Every season, Hulu Just Murder in the Building presents an exciting new detective murder mystery complete with a new set of potential killers. Each season also adds impressive cast members, and for the third season, it included Paul Rudd and Meryl Streep in prominent roles. As usual, the episodes follow Mabel (Selena Gomez), Oliver (Martin Short), and Charles (Steve Martin) as they carry out their own investigations to uncover the truth, creating podcast episodes to chronicle each discovery and theory.
The story in season 3 begins where season 2 ended, with Rudd’s character Ben dying on stage in front of a crowd at the opening night of Oliver’s play. Mabel, as seen from the audience, has an “oh no, not again” face. But how does it all work?
Fans were immediately shocked when, after mourning Ben’s death, he appeared in a room full of his friends to declare he was safe. With the show called Just Murder in the Building, Rudd, who now lives in the Arconia apartment previously occupied by Amy Schumer, could not have died anywhere but in the actual building. Which he does, his body falls down a broken elevator shaft, just as the true crime trio is out to find him. Why are these people always in the worst place at the wrong time?
The first clue came from a simple handkerchief. After Oliver and Mabel are kidnapped and tied up by Ben’s stalker, Gregg (Adrian Martinez), they discover that he stole Ben’s handkerchief before he died. This means that the handkerchief that was on Ben when he died belonged to someone else, most likely the killer. Because the handkerchief was a unique handkerchief that Charles had given to everyone involved in the drama, the list of suspects was immediately narrowed down. The three, perhaps distracted by other things in their lives, get to work trying to figure out whose handkerchief is missing and who might be the killer.
But it’s more than just a handkerchief. The list of suspects is long. From Kimber (Ashley Park), Ben’s co-star, to Jonathan (Jason Veasey) his student, Joy, the enthusiastic make-up artist (and Charles’ short-lived love interest in a scene-stealing role by Andrea Martin), and Loretta (Meryl Streep) , a long-struggling actor hoping for his big break (who became Oliver’s first love interest on the show). Eventually, even Ben’s jealous foster brother and manager Dickie (Jeremy Shamos) raises suspicions. Plus, what’s with that weird stage manager KT (Allison Guinn)?
Police did not investigate further because they believed they had found the man in Gregg. After all, they did save Mabel and Oliver from being kidnapped. But despite his problematic behavior, the couple does not believe he is guilty. He loved Ben too much to kill him.
But who will help Mabel with her premonition? Oliver, who has just suffered a heart attack (one of two he’s had so far this season) is too busy trying to remake his play as a musical. Charles, meanwhile, is busy finding a way to stay with Joy while maintaining his sanity. Mabel finds a new helper in Tobert (Jesse Williams), a camera operator who follows Ben around to make a documentary. He had insight that proved invaluable to Mabel. After all, he had no help from his old friends.
As the episode progresses, each part of the story is told from a different suspect’s point of view. Each also reveals a secret. Eliminating Kimber as a suspect, for example, fans saw that she was just trying to get Ben to help her promote her fragrance creation. Joy, meanwhile, is disgusted that Charles doesn’t believe he’s innocent, and doesn’t seem to be the guilty party either.
Loretta has a skeleton in her closet, but it turns out it has something to do with Dicky. He was her biological son but didn’t know it. He keeps a strange book with clippings about Ben for photos of Dickie, not Ben. Dicky, meanwhile, may hate his brother, but he also loves him dearly. Plus, he has a solid alibi.
However, when the finger was pointed at Dicky, after that Just Murder in the Building podcast presents new evidence that police can’t ignore, Loretta claims she killed Ben to save her son. Mabel now has the duo back to help: Oliver won’t stand by and let Loretta lose because of this while Charles doesn’t like Tobert taking their place.
As the trio works their way through their signature kill board, pieces start to fall. The three talk to Dickie and discover new details about Ben’s whereabouts before the opening night curtain call. They put themselves in Ben’s shoes, seeing through flashbacks how everything fell into place.
After meeting with a group of elderly female friends to sew gifts for the entire cast to apologize for his behavior, Ben learns that Dickie is quitting. He confronts Loretta about her involvement in his decision, which causes Charles to punch him in the face for attacking him.
On his way back to the dressing room to have his bruise repaired by Joy, Ben is offered a delicious cake by Cliff (Wesley Taylor). He angrily refuses, but later when he finds the cake in the dressing room, Ben reluctantly devours it and then writes a message to himself on the dressing room mirror using Joy’s lipstick, calling himself a “fucking pig”. That explains the mirror’s message and who Ben was caught on camera arguing in the dressing room with: himself (well, cake).
The group realizes after Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) spends hours collecting scraps of paper that Donna (Linda Emond) must have gotten an early version of the play’s scathing review and tore it up before her son (or anyone else) could see it. . Desperate to prevent her son’s first game from being bombed, she poisons the cake and leaves it for Ben. He is, according to the review, the weak point in the play, not Oliver’s story. Loretta didn’t do it and now they have proof.
The gang arrives at the courthouse, Mabel disguising herself as a bride to gain entry, just in time to stop Loretta from confessing to a crime she didn’t commit. They believe they know who the real killer is. But before they could reveal her name, Donna stood up from her courthouse chair.
As the curtain rises on Death Rattle Dazzle, Oliver takes over the lead role in the play, Donna confesses that he was the one who poisoned and pushed Ben to his death. It was all to protect his son, and he was willing to turn himself in once the curtain closed. He was dying of stage 4 lung cancer and didn’t have much time left.
Mabel catches wind of something with a distraught Cliff and discovers that it was actually he who pushed Ben that fateful night. Cliff threatens to jump to his death upon discovery but is saved just in time by his dedicated and overly close mother. The pair are taken away by the police and Oliver’s game, despite a brawl at the end, is deemed a resounding success.
Of course, the story doesn’t end there. As the group celebrated, Charles said he was going to his apartment to get a bottle of 1966 Malbec he was saving for a special occasion. As he arrived at the darkened apartment, a gunshot rang through the window, striking him in the chest. However, it turns out it wasn’t Charles. It’s her identically dressed body double, Sazz (Jane Lynch) who has just arrived at the party and no doubt offers to get her a bottle.
So begins the next mystery: who killed Sazz and, more importantly, who might have wanted Charles dead? Just Murder in the Building hasn’t been officially renewed for a fourth season, but it’s safe to say that if it’s true, Sazz’s alleged death and potential attack on Charles will be central to the story.
Stream all three seasons Just Murder in the Building on Hulu.