They’ve confronted serial killers, grave robbers, and personal demons, but in Only Murders in the Building Season 3, our brave and daring true crime podcasters face their most difficult challenge yet. The Hulu original series, starring Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, and Martin Short, returns for what may be its final season. While there are many fresh puzzles to solve, one thing is certain: do not miss this show.
Only Murders in the Building, or OMITB as it is popularly (and much more readily) known, is a murder mystery series created by Martin and John Hoffman that follows three true-crime podcast aficionados, portrayed by Gomez, Martin, and Short, who all reside in the same legendary New York building, the Arconia. The series debuted its first season in 2021, followed by a second season in 2022, and both received critical and fan acclaim. And with Season 3, it feels like the show has actually matured.
Remember, the programme is meant to be about killings ‘in the building’. When the show revealed the storyline of the following episode at the end of Season 2, it appeared like the narrative could finally leave Arconia behind. I am pleased to inform you that this is not the case, and the lovely Upper West Side apartment building does play an important role in the plot. How it happens is another story, which I’ll let you discover for yourself.
This review will not contain spoilers, but we can tell you that the season’s fundamental concept is that it’s the first night of Oliver Putnam’s (Short) new Broadway production, and the leading man dies. Is this a tragedy or a fresh podcast opportunity?
While every word in the above sentence is correct, it conceals a secret of remarkable complexity. Only Murders in the Building’s creative team has constructed a story that is more self-aware than ever before in Season 3. The sole criticism levelled against the season’s narrative is that it spends a lot of time spinning around in circles. Almost the whole first half of the season is spent with no very strong leads.
However, things grow progressively more fascinating from there. Season 3 has a lot more emotional weight and personal turmoil than previous seasons, and it might feel like the mystery takes a second place to that at times. It’s a good thing we have such an amazing ensemble to anchor the series.
Of course, OMITB would be incomplete without Olimabel (the “Charles” is, as you may know, silent). All three of our main characters are going through changes, notably Mabel Mora (Gomez). Mabel has grown and developed during the past seasons, but now she must determine what kind of person she will be. She is dealing with more changes than ever in the third season, but so are Oliver Putnam and Charles-Haden Savage (Martin).
The season’s storyline for Oliver should be quite obvious. What happens when a Broadway director’s star dies on opening night? His entire life is going to hell. But what if that catastrophe occurs on the opening night of your comeback play, 15 years after your previous one was also a disaster? Oliver, welcome to rock bottom. If you’ve ever questioned how excellent an actor Short is, go no further than this season. To achieve a powerful and at times tragic performance, Short blends fear, desperation, hope, romance, and Oliver’s typical never-say-die enthusiasm.
Charles, on the other hand, is dealing with his own issues as he adjusts to his new relationship with Joy (Andrea Martin). And it’s only the tip of the iceberg, as he continues to struggle with his low self-esteem and nervousness, resulting in some bizarre scenes that are both amusing and disturbing. Essentially, all three of our characters are in a situation where their futures are uncertain, and there’s a potential that those futures may not involve each other. There’s a sense throughout the season that this may be the final chapter for our charming foursome. But we’ll get to that later.
Season 3 also has more new stars than previous seasons, with Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd at the top of the list. Loretta and Ben, the roles they portray, are diametrically opposed representations of what an actress looks like, one boisterous and successful, the other shy and suffering. Yet, at first glance, both of these individuals appear to be motivated by the same core desire: to be noticed and acknowledged. And those are simply my initial impressions. Both reveal new levels as the plot progresses, with Streep and Rudd providing typically superb performances.
They aren’t the only ones. Ashley Park’s aspirant young actor Kimber, Jesse Williams as the intriguing documentarian Tobert (with a T), Michael Cyril Creighton’s Howard Morris (just promoted to series regular), and a slew of other interesting characters enter the stage, and all of them have the potential to be the killer. There are also two hilarious appearances, one by a Broadway veteran and the other by a comedy legend. This season’s talent is on fire, and at least one nomination for future honours appears certain.
Only Murders in the Building Season 3 has several difficulties. The narrative wanders a little, but the acting and overall heart of the series compensate. Everyone engaged has given it their best, taking some risky bets that have finally paid off. It’s not flawless, but it’s a fantastic play that speaks to and about a love of Broadway and theatrics. Behind it, all is a powerful emotional core that will see you through to the conclusion.
Now, I can’t say whether this marks the conclusion of the series for the time being. The programme appears to be building to a natural conclusion, but only time will tell. What is certain is that these characters have had an incredible career, and fans will undoubtedly want to witness as many of their storylines as possible. If this is the conclusion of Only Murders in the Building, at least it can go out with a bang.