Dr Khusi Pattanayak

Arconia, the lavish posh high-rising apartment in New York City, from Only Murders in the Building is back with more mayhem, mystery, and murder only with lesser excitement than the previous seasons.

Only Murders in the Building Season 3 (English, 2023) begins where the season 2 ended…with a murder. The true crime loving trio Charles-Haden Savage, Oliver Putnam, Mabel Mora (Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez respectively) once again find themselves in the middle of a killing that needs a closure. Putting on their amateur detective hats, following unconventional methods, overcoming professional setbacks (sometimes success), and keeping aside personal differences, they unravel the whos and whys behind the Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd) episode.

With each season Only Murders in the Building has grown bigger (if not exactly better).Meryl Streep saying yes to the project itself is a benchmark of the show’s quality and popularity.

Streep, as expected, is flawless. She and Short make for an awesome onscreen pair. Though they might or might not appear in season 4 (oh yes there will be one!) due to the whole long-distance relationship decision.

Among all the 3 seasons the latest one has the weakest script. And that definitely goes against Loretta Durkin (Streep’s character). Having Meryl Streep play a crucial role comes with its own perils – the dilemma of under utilising or over utilising an actor’s presence. If Loretta is the murderer, then it is predictable, if she is not then disappointment! Cannot comment anything more than this as it might reveal way too much!

This season was all about return to theatre but lacked the grandeur of theatricality. The preparation for Death Rattle Dazzle (the musical directed by Putnam) consumed a glorious amount of screen time, and the numerous characters introduced as part of the process were not as interesting as the previous seasons. Season 3 makes it obvious that the cops, with each passing season, will get lesser screen time and have lesser involvement in the actual investigation process (a bit of a whimper, because Da’Vine Joy Randolph is a delight to watch).

Despite the starry presences this season’ sending was lacklustre – no shocks, no surprise, no thrill. This probably is natural especially when one is burdened with the task of pulling off a successful third season of a money minting franchise.

But Only Murders in the Building compensates generously for what it loses out on the script. The performances are heart warming and immaculate. Music has always been a strong element of the series, and season 3 is no different. The dialogues are precise and perky, keeping the comic effect and entertainment value in place.

The anecdotes related to theatre are interesting. And most importantly the makers have continued indulging the audience with the multilayered perspective that gets reflected through the podcast, the police procedural, the podcast audience, the building tenants, the witnesses / involved parties and (this time)the theatre audience along with backstage artists.

Season 3 offers interesting take on mothers and motherhood. There are two set of mothers in the centre of the narrative, representing two different world views and the kids they raised (or not).It speaks about parenthood without prejudice and judgement; highlighting that there is no ‘right’ way of living life or raising children.

The blood on the body in the penultimate scene leaves enough room for initiating a new investigation in season 4. The season 3 of Only Murders in the Building is strictly for its avid fans, others can watch the previous seasons in Disney+Hostar.

(The author is an internationally published writer & corporate communication specialist. Views are personal)