7 Times ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Hit Close to Home for True Crime Buffs

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

Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building puts a new twist on the classic murder mystery with its story centering around podcasts, murders, and unlikely friends.

Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) embody what it means to be a true crime buff. Mabel’s passion for mysteries is particularly relatable with her collection of Hardy Boys books and life-size cutout of Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) from SVU. The show’s well-blended combination of humor and mystery makes it the perfect choice for true crime buffs looking for a new obsession.

Scroll down for the seven times the Hulu Original has hit close to home so far for anyone who’s ever been into true crime.

Only Murders in the Building, Tuesdays, Hulu

Only Murders in the Building Hulu Charles Oliver Mabel

The Classic 'Whodunnit'

The show is a classic “whodunnit,” a beloved concept for true crime buffs. After all, who doesn’t love trying to solve the case before the characters put all the puzzle pieces together? There’s no better feeling than yelling “I knew it!” at the television after the killer is caught. By incorporating a spoofy take on the booming podcast landscape — with the characters discussing what they’ve put together — the show gives a fresh spin on the age-old detective story.

Only Murders in the Building Hulu Charles

Mundane Openings

At the beginning of Episode 1, the main characters are introduced by giving their own narrations of life in New York City. These narrations are reminiscent of the way many true crime podcasts open with a glimpse into the mundane ongoings of a person or place before delving into the gruesome details of a case. For Only Murders in the Building, these introductions allow viewers a look into the characters’ everyday lives before they’re thrust into the middle of a murder mystery.

Only Murders in the Building Hulu Mabel

Homage to The Hardy Boys

Many true crime buffs attribute the start of their obsession to juvenile mystery novels, and the show pays homage to these beginnings. The story of the Hardy Boys holds a special place in Mabel’s heart as it appears to be where her passion for true crime originated. Mabel and her former friends even called themselves the Hardy Boys and pretended to solve fake crimes. Now, Mabel is no longer playing pretend as her new pack tries to solve a real murder.

Only Murders in the Building Hulu Charles Oliver

Music of Mysteries

The score of the show is noticeably reliant on the piano, a trend that is common with music in true crime podcasts. For listeners, the piano tune heard in scene transitions may seem familiar as it heavily resembles the main theme of Serial, one of the most well-known true crime podcasts. It’s clear that even through the score, Only Murders in the Building took heavy inspiration from the world of true crime podcasts.

Only Murders in the Building Hulu Cinda Canning Tina Fey

A Host of Similarities

The music isn’t the only aspect of the show that shows influence from Serial. The fictional podcast All is Not OK in Oklahoma is what originally brought Charles, Oliver, and Mabel together. Its host, Cinda Canning (Tina Fey), dubbed the “queen of murder podcasts,” likely reminds viewers of the host of Serial, Sarah Koenig. The obvious resemblance is the pronunciations of the two surnames, but Cinda also resembles Koenig’s looks with dark hair and glasses.

Only Murders in the Building Hulu Charles Oliver Mabel

Oliver's Tips

A spoofy insider look to true crime podcasts is often seen through Oliver’s passion for creating the show. He uses his phone, or sometimes a boom mic, to try to capture everything on record for their show. Oliver constantly talks about what makes a good podcast and, although he’s dramatic, he’s typically right. Most noticeably is the final statement of Episode 6 when Charles points out how their biggest donor is now their lead suspect, to which Oliver says, “That’ll make a great last line for an episode.” The show then cuts to the credits, thus proving his point.

Only Murders in the Building Hulu Charles Oliver Mabel

Becoming the Detective

The show presents a situation that many true crime buffs would love to stumble upon: the opportunity to solve a murder. After spending countless hours learning about killers, cases, and clues, a good number of true crime buffs have an extensive knowledge of such crimes and believe they have what it takes to solve a case. As far as Only Murders in the Building goes, do you have what it takes to figure out “whodunnit” before Steve, Oliver, and Mabel?