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The Odd Throuple: Only Murders In The Building is back with a triumphant second season

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez return as true-crime obsessed New Yorkers in the hit Disney+ comedy.

Steve Martin, Selena Gomez and Martin Short in Only Murders In The Building. Image: Getty / Disney+

When it first appeared last year, this whip-smart murder mystery comedy about a true-crime obsessed trio was a surprise critical hit. But what a joy it was.

Steve Martin at his awkward best as a semi-retired former detective drama actor, Martin Short returning to our screens as a preening and secretly skint Broadway director, and Selena Gomez as their mysterious snarky neighbour, the trio linked only by their vicinity in the Arconia – a grand old New York apartment block – and their mutual obsession with true crime podcasts.

When their neighbour turned up dead, they knew just what to do. Only Murders In The Building became the odd throuple comedy we didn’t know we needed during these serious times. Genuinely funny, knowing and arch, stylishly filmed and fully involving, as a labyrinthine murder mystery enveloped the three central stars. What could be better? A cameo from Sting, as himself? You got it.

If we tuned in for the pure delight at seeing old pals Martin and Short (or should that be Steve and Martin?) back together so many years after Three Amigos and Father of The Bride, we stayed for a show of real ingenuity, warmth and wit.

The first season wrapped up the original murder mystery, established the trio as podcasting heroes and left us on a massive cliffhanger. Job done. So why was Mabel found covered in blood over the body of their loathed building supervisor Bunny? All will be revealed.

The world of Only Murders… expands in season two. So for Charles-Haden Savage (Steven Martin), there’s a second chance at stardom with a reboot of his iconic 1980s police series Brazzo in the works. It offers Martin another chance to showcase his skill at playing the inner pain as his alter ego’s pride takes a constant battering.

Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) finds Amy Schumer in the elevator – the comedy superstar having moved into Sting’s old place – and loves her suggestion of a high-end TV series based on Only Murders… (the podcast). An appeal to Putman’s vanity, which Short does not waste, turn his vaingloriousness up to 11.

And Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) became a viral media sensation, nicknamed #BloodyMabel, following her arrest for Bunny’s murder and is now being wooed by the cool Brooklyn art scene in the form of English artist Alice Banks (played, brilliantly, by Cara Delevingne).

Selena Gomez goes viral as #BloodyMabel in Only Murders In The Building. Image: Getty / Disney+

“English, queer, wannabe artist? I was like, that sounds like me. Typecast!” as Delevingne put it at the London screening. Cue some fine deadpan back and forth dialogue as Mora and Alice hit it off immediately.

A missing painting – which may or may not show “a tiny little bit” of Charles’s dad’s balls – could be a big clue to Bunny’s killer. Bunny’s mum sweeps in – played by Shirley MacLaine, because of course she is – and is full-on fabulous. More special guests are imminent.

Oliver, Charles and Mabel are now themselves persons of interests in a major crime. They are also subject to an opportunistic new podcast – ‘Only Murderers In The Building’ – from Tina Fey’s Cinda Canning.

The police warn our heroes: “No investigating. No podcasting. Get a new hobby.” But podcasters gotta podcast. There is a new mystery to solve and they are, once again, at the heart of the action.

It’s very rare for a true crime to do as sequel, as Charles observes, and second seasons are notoriously tough. But this series is so meta, so wonderfully and shamelessly playful. And it is building into something very special…

New episodes of Only Murders In The Building are available weekly on Disney+ from 28 June

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