Home USEFUL ARTICLE The Only Murders in the Building Trio’s Best Member Is Martin Short

The Only Murders in the Building Trio’s Best Member Is Martin Short


The Only Murders in the Building: Spoilers for Only Murders in the Building Season 3, Episode 6 can be found below.

The Only Murders in the Building Trio's Best Member Is Martin Short

The Only Murders in the Building Trio’s Best Member Is Martin Short

The Big Picture

  • Martin Short steals the show in Only Murders in the Building, bringing an energy that uplifts his co-stars and enhances their performances.
  • Oliver Putnam undergoes significant character growth throughout the series, going from a washed-up Broadway director to someone who finds passion and revitalizes his relationships.
  • Short’s comedic abilities shine in the series without overpowering the plot or other characters, making him the heartbeat of the show and a key reason for its hilarity.

Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building gave us the greatest gift we never knew we needed: Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, and Martin Short all in one series together. The thing is, one of these amateur sleuths might’ve just won our hearts over a little bit more than the other two, and it’s not just because he constantly makes the case for dips and crudités to be considered a meal. That person, of course, is Martin Short.


Short can steal a scene like a Yankee can steal second base, and while he’s managed to stick out just a tiny bit more than his other two co-stars, he also has a way of lifting them up in the process. Oliver (Short) is able to smoothly bring Mabel (Gomez) and Charles (Martin) out of their shells in the series with his more bombastic way of being, and the same goes for the actor himself with the way that he can instantly uplift those around him. Basically, Short is a lot like the Energizer bunny: he runs around to the beat of his own drum and makes everyone else around him happier and better by just being there.

‘Only Murders in the Building’s Oliver Putnam Is an Easy Underdog to Root For

Oliver might have been living in an extremely expensive building on the Upper West Side when we first met him in Season 1 of Only Murders in the Building, but it was all just a façade. He was on the brink of being evicted — overdue notices and all — and only had his favorite murder podcast to live for. It wasn’t until he met Mabel and Charles that Oliver’s passion for life was reinvigorated, reminding him how all the different facets of his Broadway experience could be put to use in this new role of podcaster and civilian detective.


Throughout the past three seasons, Oliver’s ended up experiencing the most growth out of all the other characters combined, as he’s built himself up from being a washed-up Broadway director to one who (well, almost) revived his career in directing his newest play, “Death Rattle.” On top of his more career-centered endeavors, he became a much more present father for his son, Will (Ryan Broussard), and his grandson, as they previously had a pretty strained relationship. Because Oliver was so involved in his own Broadway directing career, it didn’t leave much time to be a father to Will; later on in life, their relationship became even more strained because Oliver refused to be honest with his son about the failing state of his career — and the fact that he was about to be evicted from his apartment. Once Oliver met Mabel and Charles, though, his life almost immediately turned around, giving him both the strength to move forward and to take a hard look at where his life and relationships had gone.

In that same vein, Oliver had been pretty closed off to the idea of starting up a romantic relationship with anyone, but with Season 3 came a change of heart, as well as the perfect guest star to make that happen. It took Loretta (Meryl Streep) chipping away at Oliver’s heart, little by little, to quietly open up what we always knew was tucked deep inside of him: a heart. Sure, we technically knew that Oliver had a heart, but not in the way that he’s been showing it in this most recent season. He’s become as obsessed with winning Loretta over as he has been at trying to transform “Death Rattle” into a musical, and that’s saying a lot given his lifelong love for the theater — and for creating debatable musicals.

The best part of Oliver’s whole transformation, though, is the fact that he never lets any of it change who he is at his core, and that’s a tough thing to do when your life gets flipped upside down and then back again. This new Oliver seems like such a far cry in looking back at where we started in Season 1 with him; in many ways, he was a shell of his former self. By Season 3, Oliver not only got back his gusto from his pre-flop years, but he surpassed his old self and became someone even better.


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Martin Short Makes His Co-Stars Even Better in ‘Only Murders in the Building’

As the more musical and theatrical Oliver, Short is able to let loose and be as honest and un-reserved as possible, though at the same time, he uses his naturally comedic abilities to complement Gomez and Martin instead of turning things into the Martin Short Show (though it’s safe to say that we’d all love a Martin Short Show). Short has been stealing scenes for the entirety of his career, but he’s able to toe that line between too much and not enough, allowing his co-stars to work with the energy he’s bringing to every scene.


In Only Murders in the Building, it would be easy to let Short take over the reins of the series, but by letting him have smaller bursts of scene-stealing moments, it elevates his overall performance without taking away from the plot or the other characters’ arcs. Just as a more outgoing person in everyday life is able to bring out the introverted people in the room, Short applies that same tactic when it comes to acting. Charles and Mabel are far less boisterous than Oliver, but his innate energy definitely puts a bigger bounce in their steps and has ultimately made them both more confident in the process. After all, a little bit of Oliver energy goes a long way.

Not only has Short’s performance in Only Murders in the Building solidified himself even further in the realm of comedic acting, but it’s also opened him up to an entirely new audience, as the viewers who were initially tuning in for Gomez got to experience Short at his absolute best. At this point, he’s really the heartbeat of the entire series: there would be no Only Murders in the Building without Martin Short. Well, there could be, but it certainly wouldn’t be half as hilarious — or half as filled with various chips and dips.

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