Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Plot: Three strangers that live in the same apartment building discover they share one common interest—listening to true crime podcasts. When a fellow tenant is found dead, the trio becomes determined to solve the murder while simultaneously starting their podcast series.
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead
Review: Hulu’s latest series Only Murders in the Building is proving to be a favourite among mystery buffs and true crime fans. There has been a huge uptake in the interest in true crime podcasts and crime documentaries. Whether that is from just plain morbid curiosity or the frequent lockdowns, one will never know. But what this series has to offer fans is a lot more than just a murder mystery.
The natural camaraderie between veteran comic actors Steve Martin and Martin Short just cannot be denied. Throw in Disney teen star turned superstar singer and actress Selena Gomez into the mix and you’ve got the perfect recipe. The result is a quirky, sometimes dark, mysterious whodunit plot that is just the perfect way to ease into the spooky season.
In just four episodes the audience will realise that there’s a mystery within a mystery. The suspense is unbelievable and it’s channeling my inner Nancy Drew. So, I’m going to give you folks just a brief rundown on what’s happened so far, without revealing too many spoilers.
The three main characters are Charles Hayden-Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez). Nothing could have prepared the audience for the jaw-dropping opening sequence. Suffice it to say, one of the main characters finds themselves in a rather unpleasant situation. We soon realise that this event takes place a little into the future, as we are suddenly taken back two months earlier.
Martin’s Hayden-Savage is a washed-up actor who was a one-hit-wonder back in the 1980s with a detective drama named Brazzos before disappearing from the circuit altogether. His most famous line from the show was “This takes the investigation into a whole new direction.” He now lives in the Arconia apartment building which is where the mystery is about to unfold. Short’s Oliver Putnam is a struggling Broadway director who is on a financial decline but refuses to move out of the Arconia because it represents the last vestige of his identity before his struggles. His only companion is a female English bulldog named Winnie. He likes to put up the façade that he’s still super busy working and searching for the ultimate play that’s going to take him back to the top. Oliver has a rather strained relationship with his son Will who is a veterinarian.
Gomez’s Mabel, however, turns out to be the one that has the most mysterious backstory of the trio. Unlike Charles and Oliver, who have resided at the Arconia for years, Mabel seems to have taken up temporary residence at the apartment as it belongs to her aunt. She seems to be an artist as she’s seen several times sketching, but she also has an agreement with her aunt to conduct renovations on the apartment in her absence. Mabel keeps her history private from her compatriots as she doesn’t want them to know that she has a deep connection to the Arconia stemming from her childhood.
The trio is thrown together when a fire alarm is tripped in the building just as they are about to listen in on their favourite True Crime podcast “All is Not OK in Oklahoma” narrated by host Cinda Canning (Tina Fey as a special guest star). A chance encounter at a local restaurant connects them via their common interest in true crime. Upon returning to the Arconia, they are informed that a tenant named Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) was found dead in his apartment from what seemed to be a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. However, the sneaky trio decides to investigate and become convinced that it was not a suicide but a murder. While running their investigation the idea of trying to create their own true-crime podcast “Only Murders in the Building” is initiated, with Oliver helming the venture using his directorial skills.
As they continue to pursue their investigation it would seem that they were beginning to get too close as someone mysteriously tries to poison Oliver’s dog, Winnie. She is saved by Oliver’s son Will just in time, but through an unpleasant meeting in the elevator between him and a celebrity he becomes convinced that the celebrity might be the killer.
In between the investigation, Charles has to get over his fear of dating when he meets a professional bassoonist named Jan (Amy Ryan) who is also a tenant at the Arconia. Mabel has her flashbacks which reveal that she may know more about the victim’s history than previously revealed. There’s also a mysterious stranger that keeps showing up since the night of the murder dressed in a rainbow tie-dyed hoodie. This stranger also seems to have a connection to Mabel and the victim’s past.
What strikes me the most about this series is how much information they were able to successfully pack into these four episodes without overwhelming the audience. The main characters are all damaged in their way due to their past experiences. They each try to keep up a particular appearance but when they are alone the wall comes down and you see the loneliness and insecurities set in. In their way each of the main characters is extremely relatable, quirky, and maybe slightly unstable. Each episode brings with it a new bombshell and the ending of episode four “The Sting” was no exception.
So, channel your inner Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew and catch up with Hulu’s new murder mystery series Only Murders in the Building. Can you solve the mystery?
Alice’s Score: 9 out of 10
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Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More