by Aprille Hanson-Spivey
In a sea of TV show choices, it’s tough to find a show that can hit on all cylinders in suspense, humor and a cast with a stellar chemistry. But “Only Murders in the Building,” a Hulu mystery-comedy original, is a perfect example that originality really isn’t dead.
The show starts off with the murder of mysterious resident Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) in the luxurious Arconia condo building in the Upper West Side of New York City. This brings washed-up TV detective Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), has-been theater director Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) and the young brooding Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) to team up and solve his murder while recording their journey as a podcast. The three characters each have baggage of their own, bonding them in a way that you wouldn’t expect against a backdrop of a murder mystery.
The storyline does a phenomenal job of peeling the onion, with each 30-minute episode giving viewers just a little more to eat up, from a jewelry smuggling ring to the mystery behind “Tie-Dye Guy” to superstar Sting as a suspect to Mabel’s tragic past that weaves into why she’s so invested in Kono’s death. Beautifully in between it all was the comedic prowess of Martin, Short and Gomez, with amazing side and guest actors like Nathan Lane and Jane Lynch. One of the highest hopes for season two is that the hilarious Da’vine Joy Randolph will have a much bigger role for her turn as Detective Williams. Not to mention the misfit cast of fellow Arconia residents that make for one of the best bits of comedy in the season finale, completely ignoring a flailing Martin in the elevator, thinking he’s on a bender. The hilarious and crazy finale gives Martin the chance to really show off his physical comedy. It leaves viewers with an insane cliffhanger for season two that no one could have seen coming.
Looking back on season one, the writers timed each twist with precision, making sure that there were still questions to be answered. Even when it looked like things were wrapping up in a neat bow, something was just around the corner to unravel it. Arguably the most action-packed episode of the 10-episode season was “The Boy from 6B,” shot entirely in silence, as the titular character of that storyline Theo Dimas (James Caverly) is deaf. As the seventh episode, it was a bit of a jolt for viewers because it was almost as if the mystery had been solved, but luckily, it wasn’t the end of the story.
This show is a gem because of Martin, Short and Gomez. All three are executive producers, along with Martin and John Hoffman as creators and writers. There’s no question that friends and comedians Martin and Short would work masterfully together, but Gomez was really the wildcard. But kudos to the casting director because I can’t imagine anyone else in that role. Gomez absolutely holds her own with the veterans, proving just how talented she is at dark comedy.
Whether it’s the cast, the storyline or even the graphics and sound of the theme, there’s so many things to love about ‘OMITB.’ It’s a perfect show and absolutely worth taking the crazy ride filled with suspense and laughter.