Read this before ‘Only Murders in the Building’ episode 3 drops!

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

New York’s favorite sleuthing trio is back for season trois of Only Murders in the Building! And what a season it promises to be with the talented Paul Rudd and the Meryl Streep joining in on the fun with Steve Martin (Charles Haden-Savage), Martin Short (Oliver Putnam), and Selena Gomez (Mabel Mora) in a fresh season of crime-solving hijinks in Manhattan.

Fans surely missed the hilarious and oftentimes heartwarming antics of three unlikely friends—a has-been actor, a disgraced theater director, and a twenty-something lost soul—who have twice found themselves solving a murder mystery together, while making a hit podcast out of it along the way.

The indefatigable Meryl Streep joins the stellar cast as theater actress Loretta Durkin.

Season 3’s two-episode pilot finds two new characters on the opposite ends of the spectrum. First, we have successful actor Ben Glenroy, played in a hilarious larger-than-life manner by Rudd (still likable despite his obnoxious character). Then we have Loretta Durkin, an aging theater actress who is still waiting for her one big break on Broadway after playing bit roles for most of her lackluster career. Brought to life by the formidable Streep, it’s hilarious just thinking of the dissonance at play. After years of living a life characterized by “near-misses,” Loretta finally gets a chance at the spotlight by bagging a major role in Oliver’s comeback Broadway play, Death Rattle.

Things go haywire, however, when Ben literally falls dead while on center stage during opening night—a scene teased at the end of season two—extinguishing Loretta’s shot at Broadway stardom and setting off another exhilarating round of whodunit for our neighbors-turned-sleuths-turned-podcasters-turned friends.

A one-year time skip also adds a layer of freshness to the story. Charles and Oliver lead busier-than-usual lives with the revival of their careers, which leaves their millennial buddy Mabel feeling left behind.

It turns out he wasn’t really dead. But by the end of episode 2, he really is dead as the murderer puts him in the elevator shaft of the Arconia and, as if on cue, the ceiling collapses as our podcasters hurriedly step outside. And our Broadway murder has settled deliciously into the building.

OMITB’s formula has found overwhelming success in the past two seasons, earning a slew of awards and nominations from major award-giving bodies. At the end of another critically acclaimed second season, the showrunners must have found themselves faced with a gargantuan task: staying true to the formula which endeared the shows to its legions of fans, while making sure the very same formula doesn’t run stale.

Who killed Ben Glenroy?
Who killed Ben Glenroy?

Hence, the brilliant decision to introduce talented actors playing a most interesting motley crew of characters into the mix. Aside from headliners Streep and Rudd and actors reprising their roles as Arconia residents, they are joined by the cast and crew of Death Rattle, including mother-son producers Donna and Cliff Demeo (Linda Emond and Wesley Taylor), influencer/actress Kimber (Ashley Park), Ben’s brother/PA Dickie (Jeremy Shamos), filmmaker Tobert (Jesse Williams), and Jonathan (Jason Veasey), the thespian boyfriend of fan favorite and Arconia’s resident rumormonger and cat-lover Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton), who’s now Oliver’s assistant.

So, who killed Ben Glenroy? It’s not hard to come up with a list of possible suspects. Anyone on the Death Rattle team has a motive to drop the curtain, if you will, on the unlikeable CoBro (a funny reference to Rudd’s Ant-Man).

Season 3 of OMITB makes the world its stage, with the setting moving beyond the familiar corridors of the Arconia into the frenetic backstage and cluttered dressing rooms of Broadway. The beloved Arconia is still at the heart of it all, though, with Ben moving into the apartment once occupied by guest stars Sting and Amy Schumer.

Only Murders in the Building stars
“Who are we without a homicide?” Mabel asks. What is the Arconia without a crime scene?

A one-year time skip also adds a layer of freshness to the story. Charles and Oliver lead busier-than-usual lives with the revival of their careers, which leaves their millennial buddy Mabel feeling left behind. She lets this sentiment out loud by asking Charles and Oliver, “Who are we without a homicide?”

And in a deft stroke of storytelling, it doesn’t feel it’s contrived when a murder falls on the trio’s lap—or shall we say on top of their heads—again, bringing them closer together once more. Of course, how can there be a crime without a podcast?

Since it dropped on Hulu (Disney+ here in the Philippines), the third season of Only Murders in the Building has been met with glowing reviews, earning an impressive 99% critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Lili Loofbourow of The Washington Post described the season as “a pleasant surprise: less frenetic, more confident and more character-driven.” Meanwhile, G. Allen Johnson of The San Francisco Times said, “The scripts for season three are just as strong and funny as the first two seasons, and the chemistry between Martin, Short and Gomez never flags.”

Martin Short in Only Murders in the Building
Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) is all set for his directorial comeback on Broadway with Death Rattle.

The addition of Streep and Rudd unsurprisingly drew in its own fair share of praises. “It’s noticeable how well a pair of illustrious additions to this season—Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd—fit into the screwball platter while getting multiple chances to shine in their own way. Big ticks all around,” enthused Craig Mathieson of The Age (Australia). Peter Travers of ABC News also heaped praises upon OMITB’s newest characters, saying, “Season 3 of this wicked, whacked-out whodunit spins ragged silliness into comic gold.”

Many successful series start tanking as the seasons go by. After watching the first episode of season three of Only Murders in the Building, however, I feel confident that the newest season will continue delivering on what has been its enduring hallmarks—a comedy crime series that manages to be at the same time hilarious yet heartwarming, exciting yet familiar, not so different from a warm, comforting hug. 

Let the show begin!

Associate Editor

The new lifestyle.