And thus ends another chapter of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building with a killer reveal and a fresh new murder mystery yet to unravel. Season 3 is currently available to stream in its entirety via the streamer.
The big mystery as to who killed Ben Gilroy (Paul Rudd) was resolved and it’s almost always the person you least expect—at least it was for me. I hardly paid any mind to this character and secretly wanted it to be the talented and mysterious Loretta Durkin the entire time out of pure selfishness so we could spend more time with Meryl Streep in Season 4.
Alas, Ben’s killer was none other than Cliff DeMeo (Wesley Taylor). Cliff and his mother Donna DeMeo (Linda Emond) co-produced Oliver’s (Martin Short) big Broadway return—you know, the mother and son who loved sharing a wet kiss on the mouth often?
As you know, we saw Ben “die” twice with the first time being on stage in the Season 2 finale. Donna had read an early review of Death Rattle from renowned theater critic, Maxine (Noma Dumezweni), which panned the production and branded the lead star Ben’s performance as the show’s biggest fail. Donna had to protect her son at all costs seeing that it was Cliff’s Broadway debut and she needed it to be successful no matter what.
While Ben did not die from the rat poison-laced cookie she gave him as was revealed in the Season 3 premiere, it was Cliff who accidentally kills Ben at the Arconia by pushing him onto the elevator shaft.
Both were arrested in the end but all would not be well.
At the Death Rattle after party, the vibe was hype and there was so much to celebrate. Oliver received a raving review for his performance (and his Botox), Ben’s killer had been found and the core trio of Oliver, Charles-Haden (Steve Martin) and Mabel (Selena Gomez) experienced much personal growth—nothing could go wrong, right? Well, this is Only Murders in the Building so the viewer knew they were always seconds away from seeing a new dead body.
The only problem with the big Season 3 reveal is that the corpse is a beloved character nobody wanted to say goodbye to—Charles-Haden’s stunt double, Sazz Pataki (Jane Lynch). Sazz, we hardly knew ya! At least this means we will learn more about her story in Season 4.
Sazz was at the after party with a bit of concern in her voice. She asked Charles-Haden to meet her for a private conversation before exiting to his apartment to grab a fancy bottle of wine to celebrate. She would never be able to share her story; Sazz was murdered in Charles-Haden’s apartment.
Only Murders in the Building co-creator John Hoffman spoke to Deadline about all things Season 3 and what’s ahead.
DEADLINE: I’m sorry to get right to it, but how dare you kill Sazz?
JOHN HOFFMAN: There’s so much going on in that finale and I know people are going to react like that. That is a big swing and there’s more to come.
DEADLINE: Did the killer or killers know they were killing Sazz or did they confuse her for Charles-Haden?
HOFFMAN: Well, that’s the question of the day. That’s what excited me in many ways because it brought up many questions, that we could explore in a new season. It feels like what we hope to do always which is sort of shift the narrative in a way that feels particularly potent and personal—and it felt a bit fresh. That’s a very dangerous question to ask.
DEADLINE: I don’t know that the viewers will be ready to say goodbye to Jane Lynch, she’s such a fan favorite.
HOFFMAN: We love the hell out of Jane Lynch and [Sazz] is quite a creation. I’ll never forget it was our first season group of writers. I think it might have been Kirker Butler, but I could be wrong. But this was the group that came back and suggested this brilliant character of Sazz as Charles’ stunt double and she had to be played by Jane Lynch, the one and only. It was remarkable that she’s only been in a handful of episodes across the seasons but made such an impact.
Also, please don’t forget what we do with our victims with the deepening of their histories and everything else. And when that happens, you really want someone you know is going to be riveting, funny and brilliant. So, it sat there for us, just like Paul Rudd was for this past season when we brought him on for five minutes and then boom, in Season 2, you watch him do amazing work across the season as the victim.
DEADLINE: Great, so we can hope to spend all next season with Sazz?
HOFFMAN: There are far worse hopes to have, let me put it that way. I hope she’s ok with me saying this, she’s very excited about the idea.
DEADLINE: You tricked us at the end of Season 2 letting us think Ben (Rudd) had died at the theater when in fact, he died at the Arconia. The title of the show is Only Murders in the Building, so can you confirm everyone will die in the building?
HOFFMAN: I mean, that is the question still looming. Right now, successfully done. So, we sit in this place until we have the next best idea and then see how we can find our way if we can. It’s an interesting proposal as it was at the end of Season 2 to think like well, what if it’s just out of the building, and we didn’t do what we did in the first episode of Season 3? We had big talks about that and what that meant, and is crazy to disappoint people who might think we’re outside of our title? I don’t know, maybe a little bit. If we find a way and if we can be clever enough and grounded enough in some true way, to have fun with that idea we will do it.
DEADLINE: The show went large this season with the casting and the elements that create a musical, how do you follow that up?
HOFFMAN: Once the cast came together for this season, we all felt this incredible moment of okay, we have to fulfill, and we have to step it up and how do we do that? I guess for me, I thought, well, let’s go as big as we can and cross our fingers because it’s our one shot with this incredible… I don’t know that there is a more celebrated cast of a half-hour comedy in history for a season. It’s remarkable who was in the show this season.
And then, the onus, of course, is to sort of give them enough that, across the 10-episode season, they feel like both part of the fabric of the show— so it doesn’t stand out and throw the show into like a seesaw edge that feels off-kilter—but feels a part of the show and that they integrate.
DEADLINE: What was it like working with Meryl Streep this season?
HOFFMAN: I remember Meryl joining and saying this feels like I’m in The Berliner Ensemble, which is one of the greatest ensembles in history. And that’s for Meryl Streep to say as the premier actor of our generation, right? To watch her find her way in highlighting these extraordinary moments across the season, which I’m just so proud of and I feel so relieved that they’re all happy with what they were doing across the season. I remember her sitting down next to me as we were shooting the finale, and we were watching Marty Short doing a singing number as the stage was lit gorgeously.
Everyone is shooting the hell out of it and going at 120 and not only stepping it up and going beyond but hoping that it comes back together and grounds itself in the show and feels organic. I feel very lucky and fortunate that it does for me. There was this energy on the show this season from the cast and the crew.
So, when Meryl sat down next to me, she said as we were watching this insanity on stage, “You’re not afraid of a big swing are you?” I said, well, when the moment is there for you, if you’re not diving in with everything you got, then you might regret it. And so, we did from every angle, from the composers, the songs, the orchestrations—I can’t even believe what we were able to do this season.
DEADLINE: Season 3 was very New York and signs seem to be pointing towards Los Angeles for Season 4 which would make sense for many reasons. Are the trio going cross country?
HOFFMAN: Well, we are gonna see if there’s a definite touch of Los Angeles in small doses. We’ll see. That is a wish too because there are continuations. It’s not like we put a final period on the interpersonal relationships that were so beautifully built across the season. I loved watching the reactions throughout the season to these personal relationships and what they mean. Now the trio is in a situation where with everyone they get involved they wonder, what have I done? Have I gotten involved with someone nefarious and murderous, potentially? I love the audience going with that and feeling it and, and making assumptions, presumptions about all of it and then flipping in ways that are gentler and surprising. We hate losing anybody in the cast like we said about Jane, but we can find ways of keeping them involved as this great ensemble continues.
DEADLINE: We’ve been asking about a Three Amigos reunion since Season 1 and talk heated up recently as Chevy Chase shared he’d be up to joining his old castmates Steve Martin and Martin Short on Only Murders. Are you considering this?
HOFFMAN: Well, that’s it… It’s been this amazing ride where if anyone’s talking about wanting to be in our show, I’m delighted beyond, especially someone of Chevy’s level and genius. So, I’m open to the world here as far as what we can go to next.
With Paul Rudd and then Meryl Streep, I cannot thank them enough for what they did for our show and for the leveling up in a way that felt just remarkable. For Season 3, there was no question that for everyone in the room, Meryl was our lighthouse. We all looked to her to lead the way and we were dazzled by her over and over again. This was true with Paul as well. So, yes. Big cast whatever’s coming next I’ll take whoever.
DEADLINE: Well, Scott Bakula is right there too. He was basically a part of Season 3.
HOFFMAN: I love Scott Bakula; we worked together on HBO’s Looking. He’s such a great guy. I haven’t spoken to him about all of this. He’s everywhere this season. But more importantly, where’s Jeff Bakula?