Only Murders In The Building season 3 review: Another killer watch

I used a vacation day to watch this season and have no regrets

Martin Short as Oliver in Only Murders in the Building season 3
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Patrick Harbron/Hulu)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Only Murders in the Building season 3 provides another set of twists and turns with the delightful and eccentric residents of the Arconia. One plot may feel a bit undercooked, but everything else feels fantastic.


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    Gomez, Martin and Short all deliver strong performances

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    Surprising plot twists

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    Emotionally powerful reveal

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    Excellent new guests in Paul Rudd, Meryl Streep and more


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    A romance-heavy season felt a slightly repetitive

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    More Rudd would have been welcome

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Only Murders In The Building season 3 keeps a strong tradition alive, something it can't say about one of its best new cast members. As you may remember from season 2's ending, actor Ben (Paul Rudd) fell to the stage floor dead while performing with Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin).

Dryly, Mabel (Selena Gomez) cursed in surprise, "you've got to be f*cking kidding me," and we're off. That scene serves as solid preview for much of OMITB season 3, which embraces the theater for its new topic, following last season's blackout.

And this makes for a solid backdrop, as the cutthroat world of Broadway sets up plenty of potential killers. This season in particular shows that Only Murders' casting team deserves a ton of praise, as Rudd isn't entirely gone for the season thanks to flashbacks. Plus, new cast member Meryl Streep is a stellar addition. 

If this Only Murders In The Building season 3 review could point to one big flaw, though, it's that each of the subplots for Charles, Mabel and Oliver being romance-based risks a bit of same-same. But each is so good that I can't really feel that bad. 

Oh, and don't worry about spoilers, there's none of those to worry about. I wouldn't dare ruin any reveals for this latest season of one of the best Hulu shows.

Only Murders In The Building season 3 review: What I liked

(l to r) Selena Gomez as Mabel, Martin Short as Oliver and Steve Martin as Charles in an elevator in Only Murders in the Building season 3

(Image credit: Patrick Harbron/Hulu)

The best part of Only Murders, as always, is the group dynamics between Charles, Mabel and Oliver (Martin Short). This season switches up the dynamics, by putting Oliver in a position of power as the director of a stage show, with Charles as one of his stars and Mabel on the outside looking in.

This allows Short to work with a bit of vanity and control, while Charles gets a bit more manic with anxiety. One big story for Charles this season is a performance anxiety over a particular moment on stage, which sends him into a sort of a wacky tailspin. Somehow, this works every single time, without feeling overdone.

Meryl Streep as Loretta in Only Murders in the Building season 3

(Image credit: Patrick Harbron/Hulu)

And while Paul Rudd is excellent as a smarmy star, the bigger story for guest work is Meryl Streep as Loretta, an aspiring actor who's finally been discovered (by Charles). This performance is engrossing and emotional, and it works so well to breathe new life into this series.

Jesse Williams also helps expand the cast, as a documentary director who spends more and more time with Mabel as the season goes on. This is tied to how Mabel spends slightly less time around Charles and Oliver, and sort of has to go out on her own, as her living situation changes.

Only Murders In The Building season 3 review: What I didn't like

Martin Short as Oliver in Only Murders in the Building season 3, lying on a sofa

(Image credit: Patrick Harbron/Hulu)

Charles, Mabel and Oliver all have romance plotlines this season, and while each works well enough, the abundance of relationship stuff feels a bit redundant. Charles's commitment issues flare up, Mabel's trust issues rise again and as for Oliver? Well, you'll see. It all works, fortunately.

There's also a life event that Oliver goes through that doesn't quite get fleshed out, and I would have liked more of. I'm not sure if it was left on the cutting-room floor, but it feels like something went wrong.

And, of course, there's the thing where Only Murders brought Paul Rudd in to be the murder victim of the season. Fortunately, a series of flashbacks give us more of the ageless star.

Only Murders In The Building season 3 review: Outlook

Steve Martin as Charles in Only Murders in the Building season 3

(Image credit: Patrick Harbron/Hulu)

Right now, Only Murders fits that point in the TV grading scale where it meets expectations, and possibly exceeds them — showing no signs of sagging writing. Only Murders In The Building season 4 has not yet been confirmed, but I can only assume it will be. This may require some waiting for the writer and actor strikes to be over, though.

That said, this Only Murders In The Building season 3 review should be enough to explain why you should be excited for the upcoming season, which debuts on August 8.

And, yes, if this helps encourage you: I used most of a day of my own vacation to watch Only Murders In The Building season 3. If there's any higher praise than that, I haven't heard of it yet.

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Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.