‘Only Murders in the Building’ is a comedy series that revolves around three strangers who live in the same apartment building and are obsessed with true crime. A murder in their building prompts them to launch their own investigation, leading them into a series of hilarious and dangerous circumstances. The series is created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman. The premise of the show is intriguing, to say the least, and it also makes one wonder whether the story is inspired by any real events or true stories. If you are curious to learn about the inspiration behind ‘Only Murders in the Building,’ here’s everything you need to know!
Is Only Murders in the Building Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Only Murders in the Building’ is not based on a true story. The series is based on an original concept from creators Steve Martin and John Hoffman. Martin, a multi-talented artist, devised the concept a few years ago after a party he attended. The host of the party suggested that Martin write a story keeping in mind the three other guests present at the party who were seasoned Broadway actors. “The idea came almost immediately, that they lived in a building and they all were interested in crime. But they didn’t have the energy to go downtown, so they would only do murders in the building,” Martin recalled in an interview with New York Times.
The project came to fruition when Martin had a lunch meeting with ‘This Is Us‘ creator Dan Fogelman and his producing partner, Jess Rosenthal. Towards the end of the meeting, Martin pitched the idea for the show. Soon after, John Hoffman (‘Grace and Frankie‘) became attached to the project and helped devise the story and create the characters. Hoffman has described the show as an exploration of how three lonely people end up bonding with each other.
To create some contrast between the characters, the character of Mabel, a young woman living in the apartment building, was created to add a fresh dynamic. The other two older characters Charles (Martin) and Oliver (Martin Short), both have a background in showbiz, not unlike the guests from the party that kick-started the inception of the show’s concept.
Singing sensation and former Disney star Selena Gomez was an archetype the writers had in mind while developing the character of Mabel. Gomez, a self-proclaimed true crime enthusiast, was eventually cast in the role. Mabel’s experiences in the series were inspired by a real-life experience of Hoffman, whose childhood friend died by suicide, but it later turned out to be a murder.
The series is set in a full-block apartment in New York’s Upper West Side and filmed on location in the neighborhood. The Upper West Side is no stranger to gruesome murders in apartment buildings, which adds a semblance of reality to the show. Likewise, the three main characters are obsessed with true crime and even start their own podcast, which makes the plot more believable.
All things said, ‘Only Murders in the Building’ is a fictional story that subverts the murder mystery genre by adding a fresh dose of humor and absurdity to it. The creativity and personal experience of the show’s makers provide a touch of realism to the narrative. The true-crime podcast angle and carefully selected setting of the show make it believable. The actors share some similarities with their characters and elevate the fictional material to a relatable level with their amazing performances.