Murder mysteries can be a great vehicle for drama and exploring characters. The series Only Murders in the Building (Disney+) adds comedy to the mix and it became irresistible to me. I only started watching because I was bored. Then I became quite intrigued and invested. I discovered there was an extra layer that you don’t see right away. The hidden tragedies of people’s lives.
Murder in apartment
Only Murders in the Building stars two old-time comedians (one of whom is a banjo player) and a young actress (and singer). It’s an odd combination and it really made me realise that Steve Martin and Martin Short are now old. Old! Which means I am also getting … old! But at least I still know who Selena Gomez is. Barely. Anyway, it seems like an odd combination, but their characters all live in the same apartment building. They share an interest in true crime stories and then true crime comes to them. Someone in the building gets murdered. Or was it suicide?
Only Murders in the Building is a thrilling ‘find the killer’ tv series
So the trio goes sleuthing. And viewers discover something new about each resident of the building that could be tied to the victim. Or not. They think they are suited to do this, because they all love a podcast series about true crime. Obviously, listening to a podcast by an amateur-detective (who is probably only trying to make it profitable) makes them super-good at this. They even think they can make a successful podcast about the crime themselves. And with each episode we as viewers also come a little closer to learning more about the residents and the three neighbours.
Plenty of characters and suspects
Even though the main story in Only Murders in the Building is about the murder and finding the killer, there is enough backstory on the three main characters to keep you guessing. Charles is an actor, who at one time played a cop on a popular tv series. He’s not had that kind of recognition since, and relishes the few times someone still asks for an autograph. Oliver is a bit of a neurotic man, who was a theatre director. And Mabel seems to have some connection to the whole case. Between them they already have enough drama going on. But then they start to find out about the other people in the building.
As you can imagine, there are many different characters living in the apartment building. And as can be expected, there are some great actors attached to those. To start with, there is Nathan Lane (you might know his voice from The Lion King), Amy Schumer (Saturday Night Live), Sting (from the band The Police) and Cara Delevigne (I don’t know what I particularly know her from, but I know I’ve watched something else she was in). It’s just very nice to see what they bring to the story.
Stories from New York
The series Only Murders in the Building is set in New York, by the way. Though the building does not exist as we see it in the series, the building is a landmark in New York. It also has an interesting history, that rivals the fictional building’s events. New York is a very diverse and international city, which sets the perfect background for this series. There are celebrities, regular people and lots of stories.
What I like about Only Murders in the Building is that it’s a mix of everything I enjoy. Weird characters with interesting backstories, who may or may not be involved in crimes and murder. Humor, because you have two great actors who understand that drama and comedy are basically the same. And you keep guessing who the actual murderer is. Yes, sometimes it may feel like you’re being fooled or not told the whole story, but that is because this is fiction. It is entertaining. It’s nicely paced and for a crime series, oddly comforting.