Only Murders in the Building Theories: Who Killed Tim Kono?

Hulu's Only Murders in the Building is a satirical take on true crime podcasting. But the question of who killed Tim Kono must still be answered!

Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin in Only Murders in the Building
Photo: Hulu

Hulu’s original comedy series Only Murders in the Building has a lot going for it, namely the outstanding acting of its star trio. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez have found all the right notes to hit on comedically and dramatically to create a program that makes you feel warm inside while laughing your butt off. Let’s not forget what the main topic of the show is though: we’re trying to catch a murderer for God’s sake! Everyone loves a great mystery. The writers have done a clever job of giving the audience clues about who killed the victim of the show, Tim Kono (Julian Cihi), without ever getting close enough to the answer to spoil it for us. 

Each episode has flowed into the next with new puzzle pieces that contribute to the whole. New information debunks old myths, and speculation is always a healthy way to stay engaged during the days between fresh shows. With six episodes under our belts so far, it feels like a good time to investigate five potential culprits in this murder mystery. Let’s give it a shot!

Mabel Mora

Mabel (Selena Gomez) is an intelligent and introverted young woman who it is insinuated has kept to herself while living at the Arconia and has had an interest in solving crimes for the majority of her life. She hides from Charles and Oliver that she was a former friend of Tim Kono’s going back years and that the two of them used to engage in murder mystery explorations with two other friends, Oscar and Zoe, in a self-titled group, The Hardy Boys, named afte the hit novels. 

There was a falling out between Mabel and Tim when the latter wouldn’t tell her who he thinks was responsible for the death of Zoe four years earlier, leading to a potential motive of revenge for Mabel. But as Charles speculates in the fifth episode, does this young woman really have what it takes to kill another person? She loves solving true crime, but nothing indicates that she could ever be involved in one. She is as close to the murder as anybody in the cast so far, but there is a good chance that association has nothing to do with culpability. The next candidate has a rap sheet that Mabel doesn’t possess. 

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Oscar (Tie-Dye Guy)

Oscar (Aaron Dominguez), also known as tie-dye guy for the colorful hoodie he tends to sport when seen in public, was also in Mabel’s Hardy Boys friend group and was convicted for the murder of Zoe. There isn’t a lot of detail given as to whether he actually was responsible for this death, and Tim Kono tells Mabel in flashbacks that he felt somebody else threw her off the balcony that led to her demise. His reluctance to expand on this theory led to Oscar’s conviction, and Oscar recently getting out of jail for a crime he didn’t commit certainly presents the most obvious motive for killing Tim Kono. This was the man that essentially framed him after all. 

Charles also saw Oscar heading up the stairs of the apartment complex the night everyone was being evacuated downstairs, and Oscar admits to approaching Tim’s door right before the crime happens. His version of the story is that he heard the fatal gunshot behind the door right before he was going to confront Tim for his cruel errors. It scared him off and he fled the scene with the rest of the renters. He seems like a trustworthy enough man from what we’ve seen, but his admittance of wanting to become violent with Tim and his lack of an alibi leaves him as a solid suspect at this point in time. One thing we’ve learned so far in Only Murders in the Building is to expect the unexpected. That leads us to our two most benign, but certainly still possible suspects.

Oliver Putnam 

How could ditzy, fun-loving Oliver (Martin Short) have killed Tim Kono? Well, for the thrill of the crime story of course! Nobody would suspect that a man who is more excited to solve the mystery than anybody else could possibly be a potential psychopath, but that’s exactly why it should be at least thrown out there for us to debate! Oliver loves control as evidenced by his past career choice to be a director. 

His passion for the subject areas surrounding thrillers and mysteries and his admittance that nobody, including him, liked Tim Kono leads to a theory that he didn’t think anybody would care if he died. Oliver has a lot to gain from the death. “Solving” the mystery for a podcast that he directs would be the career boost he’s always dreamed of, and this motive for individual gain would never be suspected by anybody else in the show. The only hold-up is that he didn’t know Tim Kono at all before the crime occured, so these motives listed above could be applied for him murdering anybody in the Arconia. 

Charles-Haden Savage 

Same problems here for ties to Tim Kono as with Oliver, but the personal payoff of committing the murder is even deeper for Charles (Steve Martin). He is a lonely man who has no friends or family in his life anymore. He has come to view Oliver and Mabel as the confidants that he’s always desired throughout his adulthood, the only real and substantial human interaction he craves. Killing Tim Kono and investigating the crime feeds him those friendships. 

Charles is also a former actor, meaning that he is no stranger to pretending to be someone else. Acting as if he doesn’t have any skin in the game would be fairly straightforward for him, and his skills as a performance artist somewhat creep Mabel out early in the series when he recites lines from his old show verbatim that he claims were instead authentic feelings for his family. He tells Mabel that only included this dialogue into his drama because it is based on his real-life, but it came off a little shaky. We all want to root for Charles to maintain these new connections he has gained, but hopefully it wasn’t at the cost of Tim Kono’s life. 

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Teddy Dimas

Teddy (Nathan Lane)  is the man financially sponsoring the trio’s podcast. We got a few more clues about his interest in the venture when he explained how his grandmother’s journey to America is remembered through coin mementos that Teddy elaborates on in the sixth episode to Charles and Oliver. Her name, Avangelia, sounds an awful lot like Angel, a person who we learned was in a dispute over jewel thievery with Tim Kono before the victim’s death. Tim was apparently trying to play good cop by taking back the stolen jewelry from Angel. 

The connections between the two parties coalesce quite well, actually a little too well. It would seem that Teddy might have had Tim killed to protect the illegal jewelry trade that he operates in, but was Tim really that much of a threat to the enterprise? We still need more information on this man to make too many more claims, but Charles thinks he is their prime suspect heading into next week! It couldn’t be that simple though, right?

Who do you think killed Tim Kono? Do any of these suspects ring true to you, or do you have other ideas in mind after watching the show? Let me know and we can keep solving this mystery together! 

Only Murders in the Building premieres new episodes every Tuesday on Hulu.