to solve the crime. But is everyone in the group telling the truth about what they know?

Familiar Faces:

Steve Martin in Only Murders in the Building

Steve Martin as Charles Haden-Savage

Once the star of a 1990s cop show, Charles now lives the life of a hermit in his apartment, mooning over lost loves and opportunities. He sees the crime as a way to play detective in real life, and maybe make friends for the first time in years.

Martin Short in Only Murders in the Building

Martin Short as Oliver Putman

A ridiculously flamboyant ex-Broadway director, he constantly name-drops and tells stories of his glory days to cover up the fact that he hasn’t directed anything in decades, that he’s broke, and that his son barely speaks to him. This podcast is his chance to become relevant again.

Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building

Selena Gomez as Mabel Mora

A young, aspiring interior designer living in her aunt’s apartment, she teams up with two men old enough to be her grandfathers in order to help solve a mystery…one she may be more involved in than she lets on.

Nathan Lane in Only Murders in the Building

Nathan Lane as Teddy Dimas

A restaurant magnate and former investor in Oliver’s productions (Oliver convinced him not to invest in Hamilton). He has a soft spot for his old business partner and might be convinced to throw some money into the podcast.

James Caverly in Only Murders in the Building

James Caverly as Theo Dimas

Teddy’s deaf son who also lives in the building. The seventh episode is shot mostly from his point of view and has no spoken words.

Tina Fey in Only Murders in the Building

Tina Fey as Cinda Canning

The famous true crime podcaster who first inspired the trio.

Aaron Dominguez in Only Murders in the Building

Aaron Dominguez as Oscar

A mysterious man from Mabel’s past.

Amy Ryan in Only Murders in the Building

Amy Ryan as Jan

A bassoonist and building resident who takes a liking to Charles over shared heartbreak.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph in Only Murders

Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Detective Williams

The officer in charge of this case, she realizes that there is more to this death than meets the eye, and perhaps the three podcasters may be on to something.

Musician Sting in Only Murders in the Building

Sting as himself

Another building resident, perhaps he’s not as amiable as his fans would believe.

Jane Lynch in Only Murders in the Building

Jane Lynch as Sazz Pataki

Charles’s former stunt double and romantic rival.

Couch Sharing Capability: Building Party

I had no idea how tight knit and weird those high-rent New York apartment buildings can be. People are desperate to hang on to their homes…perhaps very desperate. Everyone has their nose in everyone else’s business, and when someone ends up dead, the accusations fly. Watch this with your friends and neighbors and share your theories.

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Low

This is a twisty, turny enough plot that you’ll want to keep your wits about you so you don’t miss anything. Also, the goofy comedy covers up some really good acting and an original buddy comedy. Charles and Oliver never take on a paternal role, nor does Mabel seem annoyed to be saddled with two old men as partners. Mabel sees the mystery as a way to relive her girlhood Hardy Boys obsession, while the men like the idea that their talents have not atrophied. And maybe they can all put some demons to rest if they solve this crime.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Whodunnit

So who killed Howard’s cat? Who left that threatening note on Jan’s door? Who is the mysterious man in the tie dye hoodie? Why are the Dimases so interested in this silly podcast? Why is Charles tormented by a vision of a man in a Porky Pig costume? This onion has layers.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.