Only Murders in the Building, season 3, is another hilarious and twisty romp through a murder mystery set in the building where our heroes Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short), and Mabel (Selena Gomez) live.
You know Only Murders in the Building is a top-quality series when people like Meryl Streep, Paul Rudd, Matthew Broderick and Jesse Williams want to come and play.
If you’re going to get Meryl Streep doing a TV series, you’d better offer her something good. And they did. The setup in season 3 is Oliver is finally getting to direct a Broadway show. Meryl Streep as Loretta shows up to audition. She’s a typical ditzy blonde, but when she starts to perform it’s magic. Poor Oliver is smitten from the moment Loretta turns performer.
Oliver’s play stars a big name, Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd). Ben is a huge asshole. His brother Dickie (Jeremy Shamos) is his manager.
On opening night, Ben drops dead on the stage. Mabel’s podcasting spidey senses go on alert immediately. Was he murdered? Was he poisoned?
Turns out he wasn’t even dead. He shows up later at the apartment building where the cast is attempting to regroup after losing the leading man. THAT’S where he gets murdered.
Now that he was murdered in the building, Mabel swings into action. She begins the investigation immediately. Even after the police arrest someone, she keeps looking. As in past seasons, she suspects all the wrong people until the very last minute.
Charles and Oliver are preoccupied with the Broadway show and don’t help Mabel much. It keeps them apart for a lot of the season. Mabel goes solo on the podcast. The scenes where the three of them are together are extra special.
Tobert (Jesse Williams) had been following Ben around filming a documentary. Mabel teams up (ahem, teams up) with Tobert to work the investigation. In season 2, Mabel “teamed up” with a woman, and now Tobert. Doing her best to normalize bisexuality.
Speaking of sex, Charles’s girlfriend Joy Payne (Andrea Martin) has moved into his apartment. She brings a huge fishtank and an active interest in lots of sex.
Oliver and Loretta are getting it on, too. (Martin Short and Meryl Streep sharing sex scenes. #EldersRock in surprising ways.) The better he gets to know her, the more of her puzzling secrets he uncovers. Mabel is very interested in those secrets, too.
Outstanding in a secondary role
This series succeeds because it’s funny and clever and surprising. But it also succeeds because the secondary characters are total standouts. Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) is Oliver’s assistant on the Broadway show. Cranky Uma (Jackie Hoffman) still lives in the building. Cinda (Tina Fey) wants to bring Mabel into her podcasting world.
Sazz (Jane Lynch) is as funny as ever right up until she develops a serious problem in the very last scene of the season. (Season 4 is coming, and Sazz’s problem will predominate.) Det. Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) is a hoot.
Donna (Linda Emond) and Cliff (Wesley Taylor) are the world’s creepiest mother & son Broadway producing team. Matthew Broderick plays a caricature of himself.
Brilliant actors, clever writing – everything about this series is top notch. The inside jokes work. For example, Selena Gomez doing a song and dance number while proclaiming, “You know I don’t get this music stuff.”
This series alone is enough to justify the cost of your Hulu account. Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments.