Only Murders in the Building: Reviewed


Only Murders in the Building has become one of Hulu’s most popular original series; read further to learn more about its intriguing, fast-paced story.

(No spoilers)

Only Murders in the Building is a Hulu original series that describes three strangers befriending one another as they create a true crime podcast about the murder they are investigating in their building. The series has become the most popular comedy on the streaming service ever, and a season two is already confirmed to come out this summer. With that said, how does the TV show hold up to its reputation?

As a mystery-comedy, the show has to constantly keep a balance of interests and laughs throughout its runtime, and it does this well. Some comedic elements throughout the story also drive the plot, and the character’s acknowledgement of this only makes it funnier. The main mystery of the story, which is who killed unpopular building resident Tim Kono, is gradually revealed over each of the ten-episodes before it is finished on a mostly-satisfying conclusion. The only reason why it is not perfect is because there is quite a big cliffhanger at the very end of the season, but with a second installment on the way, the plot is improved by this.

The story is set at The Arconia, a fictional, old, upscale apartment building in the Upper West Side of New York City. Based on a real building called “The Belnord”, it serves as a memorable setting with its massive size and sinister secrets that are slowly fleshed out as the story progresses. While the characters do travel around New York, the events of the story always lead back to The Arconia, its residents, and its mysteries.

The story starts when the residents of The Arconia are forced outside for a couple of hours as police sort out the supposed suicide that had recently occurred. Charles, an ex-tv star, Oliver, a struggling director, and Mabel, a young woman living in her aunt’s apartment, all bond over their love of true crime podcasts, and eventually decide to look into the death of their neighbor, Kono. What they find sets off a chain reaction of events that reveal not only other crimes that have occurred within the building, but the backstories and secrets of its residents.

For the vast majority of its runtime, the plot is fast-paced, but it does slow down a bit in the middle of the season to introduce new characters and further flesh-out the old ones. One of the charming things about the show is that a lot of the jokes are aimed at the plot and character decisions in a fun-meta way. However, it never tones down the overarching mystery, and suspense continues throughout every episode, even if the characters do go on separate side-investigations at times. Only Murders in the Building is a good example of the literary device called “Chekhov’s Gun” in which every major detail plays at least some role in the overall story. This might be the reason why the show is so popular because it keeps viewers interested by referencing past events and continually adding details onto the original mystery.

With so many overarching elements and plot continuity, Only Murders in the Building makes the viewer feel as if it were an actual investigation playing out before them. While it does tend to lose a bit of focus mid-way through the season, it never wastes this time and instead spends it either on the characters or on the clues that help bring everything into focus at the very end. Out of 10 on the Mariani Television Scale (MTS), with 0 being absolutely unwatchable, 5 being very average, and 10 being perfection, I would give Only Murders in the Building an 8.4 for its intrigue and wit. The TV series is best for those who enjoy the mystery genre, comedic characters, and lots of plot twists. Make sure to check out season two, which premieres this summer on June 28th on Hulu.