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Only Murders in the Building: Is Meryl Streep’s Loretta a Red Herring?

When Loretta thinks Ben is dead after that opening night on stage, she appears relieved the show will have to be canceled. This seems to be in direct contrast to her aspirations of becoming a stage star, though. Why then was she so disappointed to see him rise from the dead in the season premiere if all she wants is to become a star actor? 

What Does Loretta Really Want? 

Loretta’s other key personality trait that we’ve learned in the first three episodes of the season, beyond her questionable acting abilities (which is ironic given that she’s portrayed by literally Meryl Streep), is that she has a flirtatious affection for Oliver. Martin Short’s excitable director character seems to begin sharing those feelings at the end of “Grab Your Hankies” when they smooch at the news of Loretta staying on board with the play. 

Maybe all Loretta is looking for is a late-life romance? That would seem too uninteresting and cookie-cutter for a show like Only Murders in the Building. There’s definitely some weird motivations behind Loretta’s behavior, we just don’t have enough tangible evidence to identify them. So far, Loretta may just be a bluff, an effervescent presence to get us off the scent of another suspect that is beginning to smell a little fishy. 

Is Kimber the True Suspect? 

The end of the third episode, “Grab Your Hankies,” already tries to put more emphasis on Loretta’s castmate, Kimber (Ashley Park), being a person of interest in the Ben Glenroy murder than Loretta herself. We know that Ben had a handkerchief on his person when he was killed, and in an effort to identify whose piece of cloth it might be, Charles uses his efforts in this episode to collect the entire troupe’s handkerchief collection. The only person who couldn’t provide one for the collection was Kimber, which obviously leads Charles to think her handkerchief could be the one Ben was holding when he died.

The final narration of the episode also features Kimber talking suspiciously about the lengths you sometimes need to go to for success in the world of acting and in life in general. Some slick cinematics and facial expressions from Kimber are intended to serve as red flags for the audience as the credits roll. Loretta is belting her incredible vocals across the room for everyone to enjoy, but Kimber looks like she’s plotting something against her. 

Does this mean Kimber is the true suspect instead of Loretta? Or maybe the two actresses are planning something antagonistic together? It’s way too early to tell, but Only Murders in the Building never puts hints in for no reason whatsoever. If there are mystery antennas going up in episode three, it’s because we need to pay attention. The killer might just be right under our noses yet again!

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