Review: 'Only Murderers in the Building' Still Kills in Season 3
Matthew Creith READ TIME: 3 MIN.
In the ever-progressive landscape of streaming choices as of late, it's often expected that some of these television shows falter a bit the longer they stay on. Some characters get tiresome, some don't amount to anything of note in the long run, and some storylines get lost in the shuffle. That is why many streamers like Netflix and Max have chosen the limited series route, as with the Emmy-nominated "Beef" and "Love & Death."
However, Hulu has stuck with its elite series, "Only Murders in the Building," and thank goodness. Season 3 of this mystery dramedy returns to the streamer on August 8th, bringing with it some of the finest work the show has ever produced.
The concept of "Only Murders in the Building" is as quirky as it gets. Two veteran show business hacks, television's Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin) and Broadway director Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), solve murders with their neighbor Mabel (Selena Gomez) that just so happen to occur in their Upper West Side apartment building. The three started a podcast aptly named "Only Murders in the Building," which became a hit in the true crime community. The two previous seasons brought suspicious characters to the forefront of their inquiries, and big names have graced the small screen to eke out an ensemble like Amy Ryan, Cara Delevingne, Mark Consuelos, Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Sting, Jane Lynch, Amy Schumer, Andrea Martin, Paul Rudd, and legend Shirley MacLaine.
But Season 3 starts with a bang right where Season 2 left off, along with guest stars too big to exist on one television show. Spoiler alert for those that haven't binged the second season: There's a flash forward of one year where Oliver is directing a big play on Broadway starring Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd), who suspiciously dies on stage during opening night. It's another murder to solve for the famed trio, but the first episode of Season 3 thrusts twists and turns into the narrative that keeps the audience guessing. The entire season circles around Rudd's narcissistic thespian alter ego and what happens to him, setting up a treasure trove of suspects, including Broadway personalities and Ben's family members.
The standout addition to this new season is the incomparable Meryl Streep, returning to television after roles in "Big Little Lies" and the little-seen "Extrapolations." Streep plays Loretta Durkin, a veteran actress who never got a big break until she gets the chance of a lifetime to audition for Oliver's new Broadway show, "Death Rattle." Season 3 practically opens with Loretta's monologue, a showstopper that only Streep's caliber could muster. Unlike previous seasons where major celebrities were relegated to guest star status, this new season ensures that Streep, Michael Cyril Creighton, Jackie Hoffman, Paul Rudd, and "Grey's Anatomy" alum Jesse Williams are treated more like featured supporting players. However, there are some juicy guest stars to be excited about.
"Only Murders in the Building" has not lost a step as it ushers in a witty third season of what will hopefully be a long-running series for Hulu. Martin, Short, and Gomez have never been better – especially Gomez, who has more time to shine opposite Jesse Williams in pivotal moments. Steven Martin has a plethora of scenes singing and dancing his way to being a Broadway sensation, while Martin Short excels at giving the most frustrated Broadway director character imaginable.
The series continues to be high budget with its clever whodunit premise, harnessing comedy chops to be more creative with musicality built into its Broadway-themed episodes. Surrounding a world of Broadway and murder, the trio's investigation sometimes becomes convoluted, but the show bends an arc worth examining. It concentrates heavily on the three leads' relationships with each other and outside parties without becoming overwhelming. The first eight episodes are a delightful mix of conspiracy and humor, largely thanks to its fantastic, ever-growing ensemble.
"Only Murderers in the Building" Season 3 premieres on Hulu Aug. 8.