Only Murders in the Building is a New York City show, a platform for incredible guest stars, and the best dip-related-joke delivery system on television. But above all, it is a murder mystery, one about secrets, deception, and the blood repeatedly spilled in an Upper West Side apartment building.
In its second season, however, that mystery aspect has felt increasingly flimsier and more unwieldy than the “Who killed Tim Kono?” question in season one. The show itself seems to know this; in the latest episode, “Hello, Darkness,” the podcast’s most loyal fans criticize it for becoming too boring, and even Oliver, the most enthusiastic podcaster of our trio, admits things have gotten off track: “We’re low on quality content this season.”
But with only two episodes left, it’s time to focus on who’s actually responsible for killing Bunny. We know the killer tends to dress in all black and has familiarity with the secret passageways in the Arconia’s walls. Presumably this person has an axe to grind with Bunny, and our Only Murders investigative trio, since there’s been a clear effort to make it seem like they were involved in the crime. We can disregard some of the suspects put forth over the past eight episodes: Mrs. Gambolini, Bunny’s obnoxious parrot, definitely didn’t do it (she has mainly provided profane comedic relief and the opportunity to send up the Owl Theory from The Staircase). Howard’s interest in both the case and hot goss marked him as a potential early on, but he’s far too much of a benign figure to suddenly turn murderer. And Amy Schumer theoretically could have done it, but I don’t think she did, mainly because she had to go shoot Life and Beth. At this point, there are ten potential suspects still worthy of suspicion. Let’s consider them from least likely to have offed Bunny to most.
Hey, remember when Shirley MacLaine, playing Bunny’s mother, was on this show? She popped in during episode two, seemingly very concerned about the location of the expensive erotic painting of Charles’s father. Her main function, apparently, was to reveal to Charles that back in the day, his dad slept with both her and Rose Cooper, the artist behind the piece. And while it would be very fun to see MacLaine burst into the Arconia in the finale and scream, “I stabbed her! It was me!” this seems unlikely. Leonora has barely been mentioned since her initial appearance, and the painting is no longer the primary motive for killing Bunny. Also, Leonora has sub-par vision, so skulking around in the dark probably isn’t her strong suit.
Since “Bloody” Mabel was found at the scene of Bunny’s murder in a blood-soaked sweater and later filmed during a violent outburst on the subway, the court of public opinion has deemed her guilty. Even Mabel herself expressed concerns that she stabbed Bunny and blacked out the experience as a result of her own childhood trauma. Still, it would be way too dark and narratively inconsistent for Only Murders in the Building to implicate one of its own protagonists. Also, as Mabel herself mentioned this week, the fact that she hasn’t been arrested yet seems significant.
Nina still has the most obvious reason to kill Bunny: She was supposed to become head of the Arconia board until Bunny changed her mind and decided to stay in the position. That same day, Bunny was killed. A Game of Thrones–esque power play is an obvious motive — perhaps too obvious. Plus, the series softened Nina’s edges as the season progressed. She came across as more vulnerable and human when she connected with Charles during her labor, and again this week when she decided to keep Lester the doorman on staff. At this stage, Nina being the killer would feel like a cop-out.
Teddy has a bad temper and experience with criminal activity. As he made abundantly clear this season, he also wants revenge on Oliver for helping uncover his grave-robbing scheme. But I don’t think he killed Bunny. For starters, he was probably in police custody when the murder took place, giving him an airtight alibi.
It’s super-weird that Cara Delevingne’s character attempted to restage the moment of Bunny’s murder as an artistic experiment, especially since she’s dating Mabel. And in “The Tell,” the camera paused quite purposefully on the Son of Sam card she had in her possession, confirmation that she was lying about being the killer in the ’70s-spirited party game. Alice doesn’t seem like the murdering type, but she definitely likes to hide things. Worth keeping an eye on her.
I don’t think Charles’s pseudo-stepdaughter, Lucy, killed Bunny, especially since she appears to have seen the murderer flee the scene. But I do think she may have originally sought out Charles for reasons that are more complicated than “I just wanted to reconnect with my almost-dad.” When Lucy chats with Mabel for the first time, all she talks about is how famous Mabel has become on TikTok and the access she must have to tons of Xanax and Klonopin. Those are serious red flags. And while there’s no reason to doubt Lucy genuinely cares about Charles, she hasn’t been forthright with him, either. She didn’t tell him she skipped her mom’s wedding to come to the Arconia the night Bunny was murdered, and it was weird to see her whispering with Detective Kreps when the blackout ended. She’s definitely doing something sneaky.
Look, I’m the last person who wants to believe Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s cop could be the killer. But there is some weird stuff swirling around her character this season. Mainly, everyone keeps saying she’s on maternity leave in Denver. Why did Williams go to Denver and, more importantly, why does the show want us to know she was in Denver? Also, she’s been working directly with Charles and Oliver to gather evidence. That doesn’t mean she’s responsible for Bunny’s death, but the way she’s operating could help us understand who’s really the culprit. The fact that she’s not working with Detective Kreps? That seems important.
Howard’s choir boy
Howard’s new crush — his name has yet to be revealed — is a primary suspect for one reason: his sneeze. When Lucy briefly saw the murderer in the Arconia passageway on the night of Bunny’s death, they sneezed. In this week’s episode, the seemingly nice subletter starts sneezing at Howard’s apartment because he’s allergic to cats. Only Murders is blatantly inviting us to connect the dots, which makes me suspect those “Achoos!” are probably a red herring. However, I am very fixated on what Oliver said near the end of “Hello, Darkness,” when Mabel recounted the number of times the killer and/or Glitter Guy have been sighted: “But are they all the same person?” I say no. I think Bunny’s murder and the attempt to frame the Only Murders trio for it is an effort that involves multiple people, and Howard’s new boyfriend could be one of them.
At the end of this week’s episode, Mabel notices glitter stuck to Detective Kreps’s neck. Barring some weird twist, he is Glitter Guy, the person who wound up with the glitter bomb in his hands instead of the evidence Mabel, Oliver, and Charles promised to plant in the trash can. But again, to Oliver’s point: Are Glitter Guy and the murderer the same person? I say they aren’t.
Kreps didn’t kill Bunny, but he definitely wants to make it seem like Mabel and her friends had something to do with it. Why? Well, when Tim Kono’s murder was solved by a trio of hapless podcasters, it didn’t exactly make the police look good. Kreps no doubt wants to correct that.
There’s also evidence that he’s working on the sly with other people. Lucy could be an informant for him; Kreps could probably get her all the Xannies and Klonopin she wants in exchange for info about Charles and his friends. And when Kreps called the group to Bunny’s apartment in “Performance Review,” Cinda Canning and her assistant, Poppy, were already there with their recording equipment. I have a feeling Kreps wants it to look like he solved the murder, a thing he would happily discuss on Cinda’s Only Murderers in the Building podcast, and is more than willing to plant evidence that points to Mabel (or Charles or Oliver) as the ones who committed homicide. Go back to Charles’s opening monologue at the very beginning of this season: “New York City. Who doesn’t want to become the talk of the town here?” That speech seems to be telling us that a primary motive in this case is fame and notoriety, not an issue with Bunny. Kreps may not have wielded the knife, but he probably knows who did and is happy to make sure someone else gets charged with the crime.
Cinda Canning and Poppy White
Cinda has every reason to resent the Only Murders trio for outsmarting her with their Tim Kono coverage. And it increasingly seems like she doesn’t have a moral compass, especially when it comes to her podcast network. In fact, during Mabel’s phone call with Poppy, she was about to admit what a monster Cinda really is right before Glitter Guy accosted Mabel on the subway. Cinda’s involvement would explain why the painting got planted in Charles’s apartment and why Glitter Guy provoked Mabel. Cinda’s purposely doing things to make them look guilty.
I think Cinda dreamed up the scheme to bump off Bunny and make it look like Mabel, Charles, and Oliver were in on it, thereby shutting down their podcast. Because she would never actually get her hands dirty, she forced Poppy to perpetrate the scheme. This is probably what Poppy was going to tell Mabel before their call was cut short.
Now, why kill Bunny? As far as we know, Cinda had no relationship with her, but she may have been aware of how much Mabel, Oliver, and Charles disliked her. If her real goal was to frame them, she just chose the highest-profile Arconia resident with whom they had beef. In a show about the lure of true-crime podcasts, it would be fitting for the OG true-crime podcasters, women so obsessed with the details of murder that they forget how tragic it is, to be the killers. After all, there are no true crimes to podcast about if there are no dead bodies.