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Hulu’s new murder mystery comedy Only Murders in the Building is one hell of a ride. The show’s first episode aired on the 31st of August and has quickly become a favorite with its comedic take on true crime podcasts and their real world implications. Currently boasting a whopping 94 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, the show is both a critical and mass hit. Now, as someone who never quite hopped on the podcast train but does enjoy murder mysteries, I found the show original, witty and instantly captivating. The three protagonists played by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez (who also serve as executive producers on the show) are perfect foils for each other and form a lovable dynamic that draws you in.

Only Murders in The Building is the story of the death of Tim Kono who apparently died of suicide the same night a fire alarm goes off at the Arconia, the apartment building that is referred to in the show’s title. Charles Haden-Savage, Oliver Putnam and Mabel Mora, the three main characters played by Martin, Short and Gomez, suspect foul play and spurred by their shared love of true crime podcasts, decide to investigate Tim Kono’s death and create their own podcast documenting the journey. Charles Haden-Savage, played by Steve Martin, is a washed-up actor who used to play a fictional detective named “Brazzos” on a TV show. Martin Short’s Oliver Putnam is a Broadway producer with a string of failures and a lot of debt to his name. Mabel Mora, who Selena Gomez phenomenally brings to life, is a bit of an enigma, secretive and closed off with a tough exterior and sharp tongue. The only thing the three have in common, besides being somewhat isolated and lonely, is their love of one particular true crime podcast. The characters’ pasts are exposed to provide context for their present, ensemble characters come and go, the story twists and turns across a 10-episode season. There are multiple mysteries to solve, many different questions to answer and much to lose if it all ends without satisfactory answers.

Did I mention that the fall vibes on the show are immaculate? The show takes place in New York and you can feel the crisp autumnal air and the coziness of being inside shielded from the elements through the screen as you watch the characters run around NYC and the Arconia in their coats and scarves. Short’s Oliver Putnam sports a particularly memorable purple silk scarf. It’s the perfect show for the season. Also, quick side note: Mabel’s fashion on this show is impeccable. The show’s costume designer, Dana Covarrubias, wanted the character’s wardrobe to convey a sense of being wrapped in armor. In an article in Elle, Covarrubias states, “So she’s using these really bright colors in the same way as an animal with a brightly colored coat: ‘Beware. Danger. Leave me alone. Back off.’” A lot of Mabel’s looks are understated but noteworthy. Most of the pieces are also easily found for affordable prices if you just browse online. If anyone is in need of some fall wardrobe inspiration, definitely look to Mabel.

Along the way to the final reveal to the question of who killed Tim Kono, the show tackles the real world implications of true crime podcasts: the way publicity around certain cases can interfere with the work of law enforcement, the desensitization to violence amongst listeners, and the sensationalism for the purpose of creating an entertaining story with no regard for the humanity of the victim. Only Murders in the Building doesn’t take itself too seriously, or aim to provide answers to these issues, but it does provoke some thought into how true crime can serve up the real lives of real people for consumption.

Now that the finale has aired, the show is officially binge-able. I, for one, am looking forward to re-watching it so I can catch all the Easter eggs and clues I missed the first time around. Each character in the show serves a purpose and each red herring becomes all the more satisfying when looked at in hindsight. The wait for Season 2 is going to be torturously slow. But in the meantime, do yourself a favor and give this show your time.

Hi! I'm Dulani and I'm double majoring in International Studies & Sociology with a minor in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies at KU. I am an unapologetic introvert, pop culture nerd and the resident mom friend.
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