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‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 1 Recap: What to Remember for Season 2

A brief refresher before Mabel, Charles and Oliver dig into another case

“Only Murders in the Building” Season 2 is imminent, just shy of a year since the first season arrived. Taking note of the trend of true crime podcasts and the audience that consumes them, the Hulu show follows a trio of New Yorkers as they attempt to solve a murder mystery in their apartment building.

Starring Selena Gomez as Mabel, Steve Martin as Charles Haden-Savatge and Martin Short as Oliver Putnam, “Only Murders in the Building” combined thrilling suspense with moments of comic relief in its first season. The three Arconia residents bonded over Cinda Canning’s (Tina Fey) work on true crime podcasting, taking it one step further to investigate the murder of their neighbor Tim Kono.

But given that cliffhanger ending, here’s a recap of what happened in Season 1 before Season 2 debuts on June 28.

Murder at The Arconia

Former TV star Charles Haden-Savage, washed-up theater producerOliver Putnam and a young artistic woman named Mabel find themselves in the elevator at the same time at the end of their days. Oliver tries to make conversation with Mabel and Charles, but both ignore him until the three of them part ways to turn in for the night and tune into their shared favorite crime podcast “All Is Not OK in Oklahoma with Cinda Canning.” Just as the podcast starts to get good, the fire alarm in the building goes off, and everyone evacuates, but Charles spots some stranger in a pink, blue and yellow tie-dye hoodie walking up the stars instead of down. The trio reunites at a restaurant across the street and realizes that they all listen to the same podcast — discussing it over dinner.

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It’s revealed that Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) has been murdered, and the trio had a brief encounter with Tim in the elevator right before he died.

Oliver returns to The Arconia and really pushes the idea to make their own true crime podcast so that he can profit from it.

Who Was Tim Kono? And What About Evelyn?

It turns out Mabel knew Tim Kono at one point. She grew up visiting The Arconia because her aunt had a place there, and she met Tim when they were young. She told Charles while they were breaking into Bunny’s apartment that they called themselves The Hardy Boys after Tim saw Mabel was reading one of the books when they first met. Eventually the pair grew into a group of four, and Mabel has flashbacks of one particular night with Tim, Zoe (Olivia Reis) and Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) that led to the dismantling of their friend group. 

Bunny calls together a memorial in The Arconia lobby for Tim. A few people speak up, including a desperate therapist, Tim’s neighbor who wants the extra rooms in his apartment and Howard, who tearfully reveals that his cat Evelyn also died the same night as Tim. At the memorial, Bunny pulls Oliver aside and tells him his building fees are eight months past due, and if he doesn’t pay them in two weeks, he will be evicted.

Before breaking into Tim’s apartment, Oliver goes to the building manager Ursula, who has a lot of dirt on Tim Kono. She ropes him into buying three cases of Gut Milk, which she sells on the side, in exchange for the physical file she has on Tim as well as the secrets that were “too dirty to write down.” Once in Tim’s apartment, Mabel notices all the “Hardy Boys” books on the shelves, and there are also bloody pawprints, presumably from Evelyn on the floor.

Mabel later returns to Tim’s apartment and starts pulling the books from their shelves, seeing that a lot of them are hollowed out and contain more jewelry. She then starts recording videos of herself talking about Tim, titling them “Just in Case I’m Next.”

The Podcast Needs a Sponsor

Oliver pitches their amateur podcast “Only Murders in the Building” to Teddy Dimas (Nathan Lane), who is known for his famous dips. Teddy has backed many of Oliver’s efforts in the past, to varying degrees of success. Teddy declines but tells Oliver that they should get a drink sometime.

While Oliver approaches Teddy, Charles and Mabel question Howard, “Evelyn’s cat daddy.” During the interrogation, Charles gets a nosebleed, and Howard faints because he has a condition where he passes out at the sight of blood. While he is unconscious, Mabel tells Charles to get ice from the freezer for the back of Howard’s head, and Charles finds Evelyn’s frozen body in the fridge. When Howard comes to, he explains that he is getting a toxicology report done on Evelyn because he thinks Tim poisoned her.

More Elevator Encounters

In their flurry of investigations, Charles and Mabel run into a bassoon-playing neighber named Jan (Amy Ryan) who takes an interest in Charles. They strike up a conversation about music and Charles complements Jan’s playing. She tells him it was nice to meet him and introduces herself, and he gives his name in return. Mabel tells him she was definitely flirting with him, but Charles doesn’t give it much thought.

Oliver takes Winnie, his dog, out for a walk and runs into Sting in the elevator. Winnie takes a liking to the celebrity singer, but he tells Oliver to rein her in, prompting Oliver to say “Winnie don’t stand so close to Sting.” Sting says he has a dog but doesn’t like it that much. Oliver then approaches Teddy yet again saying it is time to have that drink, and he successfully confinces Teddy to financially back their podcast. 

On his way back from this victory, Oliver finds Winnie in a weird state and sees powder surrounding a bone near her. Someone poisoned Winnie, and Oliver thinks it was Sting.

Notes That Send the Investigation in a Whole New Direction

Mabel finds a note as she looks through all of the jewelry in Tim’s apartment. It has the initials “G.M., 1/31 @ 4:30 p.m., Shore Road.” Right before Oliver discovers Winnie poisoned, there is a note posted on his door saying “End the podcast or I’ll end you!”

The team snags a meeting with their idol Cinda Canning, consulting with her about how to build audience for “Only Murders in the Building,” and she says she will listen and help them out. After peeking out his window when he hears Jan playing music, Jan sends Charles a note asking him on a date. The date starts out okay, but Charles starts to say all the wrong things, thinking he has ruined his chances at romance.

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Mabel, Charles and Oliver bring Sting a turkey to talk to him about his involvement in Tim Kono’s death. Sting confesses that he feels guilty because he told Tim to kill himself the night before he did it, so he thought he was responsible. He feels vindicated when they tell him they suspect foul play. 

Charles gets a second date with Jan, and Oliver’s son stops by after looking after Winnie, who recovered from her poisoning. Oliver’s son warns him that Mabel used to hang out with Tim.

Tie-Dye Guy and Some New Leads

Mabel sets out to try and make sense of the note she found in Tim’s apartment with the initials, date and time on it. She quickly notices that someone wearing a pink, blue and yellow hooded sweatshirt is following her down the street, so she heads down an alleyway and turns around to tackle the stalker to the ground.

The stalker turns out to be Oscar (Aaron Dominguez), an old friend of Mabel and Tim’s. Oscar used to date Zoe, and he was blamed for that flashback night that they were all hanging out on the roof of The Arconia when Zoe fell to her death. Oscar has just gotten out of jail, and he offers to accompany Mabel wherever she’s going, which turns out to be a tattoo parlor.

Oliver tells Charles what his son told him, and they now label Mabel as a suspect. They decide to tail her wherever she is going, and they see that she is with tie-dye guy. At the tattoo shop, old friend Tavo informs Mabel and Oscar as well as Oliver and Charles that Tim suspected he would be killed because a black market jeweler called Angel was after him. Mabel’s mom shows up at the tattoo parlor and invites everyone over for dinner. She makes Mabel stay home with her while Charles and Oliver return to The Arconia. Mabel and Oscar spend the night in her room and they look at old pictures together in a scrapbook. This brings them to kiss. 

Back at The Arconia, Teddy plays a recording of Cinda Canning talking to Jimmy Fallon about the “Only Murders” podcast, and even though it is not favorable, Teddy is happy for the visibility and writes them another check on top of the $35K he already gave them.

Things Are Heating Up

Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), who ruled Tim’s death a suicide, stars to second guess things after her partner listens to the “Only Murders in the Building” podcast as they are putting together their home. Williams goes over the reports and documents from the processes that led her to declare suicide, and she realizes that some things were not done correctly.

Upon closer inspection, Mabel, Charles and Oliver realize that Teddy’s check comes from Angel Inc., making “their prime sponsor their new prime suspect.”

Theo’s Perspective

Episode 7 of the show is told mostly from Theo’s perspective. Theo is Teddy’s deaf son, and he flashes back to his father coming to terms with his deafness, trying to play him music but realizing he will never be able to hear it. Theo can read lips really well, and he catches the trio talking about how they now suspect Teddy, who he warns. 

Charles and Mabel sneak into Teddy’s apartment and find a long hidden hallway full of urns that could either contain jewelry or ashes. Theo comes back to the apartment but they successfully hide from him. Later when they trace the labels of the urns, they discover that the Dimases are grave robbers.

Theo flashes back to meeting Zoe (Olivia Reis), and he remembers her because she noticed him and was nice to him. Teddy gave Zoe the emerald ring that Mabel remembers, and he remembers his dad scolding him for doing so. 

What Happened to Zoe

The hazy memory shared by Mabel, Oscar and Theo becomes clear with Theo’s point of view. In confronting Zoe on the rooftop that fateful night, he accidentally pushed her to her death. Tim witnessed this, and Theo told his dad everything. Teddy then threatened Tim with death if he told anyone what he saw. 

The Dimas’ Role

Theo kidnaps Mabel and Oliver. While he is driving them to an unknown location, significant developments take place. The podcast has developed a fan following who wait outside The Arconia to see the podcast’s hosts in person. Charles sleeps with Jan.

Teddy gets into a fancier car with Oliver and Mabel and tells them to publish a podcast episode the next day that says they were all wrong about the murder and murderer. Oliver later goes ahead and publishes an episode convicting Teddy anyway.

They Win Detective Williams Over

Detective Williams meets up at a discreet spot under cover with the trio, telling them to find out the “who, the how, the why and the why now” behind the murder. The trio returns to The Arconia to brainstorm further, now with Jan’s help. But Jan’s theories are weak, and they dismiss many of them. They decide to invite their new fanbase inside to help them sharpen their search. 

Detective Williams gets a toxicology report back, which reveals that Tim was actually poisoned. 

Charles brings Jan flowers to apologize for his friends shooting down her theories, but he finds her on the floor with a bloody stab wound.

Still More Developments

Jan recovers from her stab wound while Charles looks after her. Charles receives a surprise visitor — his “Brazos” stunt double Zaz Pitaki (Jane Lynch). Oliver officially receives an eviction notice, so he moves in with Charles without asking. The Arconia board calls its tenants together to discuss the podcast and how it has affected them. Many of the residents want the trio out of the building. Charles doesn’t want to continue the podcast and he gets pretty stubborn about it. He returns to his apartment where Zaz is keeping Jan company, and Zaz randomly suggests that Tim’s murder could be a crime of passion. 

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Mabel and Oliver decide to question more people about Tim’s romantic life, finding that he was very actively engaged. They recall the sex toys that Oliver found in Tim’s apartment, but when examining them again, they figure out that they aren’t sex toys at all, but bassoon tools, specifically one is a cleaner! Jan and Tim were sleeping together.

The Denouement

Charles tells Jan he loves her, and she returns the sentiment. Oliver and Mabel warn Charles that Jan is now the prime suspect. At first he seems to deny it, but then he talks to her about Tim and she notices the bassoon cleaner in his apartment. Charles secretly records the conversation and gets Jan to confess that she murdered Tim. 

Jan poisoned a handkerchief that she gave to Charles, so he inhales the fumes and quickly becomes incapacitated. He tries to text Mabel and Oliver, who discover that Jan stabbed herself when they find a bloody knife hidden in a vent. They then come to Charles’ rescue and run through The Arconia trying to get to the police. Jan confronts them with a gun, but Charles distracts Jan with his babbling that only he thinks makes sense in his head. They eventually knock the gun out of Jan’s hand and get her arrested for her crime.

Cliffhanger

The trio celebrates their success on the rooftop at night after things have died down. Mabel heads down to her (aunt’s) apartment to get a new bottle of champagne. While she’s gone, Charles and Oliver get a text from an anonymous phone number saying “Get out of the building now!” They go to get Mabel and find her kneeling over a bloody body wearing that tie-dye hoodie. The body rolls over and it turns out to be Bunny the landlord, with a knitting needle in her chest. Mabel tells the guys it’s not what they think, but all three of them get arrested regardless, and it doesn’t look good for Mabel because at the beginning of the series she talked about a recurring nightmare that she had where she stabbed an intruder standing over her bed with her knitting needle.

“Only Murders in the Building” Season 2 premieres on Hulu June 28 with the first two episodes.

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