What we’re obsessed with right now: ‘Only Murders in the Building’

A scene from "Only Murders In The Building," starring (from left) Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin
A scene from “Only Murders In The Building,” starring (from left) Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin.
(Craig Blankenhorn/HULU)

Selena Gomez, Martin Short and Steve Martin shine as unwitting detectives in the crime caper comedy on Hulu


San Diego Union-Tribune editors and writers share what they’re currently obsessing over.

What I’m obsessed with: “Only Murders in the Building,” a Hulu original series that follows three neighbors who live in a stately New York City apartment building called the Arconia and who share a love a true crime podcast called “All is Not OK in Oklahoma.” The unlikely trio — played by Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez — unite after a suicide at the Arconia that they deem suspicious to try and solve the “murder.”

Why? I’ll admit, the casting of pop star Selena Gomez alongside two comedy veterans intrigued me. When the project was first announced I was a little confused about what kind of project Gomez could possibly be filming with Martin and Short. It’s an unexpected turn for Gomez, and a smart one at that. If this was some kind of stunt casting designed to get publicity, it worked. But I was also pleasantly surprised to find that I genuinely enjoyed the show. I love the show’s NYC sensibility, and the good, old-fashioned “whodunit” crime caper plot has me hooked. And I was even more pleasantly surprised to feel like Gomez really held her own against these two powerhouses. Her character, Mabel, isn’t just there as a pretty face. She’s an integral part of the story and she delivers a performance of the same caliber as Martin and Short. And while both Martin and Short shine, Short’s performance as Oliver, a has-been director who’s secretly down on his luck, is particularly heartbreaking.

Familiar faces: The show abounds with fun cameos, from Tina Fey as the host of “All is Not OK in Oklahoma,” to Sting, as himself — a fellow resident of the Arconia. Nathan Lane and Jackie Hoffman also pop up as neighbors.

Why you should watch: The show is a love letter to NYC, and each character, even the side players, are layered, nuanced and sometimes mysterious — because just like every good crime caper, things are not always what they seem. Even though the true crime plot is heavy, it’s tinged with moments of lightness and comedy. Also, each episode is roughly 30 minutes long, which makes it an easy binge.

“Only Murders in the Building” debuted on Aug. 31 and airs a new episode every Tuesday on Hulu with the final one scheduled for Oct. 19. It’s already been renewed for a second season.