Co-created by Steve Martin, Hulu’s newest quirky drama “Only Murders in the Building” follows three unlikely friends and true-crime junkies as they band together to try to solve a murder in their own apartment complex, the Arconia (which is as much of a character in the series as anyone else).
Steven Martin plays Charles-Haden Savage, a reclusive TV actor still grasping at his ‘80s fame from a police procedural. The other half of Martin’s comedic duo, Martin Short, portrays Oliver Putnam, an aging (and very broke) theater producer whose financial issues have devastated pretty much all of his personal and professional relationships. The two are joined by an unexpected addition, Selena Gomez’s Mabel Mora, a mysterious young adult who can somehow afford to live in a luxury building and whose personal relationship to the deceased is something she’d rather keep secret.
The series is pretty unique in comparison to other crime dramas, with an older film noir feel tinged with modernized, true-crime fanaticism. While I could wax poetic about the color palette, the pacing, and the music, I’d much rather discuss the best suspects (that we know of so far) in the Arconia.
Spoilers ahead, obviously.
Who Killed Tim Kono?
Here’s what we know: Tim Kono was a wealthy, seemingly successful businessman and Mabel’s childhood friend. He was also very disliked within the Arconia, and his death doesn’t seem to have made a dent in the lives of the residents. While at first it looks as though his death was a suicide, that’s what our trio is trying to prove didn’t happen.
Now on to what we don’t know: Was Tim’s death personal or just business? What is Mabel hiding? Is Jan a sweet and eccentric bassoon player, or something more sinister? Who is the figure in the tie-dye hoodie going up the stairs as everyone goes down during the fire alarm evacuation? Why does Oliver eat so many dips?
I won’t scratch Howard off the list just yet, especially because of the weird timeline with (what we suspect are) Evelyn’s footprints in Tim’s blood, but he does seem pretty tame compared to the rest of our list of suspects. While Howard does seem like a lovable cat owner, I wouldn’t write off a more nefarious side to him that we haven’t seen yet (nor would I put it past any of the residents present at Tim’s memorial service).
This is going to sound bad, but I had to Google who Sting was before watching episode 4 (I know, I know – Gen Z is the worst). After falling down a rabbit hole and listening to most of The Police’s discography (as well as that weird medieval lute and poetry phase he seems to have gone through during his solo days), I was primed and ready to watch the episode featuring the famous rock star. And honestly, while the ugly financial business does still technically make him a suspect in Tim’s death, I’m not entirely convinced he’s solely responsible. I do continue to wonder if he was responsible for poisoning Oliver’s dog and the scary note that was left, but I guess we’ll find out.
In my humble opinion, Mabel is the sketchiest part of this whole case. The twist of her knowing Tim all along really surprised me, and I have an inkling there are many more unexpected things yet to be revealed. It’s evident that Mabel and Tim were pretty close at one time, and that she was upset with him for either not caring or from moving on from Zoe’s mysterious death and Oscar’s imprisonment.
Then there’s the mysterious engagement ring and the weird chemistry between Mabel and Oscar during the flashback scenes...most of it probably won’t add up until the finale, but I don’t trust Mabel farther than I can throw her. It also bothers me to no end that we haven’t seen her mysterious aunt yet and that her apartment is pretty dilapidated.
To me as a viewer, Oliver’s story is really compelling. While it’s obvious that both he and Charles are clearly still stuck in their glory days, all of Oliver’s mistakes and poor decisions are threatening to catch up with him sooner rather than later. There’s the career that ended in shambles, the gorgeous luxury apartment he really can’t afford...maybe by capitalizing on Tim Kono’s death, he thinks he’ll be able to retrieve the fame and recognition he once had as a reputable producer. But could he have played a bigger part in Tim’s death than we think?
Zoe’s Killer Is Tim’s Killer
Through flashbacks, we learn that the Hardy Boys were facing some internal conflict right before Zoe’s unexpected death.
We see Mabel and Zoe taking pictures before a holiday party, which is the same picture used to inform us that Mabel has known Tim Kono all along. It’s later revealed that Zoe and her boyfriend Oscar were having issues right before her untimely death – and that Mabel might have caused those issues due to a possible burgeoning attraction between her and Oscar (which I hope is explored more when Oscar gets out of prison). Zoe is later pushed off the roof and falls to her death, but we still don’t know who’s responsible. Oscar obviously took the fall for her murder, either willingly or because he was wrongly accused, and is getting released from prison just as the investigation into Tim Kono’s death begins. It’s entirely possible that whoever killed Zoe also killed Tim Kono, but I have my theories…
Is it just me, or is there something off about Cinda Canning!? Maybe it’s because episode 4 closes with her narrating the case, suggesting that she’s either taken over the whole investigation or that something’s happened to Charles, Oliver, and Mabel. Then there’s her weird office with all the doppelganger assistants...is it possible that she smelled a podcast success in the making and sabotaged the trio’s detective work so she could take over? We’ll see.
I’ve been hooked on this series from the very beginning, and I’m looking forward to having all my theories confirmed or disproved and my questions answered.
Now for the question I’ve been wanting to ask all along: Who do you think killed Tim Kono?
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