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It feels like there’s a little bit of once-in-a-blue-moon magic in Only Murders in the Building, the new Steve Martin/Martin Short/Selena Gomez series that blends a New Yorker magazine sensibility and a grisly murder mystery with almost impossibly pleasurable results.

As the title promises, there is a murder in the building, and three residents with too much time on their hands (and a shared addiction to the identical true-crime podcast) promptly set about both solving the mystery of the murder and (of course) creating their own podcast about doing so. 

The mystery is appealingly complicated (there are flashbacks—because these days, there have to be) and the show is rich in physical detail: the pre-war apartments are swimming in covetable crown moulding and wallpaper and bookcases. Clues are dropped all over the place, but the story is put together in such a “let’s-put-on-a-show” fashion that it’s fun to let yourself follow the wrong trail for a bit.  

Through the first three episodes, Short is the MVP as a never-was-been theater director giving hilarious “notes” to washed-up actor Martin as he narrates their nascent podcast. Gomez is no slouch either. She holds her own with Martin and Short—hers is really the central role and she walks off with scenes simply by rolling her eyes in true Millennial fashion at the oxygen-depleting hamboniness of the other two leads.

Despite its occasional fizzy, old-fashioned charm, the whole affair is more somber than you might initially think, drenched in melancholy (each character has A Past, or at least A Problem) and it’s got a seriously burnished-with-regret gloom going on from time to time. 

The whole thing feels like a very expensive box of candy given to you as a gift by someone who has a lot more money than you do. You know it’s very very limited and very very delicious, so you eat each piece with a little bit of regret because after this little box of it, there’ll be no more.

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About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • My husband has been nagging our circle of friends to watch this. Ok. You two win.

  • Which streaming service is it on? It sounds wonderful!

    • In Australia it’s on Disney+ (one of the few streaming services we don’t have….yet!)

    • It is streaming on Hulu.

  • Only Murders In Thee Building is a great surprise. So much to love.
    And your description that it’s like like a box of decadent, expensive chocolate is right on.

  • I started the first episode and stopped so I could rewatch with my other half. I thought the first was great and so glad it will be like a very expensive and limited box of chocolates. I think somethings are much better because they have an end in mind.

  • I binged the three episodes the day they became available and it’s everything you said + Nathan Lane!!
    p.s. I always look forward to your column on the weekends.

  • Dang it, we don’t have Hulu. May have to sign up for it. This looks like it may be a great series.

    • They offer free trials all the time, usually for a week, I think, so you could definitely watch this and then REMEMBER TO CANCEL, which is in caps because I often don’t remember.

      • The first three were released at once, but it’s one-per-week for the rest of the run, so if you do the free trial thing, wait until the show is finished releasing new episodes. Then you can just binge it.

  • We don’t have Hulu but I love Steve Martin and Martin Short together so may have to sign up when it gets cold outside /

  • Yes, this!! The first three episodes were absolutely delightful – they hit the fantastic sweet spot of so amusing yet interesting from the start – no ‘first episode doubt’ for this one.

  • You forgot to mention the fabulous sweater Gomez wears in Episode 2. The red sweater in Episode 3 is no sloucher either though it looks machine made.

  • I’d watch except that Steve Martin and Martin Short are in it. Not for me. I’d rather purl an entire sweater.

    • I laughed til I cried at this comment, me too!

      • watching the trailer removed any reluctance….

  • OMG – you nailed it! A special piece of chocolate. To be savored and then regret it’s over. I love this show! (have to ignore the f-bombs, but still enjoy the show)

  • Mabel, Selena’s character, talks about using a knitting needle as a weapon. So we’re all pretty much obligated to watch this series just on that.

  • This is an entertaining interview with Martin Short that aired today. I’m going to start watching this show tonight!

  • Sounds like a fun series. Hope it does not distract from knitting.

  • This sounds wonderful to knit to, thanks for the info.

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