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‘Only Murders in The Building’: a golden tale of crime

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

Edited by: Lasya Adiraj

New York, fancy apartments and crime. The three defining and most attractive features of Selena Gomez’s hit new show Only Murders in The Building. Unlike most crime thrillers, this show radiates warmth and simplicity while solving a complex death, and leans into the comedy of what makes people tick. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez come together as a surprisingly adorable trio. Set in an enviable Upper West Side apartment building, each of the characters are rabid devotees of a popular true crime podcast hosted by a fictionalized Tina Fey. The building in question? The venerable Arconia in Manhattan. The murder victim? An unpleasant young man, disliked by all, whose death was initially declared a suicide. 

The show follows Charles, an actor who once starred in his own detective show but whose career is now just a fable of the past; Oliver, a whimsical Broadway director whose ideas are more visionary than his bank account; and Mabel, a thirty-something, aimless young artist who’s redesigning her aunt’s apartment. The sudden murder in the building and their shared obsession of murder mysteries comes to a head in an unlikely collaboration: their own true crime podcast. 

With each new episode, the show reveals more about the characters as they get closer and closer to uncovering the truth. The buttoned-up Charles lets loose and makes new connections; narcissistic Oliver learns the value of outside perspectives as he works with a team; and Mabel, who has a mysterious personal connection to the murder at hand, begins to find a focus. Things will be revealed as the show progresses and the one simple murder in their apartment reveals itself to be part of something much bigger..

Co-created by Martin and John Hoffman, Only Murders delights not just in the twists and turns of its crime thriller, but even more so in the chemistry between its three leads. The supporting cast is equally as good, and New York worthy. Nathan Lane plays a producer and neighbor, who had once funded one of Oliver’s terrible projects. Jackie Hoffman portrays a misanthrope who holds a hatred for the deceased and turns the building memorial for the murdered neighbor into a weepy one for his dead cat. Amy Ryan dazzles in her role as a bassoonist across the building courtyard who also serves as a love interest for Charles. The show even has Sting, as himself, as one of the earlier prime suspects of the murder investigation.

The intricacies of the people and setting of “Only Murders” are what ultimately make the show such a pleasure to dive into, and so easy to binge without necessarily intending to. With a score of 100% on rotten tomatoes, the show really gives the audience, and critics alike, everything. It entrances you in a truly captivating way. What attracted me to the show wasn’t just the crime. It wasn’t even Selena Gomez, or the attractiveness of the New York elite. The show’s depiction of solitude and loneliness, and the concept of being lonely in a big city, is what captured my attention. How can one’s own chaos of the mind be stilled with the chaos of the Big Apple surrounding you? A locked room mystery with a deeper question: do you really have anyone who will miss you?

A gripping plot paired with the nostalgia of curling up with The Secret Seven or The Hardy Boys, the show manages to seamlessly form a harmony I was so caught up with. This  genre of wholesome true crime gives people a break from their own routine lives. Only Murders in the Building offers us a respite from mundanity with a case that must be cracked, a killer who needs catching, hearts that want healing and Love that must be found – all in the heart of New York City. 

Give me a cup of coffee, a book, or Netflix, you won't see me for 6 months. I'm a student at Ashoka majoring in Literature so you'll find me studying literature at 4 am and hear me break into rants about history at any time.