A razor-sharp murder mystery

A razor-sharp murder mystery

Review: Only Murders in the Building

After a strange murder takes place in the apartment complex they live in. three strangers’ lives become intertwined. Obsessed with true crime podcasts, they embark on an investigation into who wanted the victim dead. Over the course of a season, they find out more about one another, and their loyalty is tested.

This is the premise behind Only Murders in the Building, a whodunnit series streaming on Disney Plus. Now in its second season, the series has plenty of new ideas and approaches to breathe life into an older genre.

The three characters are Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), a young woman who is renovating an apartment in the building for her aunt, Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), a washed-up actor famous for playing a TV detective in the 1990s, and Oliva Putnam (Martin Short), a struggling broadway producer addicted to dips.

The interplay between the three leads is what gives Only Murders in the Building its edge. Three people who may not get along in day-to-day life form a bond over their shared interest, then form a shared relationship over their podcast (and need to fight for their lives). The show also succeeds at taking certain characters that the viewer may initially dislike, such as the nagging building manager, and present them in a different light.

The themes of belonging and marginalisation are well discussed. As the trio’s initially bumbling efforts attract more attention, they find themselves the unwitting recipients of attention from an obsessed fanbase. The show has jokes (and keen observations) into the nature of fandom, podcast culture, and the shared things that can make for a community.

The script manages to pace the reveals well, and there are plenty of fake outs in both seasons. Insights spent much of the viewing time guessing as to who the killer might be, only to find that the writers had clearly intended for certain characters to be red herrings.

While complaints are few, Only Murders in the Building’s sharp writing sometimes gives way to generational cliches. While the majority of the cast do a stellar job in their respective roles, Amy Schumer’s cameo in season two is noticeably a blemish in an otherwise strong season.

Seasons one and two of Only Murders in the Building are streaming now on Disney Plus.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top