Only Murders in the Building Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Only Murders in the Building is a ten-episode comedy detective series that aired on Hulu. The main roles in the series were played by longtime friends Steve Martin and Martin Short. They start an amateur investigation, which is joined by Selena Gomez.

Only Murders in the building movie meaning

Genre comedy, detective
Creators Steve Martin, John Robert Hoffman
Starring Steve Martin (Charles Savage), Martin Short (Oliver Putnam), Selena Gomez (Mabel Mora), Julian Keahey (Tim Kono), Aaron Dominguez (Oscar), Amy Ryan (Jen), Tina Fey (Cindy), Jane Hodyshell (Bunny), Nathan Lane (Teddy), Sting (playing himself), and more.
Hulu Channel
Year of release 2021
Episodes 10

The action of the series takes place in New York: in a luxury apartment complex on the Upper West Side, a young man commits suicide. Police immediately closes the case, but three curious neighbors suggest that the tragedy involved the killer. The characters search for clues, suspect other residents of the house and record a podcast with various versions of why the perpetrator attacked the victim.

Far from being cronies, the characters in Murder in the Same Building are just strangers who hit it off over a love of audio documentary investigations. Charles (played by Steve Martin) is a cop show star from the ’90s who shuns people and approaches life with a lot of skepticism. Oliver (Martin Short) is an eccentric theater director who displays an overly friendly attitude. Mabel (Selena Gomez) is a typical millennial who prefers to be quiet.

One can get a sense of the direction the series will take from the first minutes of the pilot. The characters will sarcasm about the peculiarities of life in New York, and the camera will emphasize the acute sense of loneliness in the big city. Soon it will add topical jokes about popular podcasts and the oddities of famous people you might meet in the elevator of your house. For example, the singer Sting, who does not show favor to good-natured neighbors.


The showrunner of the series is Steve Martin, who also stars in the lead role alongside comedian Martin Short. The actors have known each other for years, they starred together in Father Of The Bride in the early 1990s, and in 2018 they presented a stage show about friendship (it can be found on Netflix under the title An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your Life).

On their own, Steve Martin and Martin Short can’t investigate with the rigor of Scandinavian sleuths. Their characters bore each other, try to rub off on each other and organize a creative process inspired by a gruesome murder. Perhaps that’s the best thing about the show – the witty interplay between two comedians who are behind the current trends and yet comfortable in the metropolis. Selena Gomez plays a girl of a different generation who can barely stand the enthusiasm of her new friends, yet continues to be part of the annoying company.


Only Murders in the Building is a crime story where the detective line will never become more important than the irony. Probably, the capture of the killer can disappoint viewers, but in such comedies, the criminal component of the series works only as a fertile ground for funny lines and funny situations. All of them are devoted to New York with its cozy interiors (the apartments of the main characters deserve special attention), strange passers-by, hot neighborhoods and loud sounds coming from the street.

The series also has a wonderful splash screen, which conveys the light atmosphere of the series. This comedy detective movie is very fast-paced, so it’s perfect for weekends.


Witty interaction between Steve Martin and Martin Short; jokes about podcasts; irony about the peculiarities of the city; screen saver

Catching the killer can be frustrating


“Murders in the Same Building” is a lighthearted series about life in New York City that does comedy much better than detective.

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