Our favourite sleuthing trio is BACK! Charles, Oliver and Mabel reunite for a second season, with another murder in that very building. And fun and games ensue, in very much the same vein as their first outing, with two colourful elderly gents and one pretty young woman in an extremely furry jacket multi-tasking away, trying their hand at a true crime podcast, while zeroing in on the killer.
Season one ended with a cliff-hanger. Bunny Folger, a disagreeable, opinionated resident of the tony Arconia, a building which adorns NY’s Upper West Side, is found staggering about with a knitting needle in her chest, the good stuff pooling out of a lethal wound. Mabel, clothes splattered in blood, is on the spot. Is she the killer? A homicide detective, who was also part of season one, pops up and darkly labels our pals Persons of Interest. Their neighbours are convinced that they are the ones whodunit. But we know better, don’t we? This time around, things are shaggier, a little all over the place, but the charm exuded by our pals and their pals, and their ability to see the big picture, is happily intact.
The hardest thing to pull off in a comical murder mystery – ‘Only Murders In The Building’, co-created and written by Steve Martin and John Hoffman, is likely to cement the genre — is to maintain the right degree of levity while acknowledging the serious business of unnatural death. After a short shaky start, season one had cracked that toughie, and we got reasons to smile and be appropriately thoughtful: a body needs respect, and our amateur detectives were nothing if not respectful towards the dead. But they were also full of their own quirks, and necessary irreverence, and their ability to poke fun at themselves helped us laugh with them as they went bumbling along the hidden passageways of their building, looking for their man. As we all know, it turned out to be a woman, and man, what a steamy murderer she turned out to be.
Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez, all of whom are executive producers on the series, along with Hoffman, Dan Fogelman, Jess Rosenthal, are clearly having a blast. And that’s the whole point. The eight advance episodes I have gleefully caught introduce us to new faces. Amongst them is a young woman Charles hasn’t seen in a long time, who may hold the key to an old secret; the very eye-catching Alice (Cara Delevingne), part of the city’s arty set, who gets up close and very personal with Mabel; and a close relative of the dead woman who can give tough competition to her foul-mouthed parrot. We also get glimpses of characters from the first season: a talky guy (Michael Cyril Creighton) who wears broad-checked sweaters and owns a cat; the victim herself, in flashback, revealing her sharp tongue but soft heart; a young man connected to a main character whose lineage may be in question; and the canny creator (Tina Fey) of a rival podcast.
There’s a lot more. But I’m going to let you discover the whole shebang for yourself, when this delicious Hulu original starts streaming on June 28 with the first two episodes. And wait for you to come upon a stunning set-piece, in which the Simon & Garfunkel classic ‘Hello Darkness My Old Friend’, wafts through the building, and every face lifts, every voice joins in, in that song for all time. I sang along.
Only Murders In The Building 2 cast: Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, Martin Short
Only Murders In The Building 2 creators: Steve Martin and John Hoffman