Only Murders in the Building (season 1)

When a murder occurs in an upper-class New York apartment building, three neighbours meet and discover a shared love of true-crime podcasts. And when they have a real case literally on their doorsteps, why not dramatise their own mystery?! As the three strangers (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez) work together to unravel the crime, they get more than they bargained for digging into the history of the building, its residences… and each other!

For some reason I thought Ted Danson (Cheers, The Good Place) was the lead in this, and I admit I was a little disappointment when I realised my mistake – I’ve not enjoyed Steve Martin’s comedy for a long time. But I’m so glad of it all now, as this turned out to be such a fun little show! Warning that it is *so* bingeable with the half-hour episodes and so many little cliffhangers and side-mysteries begging you to just watch one more…

There’s a real fun in the differences between the characters: uptight Charles, total luvvy Oliver, and the much younger Mabel, who’s so much trickier to pinpoint. The setting is perfect, too: this grand old building where people have lived for decades without knowing any of their neighbours, so enclosed and so alienated at the same time. Throwing a dead body into the mix feels like the only way some of these people would ever acknowledge each other!

The podcast element is also a lot of fun. I’m not a fan in the real world, but it adds that theatrical element to it all – and actually kind of realistic, as a way for these characters to cope with something so horrible. It’s probably where most of the humour comes in, too.

The laughs here are more of the situational kind, not laugh out loud quips and jokes. Indeed, there’s a lot of pathos and drama to the lives – and, of course, the death. If anything, I think there’s a little too much patheticness in some (most?) of the characters, but it does make the obsession with the mystery – and the things that happen alongside the investigations – resonate more.

Absolutely recommended; this was a huge amount more fun than I expected. And while the case is wrapped up, we get a lead into another season – hurrah!

only murders in the building poster

First broadcast: August 2021
Series: 2 (second due in June 2022?)
Episodes: 10 @ ~30 mins each

My rating: 8/10

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