Before we get into the meat of “The Boy in 6B,” the seventh episode of Only Murders in the Building, let’s just start off by acknowledging how legitimately thrilling it is to watch a new TV show that’s so instantly self-assured, confident and intelligent, without ever feeling didactic or lazy. Short version: God, this show is so good. It would have been so easy for a show like this to feel lifeless or dull or uninspired, coming years after the true-crime podcast wave really started with Serial. And considering the genuine event status conferred upon the show simply for being the first time Steve Martin’s ever starred in a TV series, Only Murders in the Building could have been a disappointment.

With just three episodes left until the season wraps up, Only Murders in the Building does still have the potential to be a bit of a letdown. Some of that might be baked into the premise of a show that riffs on true-crime podcasts while also lovingly replicating some of those shows’ most common tropes; one of which is often that the conclusion of a given true-crime story is rarely as satisfying as the build-up. So we have to acknowledge the hopefully slim possibility that this show’s final few episodes are going to sputter where others have soared.

But that’s the thing: seven episodes in, Only Murders in the Building has only gotten better, with “The Boy in 6B” serving as a true standout, the kind of high-quality storytelling that gives you goosebumps. It’s a ballsy thing to take a show starring chatterboxes like Steve Martin and Martin Short, and featuring actors like Amy Ryan and the mellifluous Nathan Lane, and make an episode that features literally one line of audible dialogue. And yet, here we have “The Boy in 6B”, an episode that saves that single line until the very last moment; though plenty of words are spoken in the episode, we hear just about nothing aside from some diegetic sound effects, an old song and riffs on the show’s theme song that sometimes seem to exist primarily to remind you that your TV or laptop or cell phone’s audio isn’t broken.

Nathan Lane in 'Only Murders in the Building'.

Nathan Lane in ‘Only Murders in the Building.’ (Image credit: Hulu)

The previous episode ended with a task before our trio of podcasters, Charles (Martin), Oliver (Short), and Mabel (Selena Gomez): they’d received the cell phone of the dead Tim Kono from, unbeknownst to them, Detective Williams of the NYPD (Da’Vine Joy Rudolph), but they could not figure out the passcode to let them into the phone and figure out what secrets Tim may have been hiding. The episode also ended with the revelation that, as Charles puts it, “our prime sponsor is now our prime suspect.” 

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