Meryl Streep Takes on Her Biggest Stretch Yet in the Third Season of "Only Murders in the Building" 

Streep plays Loretta, an actress without a scrap of Streep's acclaim or success, in her return to serialized TV, and it's a role that tests both her acting chops and the audience's capacity to suspend disbelief.

In the murder mystery "Death Rattle," which centers on babies, Loretta is a part of the ensemble cast. Martin Short plays Oliver Putnam, a disgraced stage director who has since transitioned into a true-crime podcaster. The plot for Oliver and his friend Charles-Haden Savage, the former TV actor played by Steve Martin, to reunite with their millennial neighbor Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), and investigate the case in real time for their thousands of podcast listeners, was established in the season finale of the previous season when lead actor Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd) appeared to pass away onstage. Cinda Canning (Tina Fey), the audio guru who has since reinvented herself as a wellness expert in Arianna Huffington drag, snarls, "You lucky bitch!" It seems as though these killings just happened to you.

The Hulu comedy appears to be navigating the move from breakout hit to reliable comfort in this new season. The procedural drama "Only Murders," created by Martin and John Hoffman, is notable for its meta commentary. The entire series is a light satire of the real crime trend, and Martin's character is best known in the "Only Murders" universe for being the lead investigator in the drama "Brazzos." (Charles frequently tries to apply his dubious understanding of actual detective work to the podcast.) "Another woman murderer? He refers to the perpetrators in the first two episodes of the series when he laments about an early suspect: "That's so done!"

To last, "Only Murders" must strike a balance between dependable pleasures like intergenerational banter, Manhattan provincialism, and Mabel's sweaters and new elements. To that purpose, Season 3 makes sure to highlight Ben's relationship to the Arconia, the opulent Upper West Side complex where its protagonists live, while also shifting its focus to a new setting: the theater, which is a different hotspot of eccentric New Yorkers than a co-op board. Charles' voiceovers are handled by other cast members, so there is less emphasis on the podcast's production as a whole. Of course, Streep also receives the special guest star credit of a visiting dignitary, along with Rudd.

After all the hoopla around Streep's appearance in Season 2 of "Big Little Lies," it's startling and energizing to see her play along as willingly as possible in a wider group. Although Streep and Rudd each get their day in the spotlight, she serves as Short's character's inspiration and love interest while he gets to play an egomaniac who amassed a large number of foes before one snapped. Ben Glenroy is known for portraying a superhero who can turn into a huge cobra, which gives Rudd the opportunity to make fun of his previous MCU role. While Loretta is a true talent, she occasionally struggles to avoid creating an accent when it isn't necessary. Streep's late-career major roles are noteworthy.

However, Loretta and Ben are just two of the many narcissistic actors out there. Always a study of urban loneliness and isolation, "Only Murders in the Building" gives emotional weight to what is frequently a ridiculous farce. Broadway appears to be the perfect stage for this topic, removing "Only Murders" from the Arconia and introducing new characters who would fit in just well. There's Oliver's assistant Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton), who frets tensely about a production in trouble, and Kimber (Ashley Park), the ingenue advertising skin serum on TikTok. Oliver's last-ditch effort after losing his star is to turn "Death Rattle" into a musical, a change with lots of room for humor. (The opening show-stopper's stage directions include the phrase "crab men, breeding.") Oliver and Charles are currently.

Mabel pairs up with Tobert (Jesse Williams), a cameraman who takes the position of her pals as co-investigator, because she is preoccupied with the show.

"Only Murders in the Building" no longer has to establish itself or even show that it can build on its own popularity with the release of Season 3. It also doesn't have to deal with the moral conundrum presented by the true crime genre it mocks, in which gruesome misfortune is turned into comforting entertainment. Instead, the program is free to capitalize on its reputation as having actresses of Streep's ability and then incorporate those performers into a narrative that is rapidly resonating with the potential to become a flexible institution. 

That Gomez has such unlikely platonic connection with Martin and Short is no longer a surprise. or that Hoffman and Martin continue to develop the small universe of their characters. It is a wonderful surprise to see how that growth develops and who shows up to assist fill the empty space.


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