Warning this article contains spoilers for the Only Murders In The Building season 2 finale. You have been warned. Just like the true crime craze that inspired this hit TV series, Only Murders in the Building has taken the world by storm since it debuted in 2021.
Beguiling and warm, the show isn’t just about grizzly killings (although there are plenty). Ultimately, it’s a series about finding friends through a common passion… and murders, we suppose. The mystery series follows three true crime fanatics, Charles, Oliver, and Mabel, as they investigate a murder in their apartment building.
While the first season was a mega-hit, the second took things to a whole new level, with Charles, Oliver, and Mabel trying to crack their toughest case yet with their very freedom on the line. Earlier this week, we sat down with killer from season 2 (we made sure there were no knives about) to talk about starring in this iconic series. So this is your final warning if you’ve not seen the Only Murders season 2 finale get out now.
Still with us? Good, OK, the murderer is Poppy (Adina Verson), Cinda’s put-upon assistant. But wait, there’s more Poppy isn’t really Poppy. They’re Becky Butler, the girl from Cinda’s first podcast, All Is Not OK in Oklahoma. Here’s what Adina had to say about her villainous turn.
The Digital Fix: I want to start by asking you a little bit about when you first joined the show. You had a small role in the first series but were you a fan of season one?
Adina Verson: I mean, I was a fan of season one. I had a tiny, tiny role in season one. But watching it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I love the show.’ I loved it more than I thought I would [laughs] no offence to anybody.
But it was so funny and had so much heart to it. That was the part that I didn’t really expect. It had so much humanity in it. I just loved it. Then I would like watch see the scene with me, and I was like, ‘Oh, weird, I was on that show too’.
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So then, to be a bigger part of season two was beyond my wildest dreams. I knew about Poppy’s trajectory in this season, but nobody else did. So I feel like I’ve been keeping the secret, first from the cast, and then the cast finds out when we film the end of the season and my family and my friends.
I feel like it’s once my friends and family kind of see Episode 10 and what I’ve been doing. Maybe reality will set in, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, wow, I just did this show with these incredible legends’.
So you saying that you knew already who Poppy really was?
Yes, John Hoffman and Jess Rosenthal had a Zoom call with me right before season 2 started filming because my agents were confused about billing. They didn’t want me to be credited for some of the episodes I was going to be in, and my agents were fighting back about it.
So they were like, ‘Let’s just tell her what’s going on.’ So we had a zoom and they told me that I was the murderer and also I was Becky Butler and that was just kind of blew my mind that they were going to throw back to ‘All Is Not OK in Oklahoma’.
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I was so excited about getting to have this crazy complicated backstory for Poppy. Yeah, so I found out before we started filming, but I didn’t know all the details because they hadn’t written it yet. So I was still finding out the details episode by episode.
But in season one, I had kind of come up with a backstory for Poppy. But then I got to kind of throw away she wasn’t this like NYU Brooklyn hipster. She was pretending to be one.
I suppose, in some ways, that is useful for you as a performer because it informs the fake backstory that Becky has come up with for who Poppy is?
Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And so yeah, it’s kind of meta in that way as well. But like I, Adina as an actor, had to come up with this fake backstory, and now I get to actually use it as a fake backstory.
When you got the scripts, and you saw Becky’s full story, what was your reaction?
I was just so thrilled. It was so exciting! I was so excited to be able to actually go into some of the backstory of Becky, like in that montage at the beginning of Episode 10 and get to see her life.
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I know they’re really quick scenes but shooting them like getting to see the set decoration of her home that she grew up in and like it was so specific. I just feel like it gave me so much to learn about this wounded bird who this villain grew out of and it gave me so much fuel.
I do think it’s interesting that you use the word villain because I wanted to know if you see her as the villain of the piece or as a tragic character?
I do think she’s a tragic character. But honestly, I kind of feel like any villain is a tragic character in some way. [The audience] were able to see very clearly with Poppy how, how she is a victim. When I was watching episode 3 of this season, The Last Day of Bunny, at the end of the episode, they say, ‘we didn’t kill Bunny, but we could have saved her with an act of kindness’.
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When I watched that episode, I was like, ‘I feel the same way about Poppy that she could have been saved with an act of kindness’. If Cinda had been kind to her, or if her father had been kind to her, or if the mayor had been kind to her like she wouldn’t have committed this horrible act.
And because she did some of those horrible acts, I do think we can call her a villain. I don’t think you can. I think there are very, very rare occasions that you could stab somebody eight times and think that it’s Ok. But yeah, it’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy for Bunny and it’s a tragedy for Poppy.
Is it difficult for you as a performer to essentially play two separate characters at exactly the same time?
My mind started to kind of tie into knots when I was like, what’s going on? But then what’s actually going on? And then I was like, ‘You know what, Poppy is an excellent liar. And I’m just going to play the scene at face value because she’s such a good liar’.
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So I would kind of think about, like, what is Becky trying to get in this situation? Just so I kind of knew how to listen to what people were saying. But in general, I was. I just feel like Poppy’s really good at lying. And so I could just, I could just play the scene as Poppy.
You’ve worked with some incredible people on the show, obviously, Steve Martin and Martin Short, Selena Gomez. And Tina Fey what was their reaction to finding out that you were the bad guy after all this time?
I think they were all really surprised and excited at how it was written. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to have like anybody’s first reaction because everybody reads their scripts at home. But yeah, I think nobody was anticipating that, and also even just the way when we were shooting the killer reveal party.
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I don’t know if I’m not gonna name any actors. But I don’t know if everybody got the full script, or it was just pages that they got because I feel like some people were like, ‘Oh, so it’s Alice’. And I was like, ‘Did you not read the last couple of pages?’ So I think that some people were discovering as we were shooting, and it was just great fun to be like, they’ll know in time and time all will be revealed.
Did you feel the pressure of making season 2 of arguably one of the biggest shows in the world?
I didn’t feel pressure. Luckily, I think mostly because I felt like I was in such good hands. I feel like I was so honoured that the team felt like they could trust me, one of the few people in the show who isn’t wildly famous. And also that just the writing is so good that it’s not a tonne of work.
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It’s not like I have to make something work that that doesn’t it’s, it’s already a full product, and I can just do my job pretty easily and also on set, it’s such a warm, inviting set. Everybody’s kind, and everybody’s focused on the story and not themselves that there was a great sense of ease that it was just I couldn’t it couldn’t have been a better scenario.
But there was a little bit of like, needing to like separate my mind and like, pretend like these people weren’t famous. And then, when I got home, I could freak out about it, but I didn’t need to compartmentalise a little bit just to get through it.
Only Murders in the Building season 2 is streaming now on Disney Plus.