The third season of Only Murders in the Building has raised an important question: Would anyone actually pay to see a Broadway musical in which three infants are accused of murder? That is a question we cannot answer — personally, I say “yes,” especially if Meryl Streep and Ashley Park are starring in it — but we can try to answer the other major question of the season: Who killed Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd), the beloved, obnoxious star of the play formerly known as Death Rattle? Was it the scrappy and talented little nobody Loretta Durkin (Streep)? Tobert (Jesse Williams), the documentarian with the hots for Mabel? Harry Styles? You think I’m kidding, but he’s definitely included in this list of the 18 major murder suspects following episode five, “Ah, Love!”
Probably Didn’t Do It
Kimber (Ashley Park)
Episode four, “The White Room,” pretty effectively ruled out Kimber. She wasn’t having some hot affair with Ben; she was just using him to hawk her phony-ass anti-aging serum. And her agitation about not having the hankie Ben gave her has been adequately explained too. (She sold it on eBay — respect the hustle!) I do wonder to whom Ben is speaking when he says, per Tobert’s video footage, “I want you so fucking bad. But you’re going to ruin my career. And I’m going to like it.” Current theory: He was running lines for an upcoming audition alone in his dressing room.
Joy (Andrea Martin)
Much like Kimber, I feel Only Murders has done the work to scratch her off the suspect list. We know why her lipstick was in Ben’s dressing room. And she was so offended by Charles’s accusation that she had something to do with Ben’s death that she ultimately broke off their engagement. Of course, she might have been bluffing, but even Only Murders itself acknowledged how weird it would be if two of Charles’s romantic interests committed murders right under his nose.
Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez)
As someone who is actively interested in trying to find Ben’s killer and who also has had a crush on Ben since she first saw Clueless — oops, I meant Girl Cop; thought I was talking about myself for a second there — Mabel is not much of a suspect. But I did clock the fact that she (a) so eagerly pitched a podcast about Ben to Charles and Oliver within hours of Ben’s death and (b) brazenly took photos of Ben’s dead body when the crime scene was still fresh. I think Mabel really needs the podcast to become a thing because she feels rudderless without it, and that’s what’s motivating her behavior — not a desire to cover up a homicide she committed. In fact, I worry she’s desperate enough to accept Cinda’s offer and the money to pay for a decent apartment that would come with it.
Gregg Rivera (Adrian Martinez)
Ben’s psycho stalker is still sitting in jail, but, as Mabel pointed out, it doesn’t make sense that he would have killed Ben. He was obsessed with Ben being in the world, not out of it. Shouldn’t the police have realized this by now?
Donna DeMeo (Linda Emond)
Donna did say that having a leading man come back from the dead and resume his role could result in a box-office boon for Death Rattle. But that’s more proof that she didn’t do it, since pushing Ben down an elevator shaft wouldn’t exactly help the show.
Cliff DeMeo (Wesley Taylor)
Maybe I have misjudged Cliff, but I think he’s too focused on musical theater, his fashion, and kisses from Mommy to think about murder.
Oliver Putnam (Martin Short)
Oliver desperately wanted to stage Death Rattle. He was supportive of Ben and helped him work through one of his toughest scenes. I just can’t see any kind of motive here for Oliver at all.
Okay, so before you accuse me of putting Harry Styles on this list purely because I am obsessed with Harry Styles — a thing I would never do because I am a professional — hear me out. Harry was a speaker at Ben’s funeral. We never got to hear his eulogy because the actual Harry Styles was probably not available to film that episode, so we have no idea what he said. Did he have a complicated relationship with Ben? Did Ben give him unsolicited negative feedback about the lyrics to “Watermelon Sugar” and Harry is still bitter about it? We simply don’t know the answers to these important questions, so we can’t say! One thing we do know, though: Next week’s episode of Only Murders in the Building goes live on Hulu on September 5, which happens to be the anniversary of Styles allegedly spitting on Chris Pine — a thing both parties assert he did not do — at the Venice Film Festival. Is this a coincidence? Most definitely … or is it?
Too Soon to Count Out
Jonathan Bridgecroft (Jason Veasey)
Charles previously noted that Jonathan has motive for killing Ben: He was his understudy, and Ben made it clear he would never allow Jonathan to perform in his stead, a solid reason for an understudy to despise a lead. Also, during their detective meetup–date at Jonathan’s cabaret night, Mabel and Tobert saw Jonathan take what appeared to be cash from Dr. C., Ben’s personal doctor. Yes, this seems shady, but I have a feeling there’s an explanation for it that probably doesn’t involve murder. Jonathan doesn’t strike me as a killer.
Howard Morris (Michael Cyril Creighton)
Howard seems way too mild mannered to kill anybody, but maybe that’s exactly what the Only Murders writers want us to think! It is interesting that he had the only key to the theater and was so uptight about sharing it. Also, he is really obsessed with helping his cousin who works at State Farm. Did State Farm have a life-insurance policy for Ben that benefited Howard’s cousin? Is Jake from State Farm somehow involved??
K.T., the stage manager (Allison Guinn)
K.T. is grumpy. She’s always in a bad mood. But based on what we know so far, she seems to dislike Howard more than she disliked Ben. Then again, I could imagine her losing her shit if pressed too far …
Bobo Malone (Don Darryl Rivera)
We don’t know enough about Bobo, a member of the ensemble cast, to rule him in or out at this point. So he’s in the shrug-emoji category right now.
Ty Wessex (Gerald Caesar)
Another cast member we don’t know a ton about and another 🤷.
The Most Suspicious Suspects
Loretta Durkin (Meryl Streep)
This week’s episode ends by pointing an especially incriminating finger at Loretta, who, as Oliver discovers, has a whole book filled with newspaper clippings of Ben through the years. The implication: She’s been stalking Ben from a distance and possibly planning his untimely demise for a while.
More evidence that fits the “Loretta did it” narrative: We know she referred to Ben as a “fucking pig,” though we don’t know for certain that she wrote those words in lipstick on his dressing-room mirror. After Ben managed to survive an apparent poisoning and showed up at the cast party–wake, Loretta was less than thrilled he was alive. “Ben may be back, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is a fucking asshole,” she told Mabel that night. At the same gathering, Ben told Loretta he knows a snake when he sees one and hissed in her face, confirming there was enough beef between the two to have led to a confrontation.
It also seems relevant that Dickie, Ben’s brother and personal assistant, is now managing Loretta’s career and helping her land gigs on spinoffs of Grey’s Anatomy sequels. Could she and Dickie have been working together to off Ben? Seems possible! On the other hand, I am not sure the show would lay out the killer this early in the season. Around the midpoints of seasons one and two, for example, Oscar and Alice (both people Mabel was romantically involved with) looked potentially guilty but ended up not being the perpetrators. Plus, Charles said in a previous episode that having another female killer, as has been the case in the first two seasons of Only Murders, is “so done.” Maybe that was an intentional misdirection? Hmmm.
Tobert (Jesse Williams)
The documentarian who was capturing Ben’s Broadway journey has remained in New York because (allegedly) he wants to make a documentary about Ben’s death. In “Ah, Love!,” he also appears to be falling for Mabel, which makes sense because Mabel is played by the very attractive Selena Gomez. But there’s something I don’t totally trust about Tobert, and it’s not just the fact that his name sounds extremely made-up. It’s possible that his interest in Mabel is genuine, but I can’t shake the feeling that he wants to be close to her so he can keep tabs on her detective work. So far, that strategy has paid off — she took him straight to her murder board on the first date, a thing you should not do until date four at the earliest!
Even if Tobert is not the killer, I definitely think he’s hiding something. He might even be trying to commit a crime worse than murder: ruining someone’s podcast. He seems very intent on gaining access to all of Mabel’s intel — perhaps he’s trying to scoop her? Also, Williams starred in Grey’s Anatomy and had a recurring role on the Grey’s spinoff Station 19, and Loretta got cast in a Grey’s sequel/spinoff. I have no idea if that connection is meaningful, but I am going to pretend it is.
Dickie Glenroy (Jeremy Shamos)
At this point, we do not know a ton about Dickie, but it seems fair to assume that years of being bossed around and demeaned by his CoBro could have given him bitter feelings toward Ben. As previously noted, it is pretty suspicious that he started managing Loretta’s career so shortly after Ben’s death and after Loretta openly stated how much she disliked Ben. In episode three, Mabel and Tobert also saw Dickie grow distraught while packing up things in Ben’s apartment. “I’m so sorry, Ben!” he shouted, then threw an object that appeared to be a jade egg (more on this momentarily!) across the room. You could interpret this outburst as an expression of grief. Or is it a reflection of guilt? I’d also like to throw out the possibility that Ben’s death was a two-person job. Dickie, who had the most immediate access to Ben’s person and/or food, could have tried to poison him. When that didn’t work, maybe Loretta shoved him down an elevator shaft to finish the job.
Cinda Canning (Tina Fey)
After the whole debacle involving Poppy and the murder of Bunny, Cinda allegedly took some time to recenter herself. As part of her self-care, as she notes in episode four, “The White Room,” she purchased a jade egg that is “currently nestled” in “her privates.” Which is interesting because Dickie throws a jade egg during his emotional breakdown at Ben’s apartment.
Were Cinda and Ben involved? Did Cinda have a hand in orchestrating Ben’s demise so she could swoop in and try to get “Bloody Mabel” to partner with her on a podcast, thereby eliminating the Only Murders podcast as her competition? Is it possible she even has a relationship with Tobert, has used that connection to get access to his documentary footage, and is maybe even encouraging him to get close to Mabel? It feels a little “been there, done that” to put Cinda at the center of the crime again. But we also shouldn’t rule it out entirely, either.
Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin)
Okay, it seems highly unlikely that Charles is the murderer. But humor me for a sec. We know that Charles and Ben did not get along because Charles was mean to Ben on the set of Brazzos. It also appears that Charles is responsible for the slap that left a red mark on Ben’s face on opening night. But Charles doesn’t seem to feel enough malice toward Ben to bother killing him nor does he seem like a killer. (It is common knowledge that people who find comfort in making good omelets are never murderers. Do you think Sydney from The Bear could ever murder someone? Exactly — case closed.) However, Ben definitely had major issues with Charles. Is it possible they got into a physical altercation and Charles White Room–ed so hard he forgot the whole thing, including the part during which he (accidentally) killed Ben? I seriously doubt it. But perhaps.