Only Murders in the Building: A perfect mesh of mystery and comedy

Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez is not the casting anyone expected, but it is what everyone needed. In Hulu’s new mystery comedy Only Murders in the Building, three true crime fanatics begin to investigate a murder in their luxury New York apartment building to record a podcast of their own. Not only is the mystery thrilling, exciting, and unexpected, but the comedy works. Almost every joke lands and the chemistry between the three leads just adds to the spectacle. In a world where it feels hard to find a perfect mesh of two genres, Only Murders in the Building seamlessly sews together an edge of your seat mystery with laugh out loud comedy. 

When a gunshot comes from Tim Kono’s apartment during an evacuation drill, the police rule it a suicide, but the building’s true crime fanatics – Charles, Oliver, and Mable – think theres more to it and begin investigating. There’s already tension from the start of any whodunnit, but when all three characters have mysterious, and seemingly dark backstories, the tension only builds as the plot begins to unravel. Each episode features new twists that are not only shocking, but genuinely unexpected. As every episode unfolds we begin to learn more about the fascinating and twisted lives of our protagonists and their mysterious connections to Tim Kono himself.

While Tim Kono’s murder is the central mystery of the plot, much of the characters pasts are only slightly hinted at throughout much of the show. There’s a reason that all of the characters live alone and as the murder begins to unravel, the characters lives do too. 

The combination of Steve Martin’s expressive and satirical comedy pairs perfectly with Martin Short’s weird and quirky humor. While you’re sitting at the edge of your seat unsuccessfully guessing what happens next, the show will provide you with consistently hilarious, and frequent laughs. While most shows or movies that attempt to mesh two genres often only succeed at one, Only Murders in the Building perfectly executes both to not only create a thrilling mystery but an original comedy. 

The show’s comedy may be most funny when Martin Short continuously insults the acting abilities of Steve Martin, (or when Sting is interviewed about being a murderer), but it also works incredibly well as a satire. From every character’s actions down to the score itself, Only Murders in the Building pokes fun at podcasts throughout all ten episodes. The show goes as far as to make fun of podcasters, podcast fans, and even podcast music itself. 

While Steve Martin and Martin Short have been in the business for years, most of Selena Gomez’s 113 acting credits come from music videos and cameos. In one of her first leading roles, Gomez shines as the tougher millennial who acts as a voice of reason throughout the show. Martin Short’s weirdness made him perfect to play a pretentious theater director and Steve Martin is excellent as the cold, washed up actor. The supporting cast from Amy Ryan to Aaron Dominguez, and Nathan Lane help develop the deep emotional sides of the leads and add wondrously to the mystery. 

Filled with an incredibly charming cast, a genuinely thrilling and intense mystery, and unbelievably funny comedy, Only Murders in the Building is a perfect conjunction of two of the most engaging and challenging genres in TV. It’s a cliff-hanging, tear-jerking, and belly-laughing thrill ride that leaves you in an unquenching thirst for the second season.