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The Hollywood Insider Only Murders in the Building Review, Selena Gomez

Photo: ‘Only Murders in the Building’

‘Only Murders in the Building’ – What’s It All About?

You take a gruesome murder case, one Upper West Side apartment complex, and three bold individuals who all have a similar passion for true crime and alas, ‘Only Murders in the Building’ was born. This show somehow found the perfect balance between satiric comedy and murder mystery all amidst the dreamy (and sometimes brash) culture of New York City. Starring Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez, the unlikely trio goes to investigate the death in their building which has been deemed a textbook suicide.

After getting a closer look at the body who they recognize to be one of their neighbors, Tim Kono (‘The Tick’), the trio is certain there is far more to the story. They are determined to search for the killer that they are certain lives amongst them in their building. They unlock their expertise in crime-solving by taking matters into their own hands, and recording all their findings on their very own true-crime podcast. 

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Breakdown of the Three Protagonists 

The show stars Steve Martin as Charles, a washed-up and down-on-his-luck actor who was once famous for his procedural crime show in which he played a detective. He often gets recognized on the streets for his famous character “Brazzos”, but when it comes to securing his next gig, no one in town is willing to hire him. Martin not only stars in the show but wrote and created it alongside John Hoffman (‘Grace and Franke’, ‘Looking’). When creating the series, he mentioned on a Zoom panel for the Television Critics Association that it originally was not set to be a comedy, “If you had cast three serious actors, it’d be a very different show. The comedy just occurred through the writing and through the performances. This is one of the most unusual things I’ve ever done because it actually has a plot, I usually don’t do things with plots,” he joked.

Fellow comedian and Academy Award-winning actor Martin Short joined the cast as Oliver, the chirpy yet struggling Broadway director who is minutes away from going bankrupt after the flop of his last musical “Splash!”. He sees that making a podcast of solving this murder will be a way for him to stay relevant while also resolving his financial hardships. This isn’t the first time Short and Martin have worked alongside each other. In fact, ‘Only Murders in the Building’ adds on to the long list of projects the two have collaborated on since the 1980s. They starred together in the 1986 comedy ‘Three Amigos!’ as well as both ‘Father of the Bride’ films which premiered in the ’90s. Most recently the two co-starred in their Netflix comedy special, ‘An Evening You Will Forget For the Rest of Your Life’ which was nominated for four Emmys. 

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The last piece to the puzzle comes in the form of the secretive and aloof Mabel Mora, played by no other than Selena Gomez. Her millennial character is the perfect complement alongside Martin and Short and brings fresh air to the show, making it something that viewers old and young could enjoy alike. Mabel has always been a fan of mysteries and even labeled her childhood friends as “The Hardy Boys”  where the four friends went on adventures solving made-up crimes. Mabel currently has a lot on her plate as she has taken on the task of using her artistic abilities to redo her aunt’s apartment, while also harboring a dark secret that may turn her investigation into a completely new direction…if she chooses to tell the truth. It’s completely refreshing to see Gomez back on screen considering she has more recently pursued her music career rather than projects on screen. She doesn’t miss a beat as she struts down the streets of Manhattan in bold shades of yellow, with an attitude of gold, ready to tackle whatever hurdles her character has to maneuver. 

By the end of the first episode, we are given a few breadcrumbs that leave viewers wondering if our three protagonists are exactly who they say they are. Suspicions rise, as this eerie quote is spoken in the final moments of the pilot, “A great true crime mystery unpeels itself like an onion. First the crime, then the characters, and then their secrets. The secrets are the fun part; who’s telling the truth? Who’s lying? What are they hiding? Cause let’s be honest, sometimes it’s easier to figure out someone else’s secret than it is to deal with your own.”

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What We Can Expect This Season

As if an implausible triad of characters and a dead body on their hands isn’t exciting enough, perhaps these elements of what we can expect in upcoming episodes will leave you wanting more. Thanks to IMDb, and a little bit of digging, viewers can delightedly expect a slew of exciting guest stars. If you didn’t catch it in the first three episodes, the famous singer Sting made a brief appearance (as himself) as he is reportedly one of the tenants in the building…which also makes him a murder suspect. Amy Ryan (‘The Wire’, ‘The Office’) stars as Jan who makes an appearance in every episode of this first season. Perhaps we can expect a budding romance between her and Steve Martin’s character if we take into account the courteous conversation the two had in the elevator.

Jayne Houdyshell (‘Little Women’) plays Bunny, the cranky owner of the show’s apartment building who is eager to evict Oliver considering how late each of his payments is. Then there’s Michael Cyril Creighton (‘Dash and Lily’, ‘Game Night’) who plays the hilarious Howard who is heartbroken over the passing of his sweet cat Evelyn, perhaps even a little too heartbroken, considering there was also the death of an actual human that occurred just hours prior. We can even expect to see Tina Fey who allegedly is set to help our protagonists in their investigation, considering she is the host of the true-crime podcast the three all originally bonded over.

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Along with exciting guest stars, we can also excitedly expect a romantic co-star for Miss Gomez. Aaron Dominguez (‘Two Sides’) will star as Oscar, Mabel’s friend since childhood who was also one of the four “Hardy Boys”. He is recently being released from prison after having been convicted for murdering the other female counterpart of their childhood friend group. Viewers will have to be patient however to see if his conviction was wrongful or not. Cozy photos of Gomez and Dominguez were taken on set while the two were filming ‘Only Murders in the Building’. While the romance was strictly business, it’ll be exciting to see this more mature and sophisticated side of Gomez that perhaps hasn’t been portrayed on screen quite yet.

New episodes of ‘Only Murders in the Building’ premiere each Tuesday night on Hulu.

Cast: Selena Gomez, Martin Short, Steve Martin

Creators: John Hoffman, Steve Martin

Producer: Dan Fogelman 

By Alexa Sutherland

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