Only Murders in the Building follows three strangers, and podcast fanatics Oliver (Martin Short), Charles (Steve Martin), and Mabel (Selena Gomez) as they band together to investigate a peculiar murder that happened in their New York apartment building while documenting their findings on their very own podcast. As you’d imagine, the situation gets hilariously complicated rather quickly.
Co-created by Martin and John Hoffman, along with This is Us’s Dan Fogelman producing, the 10-episode series updated the tried-and-true murder mystery television genre for the modern day. Certified Fresh with a perfect 100% score, the series was recently renewed for a second season proving itself a delightful success for Hulu.
Tuesday’s season 1 finale revealed multiple bits of closure for our intrepid heroes. However, the final moments of the episode introduced a whole new murder to investigate. But are Charles, Oliver, and Mabel the prime suspects? Who ended up committing the bloody act? And is this new crime connected to the tangled web they found themselves in throughout the first season?
As we wait for Only Murders in the Building to return with answers to these burning questions, here is a collection of quirky crime-fighting shows to scratch your amateur sleuthing itch.
Selena + Chef is a completely different beast than Only Murders in the Building. There are no murders begging to be solved, no podcasts being recorded, and the number of stylish coats being worn by the cast is few and far between. It’s got Selena Gomez, though. And for fans of the actress-singer-producer, we suggest you give her cooking show a look-see. Selena + Chef is a program born out of pandemic necessity and finds Gomez virtually meeting a variety of professional chefs to improve her abilities in the kitchen. The series is equal parts educational and charming, peeling back the curtain on the actress’ home and family life as she adds “home cook” to her growing list of skills. If you’re unsure where to start, let us guide you to the Ludo Lefebvre omelet episode from season 1. It is an absolute highlight.
Where to watch: HBO Max, 3 seasons
Adapted from the book of the same name, The Flight Attendant follows troubled flight attendant Cassandra (Kaley Cuoco), who must wrestle with her own personal demons and fight to find answers after she discovers Alex (Michiel Huisman), a seemingly innocent man she has a one-night stand with, brutally slain in bed the following morning. In a panic-stricken haze, she attempts to erase any record of her involvement with him and leaves the scene of the crime before the body can be found. Needless to say, this discovery sends Cassandra spiraling down a rabbit hole and, through each episode, the mystery unfolds in ways both bleak and bonkers. Deeper issues of abuse, addiction, and trauma bubble to the surface as she strives to find clarity amid the chaos. Can she solve the crime and clear her name before the authorities, or the murderer, apprehend her? That’s the question.
Where to watch: HBO Max, 1 season
Over the past four seasons, Search Party has carved itself a special little niche. Alia Shawkat leads dark comedy as Dory and follows her group of hipster friends as they tap into their amateur sleuthing skills to find an old college buddy who goes missing. Taking charge of the investigation and sidestepping law enforcement’s support, the gang of heroes regularly find themselves in awkward and dangerous scenarios. If that sounds similar to the overall tone of Only Murders in the Building, you’d be mostly right. Search Party has a tendency, however, of going to weird and dire places.
Where to watch: TBS, HBO Max, 4 seasons
Based on the pulpy Southern-noir book series by author Joe Lansdale, Hap and Leonard takes viewers back to the 1980s where flawed friends Hap Collins (James Purefoy) and Leonard Pine (Michael Kenneth Williams) often find themselves in troublesome situations. Taking matters into their own hands as reluctant detectives, the duo resolves matters with instinct and fisticuffs to bring a variety of villains to justice. The humorous chemistry between the friends, the show’s sultry and seedy tone, its deep character development, and its commitment to exploring timely cultural topics (classism, racial inequality, and homophobia, for instance) helped propel the series beyond pat procedural when it premiered on Sundance in 2016.
Where to watch: Netflix, 3 seasons
Veronica Mars is no ordinary high school girl. Instead of going to parties and getting involved in the typical bouts of teenage drama, Mars turned her focus to a life of crime-fighting after a personal trauma shook her world. Armed with the quick wit and snarky sensibility that helped make Kristen Bell a household name, Veronica Mars enabled the actress to flex her comedic and dramatic acting skills, allowing her to break out as a star early in her career. In the original series, Mars began working with Keith (Enrico Colantoni), her private investigator father, to solve mysteries throughout town. The 2014 Kickstarter-funded Veronica Mars movie and season 4 return to Hulu in 2019 cemented Mars’ top spot — move over, Nancy Drew — in the no-nonsense female-detective realm.
Where to watch: Hulu, 4 seasons
Before Dr. Gregory House brought some Sherlock Holmes–style panache to the medical world in House, there was Adrian Monk. The obsessive-compulsive homicide detective–turned–police consultant set the tone for the popular procedural to endure. The allure of the program, which regularly put Monk in precarious (and deadly) situations, was the light-hearted, offbeat manner in which the show tackled its subject matter. And as dark as things got, Monk always struck a beautiful balance, tonally speaking, and never overwhelmed the viewer. Then there’s the commanding performance of Tony Shalhoub in the title role. Each behavioral tick, peculiar neurosis, and odd personality quirk all came together so naturally, that all these years later, it’s a challenge to see Shalhoub (who won three Primetime Emmy Awards for the role) as anyone else — we mean that as a compliment.
Where to watch: Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, 8 seasons
One thing we don’t see much of, these days, is murder-mystery shows centered on would-be detectives in their golden years. But that’s exactly what Only Murders in the Building accomplishes. Keeping that generational detail in mind, we recommend Queens of Mystery. The British program follows a group of older sisters who, when they’re not passing time writing about crime, use their skills to investigate murders. The gang finds help and cultural insight from Matilda (Olivia Vinall), their 28-year-old niece, which, if you’re keeping track, is the same age as Mabel in the Hulu whodunit.
Where to watch: Acorn TV, 2 seasons
Long-running detective comedy Psych partnered Shawn Spencer (James Roday Rodriguez), an amateur investigator — and pretend psychic — with his best bud Burton (Dulé Hill) as an unlikely crime-fighting duo. You can easily see the similarities with Only Murder in the Building’s amateur sleuths and the hijinks that ensue, as the Psych heroes regularly land themselves in hot water and life-threatening situations. The chemistry between Shawn and Burton is one of the biggest highlights of the series, with their bond acting as the emotional foundation upon which every quirky, mysterious, and murderous episode resides. After eight seasons, the Psych story has resurfaced in multiple TV movies; the latest installment, Psych 3: This Is Gus, premieres on Peacock on November 18.
Where to watch: Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, 8 seasons
Nathan Fillion is not a homicide detective, but he writes about it on TV. Fillion’s Richard Castle is a crime novelist who learns of a serial killer using the plots of Castle’s books as inspiration for murders he commits. Castle partners with NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) to assist with the initial investigation — and, as serialized television would have it, many more.
Where to watch: Hulu, 8 seasons
New York novelist Jonathan Ames turned his focus on himself in Bored To Death, a semi-meta comedy series that feels like a distant cousin to Only Murders in the Building. Using similar Big Apple locales, Bored to Death follows Jason Schwartzman, as the fictional-version Jonathan Ames, who decides to pursue his passion for sleuthing after dark. He enlists his like-minded and completely unqualified friends Ray (Zach Galifianakis) and George (Ted Danson) to go on this detective journey with him. Ames may not be an experienced investigator, but much like Charles in Only Murders in the Building, he heavily relies on his experience as a crime novelist to walk the crime-solving walk. The result is a heartfelt, quirky series about friendship, perseverance of the human spirit, and, of course, murder.
Where to watch: HBO Max, 3 seasons