DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Only Murders in the Building episode “To Protect and Serve” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, true crime lovers! We’re past the halfway point (and the point of no return) on Only Murders in the Building. “To Protect and Serve” is a tad on the slower side, but I wouldn’t categorize it as “filler.” Great strides have been made in the Tim Kono case, notably merging police efforts with our core trio’s work. Not only that, but we now have a viable suspect, a.k.a. Teddy Dimas.
“To Protect and Serve” pulls back the curtain on Mabel’s family, Detective Williams’ home life and Teddy’s humble beginnings. The show expertly provides these details to endear us to Teddy, and the Angel unveiling after that dislodges any preconceived notions we have.
The episode boasts Only Murders in the Building‘s signature humor and heart. We further solidify Charles, Oliver and Mabel’s friendship, proving they’re more than just “randos.”
Ready to delve into “To Protect and Serve”? Let’s get to it.
We open with narration from Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). A younger version of her watches Herman’s Head (a real show from the 90s). She divulges her belief that being alone isn’t bad. She’s alone for much of her adulthood until she meets her wife (Alysha Deslorieux). Now, the couple is having their first child together.
Fast forward to the present day. Detective Williams finds her wife painting their nursery. She’s listening to the Only Murders in the Building podcast, and Williams doesn’t want to subject their unborn child to “true crime bullsh*t.”
We see there’s tension lingering between the couple. Williams works long hours, which strains their relationship. When Williams learns the Only Murders in the Building podcast covers Tim Kono’s death, she leaves in a hurry, citing that she doesn’t mess up her cases.
Meanwhile, Mabel (Selena Gomez), Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short), Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) and Tavo (Esteban Benito) are staring at the massive cache of Tim Kono’s jewelry. According to Tavo, Tim was hunting for a rare piece of jewelry he hoped to steal from the elusive, enigmatic Angel. Mabel urges Tavo to text her a photo of the said piece.
Suddenly, someone waltzes into the tattoo shop — it’s Mabel’s mom (Mandy Gonzalez). Can someone say, “Busted”?
Later, Mabel’s momma invites Charles, Oliver and Oscar over for dinner. Mabel and her mom argue about the former’s return to the Arconia. We learn Mabel is supposed to attend design school; however, the Tim Kono situation pulled her back into “The Hardy Boys” fold. Mabel storms out.
Next, we see Detective Williams is at work. She notices Tim Kono’s toxicology report wasn’t submitted, nor was his phone sent to IT. That’s not suspicious at all.
After dinner, Charles and Oliver bond with Mabel’s mom. She feels immense remorse regarding Mabel’s grief and her exposure to Zoe’s murder. She pleads with Charles and Oliver to leave her daughter alone. Abandon the podcast, and allow Mabel to evolve from her painful past.
Later, Charles and Oliver leave, and Mabel supports their decision to cast the Tim Kono case by the wayside. Charles confesses that Mabel’s helped him feel alive for the first time in years. I’m not crying; you are.
So, the “randos” depart, and this might mark the end for our fave sleuthing trio.
While chugging alcohol-infused gut milk, the guys wonder whether it’s best to continue pursuing the Tim Kono case, mainly given what they learned from Mabel’s mother. Charles notes that every true crime story is a true story for someone, and it’s an obvious statement that carries unexpected poignancy.
However, Teddy Dimas summons Charles and Oliver to his opulent apartment.
Meanwhile, we’re privy to a sweet moment shared by Detective Williams and her wife. After admitting her work discoveries, Williams discloses she can’t reopen the case herself, but she can help her wife finish painting the nursery. They’re all kinds of adorable.
Next, we see Mabel and Oscar are hanging out in the former’s bedroom. There’s a giant cardboard cutout of Christopher Meloni, of which I highly approve. The pair leaf through some of Mabel’s photo albums. While looking at her Hardy Boys album, Mabel spots Zoe’s extravagant ring in their New Year’s Eve picture, and it’s the same one from the photo Tavo texted her!
However, Oscar explains that Zoe wasn’t wearing the ring when she died.
He refrains from continuing down memory lane. Instead, the duo shares a sexy smooch. Bow-chicka-wow-wow!
Then, we see Charles and Oliver are at Teddy’s (Nathan Lane) humble abode. They’re watching Jimmy Fallon‘s late-night show wherein Cinda Canning (Tina Fey) is a guest. Cinda and Jimmy poke fun at Only Murders in the Building (the podcast), notably because it’s “that guy from ‘Brazzos'” who’s accusing Sting of murder all while being sponsored by Dimas Chicken Wraps.
But Teddy’s delighted. Jimmy Fallon knows who he is! Teddy’s family in Greece will be ecstatic!
He writes Charles and Oliver a check for 50 grand so that they can record new episodes. Teddy regales the pair with a story of his rags-to-riches beginnings, starting with his grandmother amid the Greek and Armenian genocide. Teddy honors her through benevolent acts and supporting the things he loves, i.e., this podcast.
Meanwhile, Mabel and her momma have a heart-to-heart chat. Mabel reveals she has to resume her research regarding Tim Kono’s mysterious death, despite her mom incessantly accusing her of living in the past.
Back at the police station, Williams puts Tim’s phone in an envelope addressed to Mabel Mora.
Charles and Oliver mull over what they should do with Teddy’s check. Oliver wants to keep it; however, Charles believes they should rip it up. They can’t continue to profit off Mabel’s pain. Suddenly, Charles notices the name of the company on the check — Angel. Tim was attempting to take down a black market jeweler named Angel!
Could they be the same person?
Mabel barges in with peace offerings in the form of food. She apologizes for lying to her friends. The podcast is still a go! She procures Tim’s phone from her purse. Now, they need his password to access it.
Charles hangs a photo of Teddy on their suspect board. Their podcast sponsor is their number one potential murderer.
“To Protect and Serve” deftly sets the stage for the remaining four episodes of the season. Nathan Lane is a brilliant addition to this cast, and I’m curious to see if he’ll take a villainous turn. It’s not often Lane plays a baddie, so this should be fun!
I love the vital character work done here, particularly in strengthening the bond between our central trio. It’s heartfelt and will surely raise the stakes later on if their lives are in peril. After all, Teddy has an excessive amount of money, and he could make them disappear.
If anyone can solve Tim’s murder, it’s our fave non-randos.
New episodes of Only Murders in the Building are available to stream every Tuesday on Hulu.
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