Only Murders in the Building Season 3 [8/10]

A comedic cozy-style murder mystery series (10 shortish episodes per season) set in an upscale Manhattan hotel and based around three residents solving the crime while podcasting about it … well, it shouldn’t work. That Only Murders in the Building succeeds, and wonderfully so, is due to the comic genius of Martin Short (playing an overweening Broadway producer) and Steve Martin (portraying an ex-TV-gumshoe-star actor). Both of them improvise on a dime and everything that comes out of their mouths is either intelligent or funny (sometimes uproariously so) or both. Selena Gomez is a perfect foil as a drifting young woman who does much of the legwork. Season 1 had the added benefit of introducing the show’s conceit and I fell in love with it (see my review). Season 2 was even better, with a wonderfully twisty plot and Martin Short at his peak (see my review). In Season 3, Short finally has a play in production, when its cranky lead male ends up dead, the body of course being found in the Arconia apartments. A shapeshifting (and in many ways irrelevant) plot allows the three stars full rein, with added oomph from a season-long contribution by Meryl Streep and a cameo from Matthew Broderick. Wicked, jazzy, cheerful, and smart … Season 3 keeps up the quality with barely a sense of a declining franchise.

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