Martin’s Charles is a former TV star — his criminal history past comes in handy — who’s essentially become a recluse. Reluctantly, he catches up with Short’s Oliver, a cash-strapped theater director, when the two are forced to leave their building after one of the residents has been murdered.
Before long, they teamed up with a mysterious and much younger neighbor, Mabel (Gomez), and devised elaborate plans not only to solve the case, but to turn their findings into a true crime podcast.
The big names don’t end with the central trio, which attracts cameos from the likes of Tina Fey, Nathan Lane and Amy Ryan, as well as a certain rock star who is one of the understandably observant residents of the building.
As with movies like Allen’s “Manhattan Murder Mystery” (one of the more obvious comparisons, though there are plenty), the idea that it takes a life-and-death situation to get the blood pumping is clearly evident here. . Despite his grumbles, Charles notes that continuing the investigation is “the most vivid I’ve felt in ten years.”
Martin and Short’s long band includes “Father of the Bride” and “The Three Amigos,” but Gomez (who ostensibly replaces Chevy Chase) proves to be a good fit for this veteran couple, as Mabel harbors her own secrets. — starting with how a young woman can afford to live alone in this building — that plays into the story.
Hulu hasn’t made the final episodes available, so it remains to be seen if the payout improves the journey; yet the underlying mystery is almost beside the point, even if the victim’s name, “Tim Kono”, is repeated so many times that it would make for a pretty good drinking game.
As a writer, Martin has always displayed eclectic tastes, and “Only Murders” reflects a playful extension of those sensibilities. In a nice dichotomy, it’s a return to an earlier kind of entertainment, but all about podcasts and running on a newfangled streaming service. Basically, the place where you would expect a wild and crazy guy and his friends these days.
“Only Murders in the Building” premieres August 31 on Hulu.