Roush Review: More ‘Murders in the Building,’ More Fun

Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building
Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

They’re killing it.

Not literally, mind you. But if being slayed by laughter is your thing, Season 2 of Hulu’s mystery-comedy Only Murders in the Building delivers. Just watch Martin Short hog the tabloid spotlight when he and his true-crime podcasting buds (Steve Martin and Selena Gomez) become persons of interest in a bloody murder. “They were wrong: Oliver Putnam can get arrested in this town — and oh baby, does that feel wonderful!”

Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, Amy Schumer, Shirley MacLaine, Martin Short in Only Murders in the Building

Barbara Nitke/Hulu

Truly, comic chemistry is a wonder to behold, and Murders displays it in abundance whenever Short’s has-been theater director mocks Martin as Charles, a sweetly befuddled former TV cop. “Oh, look at the wheels turn slowly. So slowly,” Oliver quips as Charles processes the latest plot twist. And there are many, as the mirthful musketeers of amateur sleuthing once again try to solve a puzzling murder in the Arconia, their landmark Upper West Side apartment building, with the help of millennial Mabel (Gomez, whose droll delivery has grown richer and funnier).

Mabel is the immediate prime suspect when her knitting needle is found sticking out of odious board president Bunny Folger (Jayne Houdyshell). But they’re all guilty of meddling in the Arconia’s mysterious past, as they discover secret passageways and clues involving an erotic painting and an observant potty-mouthed parrot.

Murders isn’t above poking fun at itself, with pointed jokes about sequels and second seasons—even reboots, with Charles’ newfound notoriety sparking interest in a revival of his old cop show, Brazzos. Not bad for someone whom casting directors had listed as “NA/dead.”

Some big names drop in to join the fun, including Amy Schumer (playing herself) as a new neighbor with designs on turning their podcast into a streaming series — how meta — and the legendary Shirley MacLaine as a haughty matron who remembers Brazzos as “a very good show to have on in the background when you’re dying.”

Murders, we should note, is its opposite: a show to die for.

Only Murders in the Building, Season 2 Premiere (two episodes), Tuesday, June 28, Hulu