Our Most Likely Suspects, Ranked

Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Season 3 of Only Murders in the Building.

Only Murders in the Building is in the midst of its third season, and the race is on to find out who killed successful but obnoxious actor Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd). With more than half of Season 3’s episodes having premiered some characters are looking like much more viable suspects than others, although there is still plenty of room for big plot twists to change the course of the investigation. Given what is known about the series, characters, and themes, as well as the general history of the murder mystery genre it is possible to note which characters are more likely to be involved than others. So, without further ado, here are Season 3’s possible killers, ranked from least likely to most likely to have committed the crime.

RELATED: Paul Rudd Should Play More Villains After ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 3

12 Charles

Image via Hulu

To be clear, it’s incredibly unlikely that any of the series’ three main characters were involved in Ben’s death. Only Murders may feature plenty of serious, even dark elements spread throughout its comedic shenanigans but at the end of the day it’s clearly meant to be a more lighthearted, easily enjoyable show, and much of its appeal comes from the friendship between Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez’s characters. That core dynamic would be irrevocably altered if any of the trio became a killer, likely in a way that would ruin the series — and Charles-Haden Savage, played by series co-creator Martin, is even less likely to be the culprit than either of his friends.

While it’s true that Charles and Ben didn’t get along during their time working together on Oliver Putnam’s (Short) play, Death Rattle, the second episode of the season revealed that this was more Charles’ fault than Ben’s. A flashback showed Ben telling Charles that years ago he had fired a young Ben from a guest role on Charles’ hit TV show Brazzos, which was supposed to be his first major acting job. Charles barely remembered the younger man, highlighting the self-centered nature of his younger self. In the present he feels guilty for his past behavior, suggesting that his story for the season will at least partially revolve around him trying to be a better, more caring person going forward. Murdering one of the people he wronged would go completely against this idea.

The fourth episode of the season emphasized how severe Charles’ stage fright has gotten. At several stressful moments, he lost time, imagining himself in a mental space his fellow performers refer to as “The White Room” while his body acted out in unseen, bizarre ways. The creators may want the viewer to wonder if this had actually happened previously and Charles could have killed Ben without realizing it to stop the play from going forward, but his role in the main trio still discounts most of this suspicion. Besides, the “White Room” scenes already served an important function by leading to Charles’ unintended proposal to Joy (Andrea Martin). Episode 5 did reveal that Charles punched Ben when it looked like he was harassing Loretta (Meryl Streep) the night of the play’s premiere, which was also the night of his death, but there’s no reason to think hostilities between them went beyond that yet.

11 Oliver

Image via Hulu

Oliver is ranked higher than Charles simply because he’s more involved with the season’s exploration of the passion of artists so far. He’s pretty desperate to make Death Rattle (or as he’s now calling it, Death Rattle Dazzle) a success so he can mount a return to Broadway. In some alternate universe where the series had bad writing that could be used as a motive for murder if he believed Ben was more of a hindrance to the show than a help. Fortunately, in this reality, there’s almost no chance he’s the killer.

10 Mabel

Selena Gomez as Mabel, wearing a black top hat and black sequined jacket and gloves as she dances Bob Fosse-style in Only Murders in the Building Season 3 Episode 2
Image via Hulu

The final member of the main trio is the only one the series has made seem like an even remotely possible suspect so far. At the beginning of the season, Mabel Mora (Gomez) is itching to get back into the amateur detective game. She admitted to Oliver that her first thought after seeing Ben collapse was wondering if he was murdered and hoping they and Charles could investigate and make a new season of their podcast about his death. If she wasn’t a main character that would make her a pretty obvious suspect. But she is a main character so the chance she did it is still pretty slim. She was also shown talking to a vision of Ben, who reassured her that she would find out who killed him, and she later told Charles that the case was personal for her as she treasured the memories of watching one of Ben’s TV shows at the same time as her mother.

If she turned out to be the killer, the series would have to engage in some seriously convoluted storytelling to make those scenes make sense. If any of the Big Three ever do turn out to be killers, Mabel would probably be the most believable choice — but the only time that could really conceivably happen would be if the show was ending and wanted to go out on the most dramatic possible terms. While a fourth season has yet to be announced, there’s also been no indication the third will be the show’s last, so viewers can rest easy as the trio almost certainly won’t be broken up by one of them going bad yet.

9 Cinda

Tina Fey as Cinda Canning in Only Murders in the Building
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Season 3, Episode 4 saw the reintroduction of Cinda Canning (Tina Fey), another true crime podcast host who served as a rival to the trio in the first two seasons. Although she’s publicly adopted a new persona promoting mental health awareness secretly she, like Mabel, has been itching to get back to investigating and offers Mabel the chance to be partners and produce a new podcast starring the latter. She also notes how lucky Mabel is to be closely connected to yet another murder, which could imply that she killed Ben to cash in on the investigation. That said, the chance she actually had anything to do with it is pretty low. Having the killer be someone who was entirely absent from the beginning of the season would seem like cheating. In addition, Cinda was one of the major suspects in last year’s killing with virtually the same hypothetical motive. To have her actually be guilty this time would be repetitive. Her role this season seems more designed to set up Mabel’s decision to investigate without the guys. She was also completely absent from and not even mentioned in Episodes 5 and 6, so her role this year might not even be big enough to be the killer.

8 Jerry or K.T.

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Season 3, Episode 6 put two new characters in the spotlight. Jerry Blau (Peter Bartlett) is a struggling theater director and acquaintance of Oliver’s who has secretly been living backstage at the Goosebury Theater, where Death Rattle Dazzle is to be performed. K.T. (Allison Guinn) is the play’s stage manager who has worked at the Goosebury many times. Oliver discussed the possibility that Loretta is the killer with Jerry, who had witnessed her fight with Ben and Charles punching him. K.T. showed Howard (Michael Cyril Creighton) a new way to ward off the ghost he believes haunts the theater which involved him using the acting skills and passion he’s long suppressed because of his mother discouraging him.

Although it is revealed that Jerry was supposed to direct Death Rattle before Donna (Linda Emond) fired him, which could give him a grudge against the show and those involved, there isn’t much chance that either he or K.T. is the killer. The latter was at least around for the season’s first two episodes, but her role was still minimal and this is the first time Jerry’s ever appeared. Making such minor figures the killer would take away some of the series’ appeal, as there was no way the viewers could guess that Jerry did it, as they didn’t know he existed, and almost no way to do so for K.T. Jerry also comes across less like an actual individual character and more like a cartoonish representation of what could happen to Oliver if he doesn’t get his life and career back on track. It seems pretty clear that Jerry and K.T. are intended more to be supporting players in Oliver and Howard’s stories than serious suspects.

7 Joy

Image via Hulu

Episode 4 made Charles’ makeup artist-turned-girlfriend look overtly suspicious, but as expected the following week’s installment mostly undid this. Joy freely admitted that the lipstick found in Ben’s dressing room was hers but had a perfectly reasonable explanation for why it would be there, as she had had to touch up Ben’s makeup after Charles hit him, so it probably just fell out of her purse. Her justified decision to call off the engagement in light of Charles’ suspicions made it clear that this storyline was more about highlighting how he sabotages his relationships than it was about offering a strong theory on the crime. Plus, this season has frequently poked fun at the idea of Charles dating another killer after Jan (Amy Ryan), so the odds of the show actually having him do so are pretty low.

6 Donna and Cliff

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The mother-and-son producing duo financing the play seemed like strong suspects at first, as there were hints of believable motives for them to commit the crime that were still subtle enough to allow them not to draw too much attention. But neither Donna nor Cliff DeMeo (Wesley Taylor) has appeared for the last three episodes, and they haven’t been referenced much either. There’s still time for them to play bigger roles but if the show doesn’t start developing them and establishing more connections between them and the crime soon, it will be safe to write them off as suspects.

5 Kimber

Image via Hulu

Kimber (Ashley Park) looked less glaringly guilty after Episode 4, although she wasn’t completely disqualified as a suspect as some might have expected her to be. She still had reason to be mad at Ben after he backed out of promoting her skincare products and while she didn’t hide the fact that she sold her cast handkerchief on eBay that still conveniently puts it out of reach of the investigation. And the fact that she’s conducting her business out of the shuttered theater is definitely odd, suggesting that she might be in desperate financial shape. But she also confirmed that there wasn’t anything romantic going on with her and Ben and said that despite his negative qualities he could be sweet. And making the airhead TikTok star the killer seems like too ham-handed an attempt at social commentary for the more witty series. It’s still within the realm of possibility that the investigation could circle back around to her later on, but with Kimber having sat out the last two episodes it’s also possible that her role has been more or less completed.

4 Jonathan

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In Episode 5, Tobert (Jesse Williams) was briefly suspicious of Jonathan (Jason Veasey), Ben’s understudy and Howard’s boyfriend, but then surmised that he wasn’t the killer and enjoyed his cabaret performance, even tricking Mabel into watching it with him on a date. However, the pair later saw Jonathan meeting and exchanging envelopes with a man whom Tobert recognized as “Dr. C,” a man who provided private, possibly illicit, services to Ben, as well as other celebrities. But when they confronted him in Episode 6 Jonathan admitted to getting an assortment of drugs from Dr. C, saying that he hoped they would help him with nerves as he doesn’t actually like being the leading man given all the pressure that comes with that position. He could of course be lying or may have killed Ben before discovering that he doesn’t want to be the lead but the matter-of-fact way he admitted to the drug problem didn’t make it seem like he was hiding anything else. The sassily lovable Howard is also one of the foundations of the show and his romance with Jonathan, which dates back to last season, has been a source of wholesome sweetness so far. Blowing that up to make the latter the killer seems like too depressing a move for the show.

3 Loretta

Meryl Streep as Loretta smiling in Only Murders in the Building Season 3 Episode 3
Image via Hulu

The answers about Loretta didn’t come as quickly as one might have hoped after last week’s big reveal, as Oliver spent most of the episode trying to deny and even cover up her possible involvement in the killing, even starting to erase the “fucking pig” message so no one would notice it’s in her handwriting before Mabel and Charles caught him. Oliver also didn’t find any explanation for her scrapbook of Ben’s newspaper clippings and managed to keep it a secret from the others. Given that he, hopefully temporarily, gave up on the investigation after the trio’s argument it may be some time before there’s an explanation as to just how Loretta and Ben are connected, and until we get that answer Loretta is still one of the most likely killers, even with the doubt created by Streep’s casting.

2 Dickie

Image via Hulu

Dickie was absent again this week, but Loretta’s conspicuous mention of him last week and the scrapbook reveal ensure that he’s still very much in play as a suspect. There’s clearly a lot more to the relationship between the aging actress and the Glenroy brothers than we know so far, and it seems pretty likely that Dickie could be revealed to have more complicated reasons to kill Ben than the simple resentment and jealousy that the first episodes suggested. That said, he will need to start receiving more screen time and development very soon if he is to make for a satisfying antagonist.

1 Tobert

Image via Hulu

Tobert is still the most likely culprit. He’s neither part of the main group nor played by an especially famous actor, and he hasn’t been shown to have a glaringly obvious reason to dislike Ben yet. As a documentarian who was making a film about Ben, he stands apart from the other new characters, all of whom are more directly involved in the play and contribute to that storyline, raising the question of why he would be included in the season at all if he didn’t have anything to do with the crime. His interactions with Mabel are also pretty telling. Not only was he also sneaking into Ben’s apartment, claiming he left a boom mic there, but he also revealed that he’s planning on redesigning his documentary to make it about Ben’s death and the ensuing investigation. That sounds like a much more interesting task for someone with his serious passion for filmmaking than what was sure to be a vanity project for Ben, so it seems like the death worked out in Tobert’s favor. Episode 5 featured a scene where he started writing Dr. C’s name on Mabel’s murder board, with her noting that she was worried about his handwriting. Given how important handwriting was this week as Oliver looked into Loretta’s connection to the “fucking pig” message, Tobert’s could very well be an important clue if it’s examined more closely.

He also got a significant monologue that explained the motivations he wants Mabel to think he has, which may have also revealed hidden ones. He explained that while shooting a nature film he saw an elephant get stuck in the mud and was struck with the classic journalistic conundrum of whether to help those in need or remain an impartial observer and record events as they happened. Although he first said he helped the elephant, he later admitted this was a lie but said he felt guilty about it and wanted to behave differently going forward, hence why he wants to find out the truth about Ben’s death — but that may be the real lie. It seems very possible he killed Ben to make a more artistically fulfilling project for himself and now is trying to screw up Mabel and company’s investigation so he doesn’t get caught. As of Episode 6, he’s in an even better position to do so as Mabel has seemingly taken him on as more of a full partner after her argument with the guys. Their budding romance introduces a bit of doubt about his culpability, but given everything that’s going on with him, Joy, and Loretta, it seems inevitable that one of the trio’s love interests will at least have something significant to do with the murder, and if any of them are actually the killer, Tobert still seems like the best choice given everything we know about him so far.

New episodes of Only Murders in the Building Season 3 premiere every Tuesday on Hulu.

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