[Editor’s note: This article includes spoilers and the reveal of the killer from this season of “Only Murders in the Building.”]
This season of Hulu’s whodunit “Only Murders in the Building” offered up a bevy of potential murder suspects, including Amy Schumer. But in order to find out who killed Arconia owner Bunny Folger (Jayne Houdyshell), the audience had to go back to the beginning and the podcast that brought Charles Haden-Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) together in the first place: “Not Okay in Oklahoma.”
In a finale that played like a modernized take on the 1930s crime caper “The Thin Man” — complete with a fake murder — the audience discovered it was podcast creator Cinda Canning’s (Tina Fey) assistant Poppy (Adina Verson), aka “Not Okay” crime subject Becky Butler, who killed Bunny. The reveal did a great job of tying Seasons 1 and 2 together, as well as giving the beleaguered podcast assistant a chance to tell her story.
Verson, who spoke to IndieWire via phone before the finale aired, thinks you might have figured out it was her way back in Episode 4 of this season, when Lucy (Zoe Margaret Colletti) revealed encountering the killer in the Arconia’s passageways. As Verson describes filming the scene, it was harrowing dressed up in a Tyvek body suit and stalking the secret passageways of the Arconia. It also had to be filmed in a manner that would prevent audiences from realizing the killer is a woman. “I remember they could see my body through the suit because [of] the lighting, so they ended up putting on these really baggy pants underneath and had me hunched so you couldn’t see my boobs,” Verson said.
Verson went on to discuss trying to keep Poppy’s secret throughout the season, and if we’ve seen the last of Becky Butler.
IndieWire: Where did you think Poppy was going to end up at the end of Season 1? Did you see yourself coming back for Season 2?
Adina Verson: I did not. I was excited because it seemed like they were setting [me] up to have something in Season 2. I did not think I would be a bad guy, so it was a real surprise to have such an integral part in Season 2.
At what point did you find out Poppy was the killer?
I was told I was going to be in Season 2. My agents were negotiating my contract and it sounded like I was going to have a bigger part. Then I had a zoom with [showrunner] John Hoffman and he told me the trajectory of the character with some details, but was like, “I haven’t finished writing it yet.” This is maybe a month before we started shooting.
I still didn’t get scripts until a week or two before we started shooting each episode, so I didn’t know. But it was really weird because I got to set and I realized that nobody else knew. I was sure everyone else knew, but I asked Selena and she was like, “No, no, I don’t [know].” I heard Steve knew, but he didn’t let on. So it was weird to be like, “Nobody knows I have a part of this.”
Do you remember when everyone found out it was you?
In Episode 4, when the person sneezes in the passageway with Lucy, that was me.
[Crew] were like, “It’s clear it’s a female body” so they ended up having body doubles do all the other ones. But that day on set I remember coming down [and] the whole crew was like, “Oh my God.” So they all knew at that point, but they didn’t tell the cast members so it felt like I had a little secret with the crew. I don’t know when the main trio read the finale, but they all seemed to be pretty surprised and excited. It’s just such an exciting script.
What was your reaction when John revealed the ending to you and how did that inform how you played Poppy this season?
I was so excited, and then I was like, “Oh, I stab somebody eight times.” It’s so exciting to be such a big part of the season, but to actually, mentally and emotionally, go to a place and try to pin the pieces together [of] what would actually bring somebody to do something so horrifying was less exciting.
Even just being in the suit in the passageways was horrifying to imagine. I’ve just come from a place where I have wrestled with this octogenarian woman, stabbed her, moved her body, and now I’m escaping through the passageways. To physically put your body and your mind in a place like that is horrifying. I was so glad that I didn’t have to actually act out the actual murder.
Was it hard keeping the secret off the set?
At this moment that we’re speaking the finale hasn’t aired and my parents still don’t know. My agents and my manager knew because they were part of the negotiating process and there w[ere] negotiations of how I was going to be credited. In Episode 4 when I’m the person in the suit, I’m not credited in that episode so that has to be a special negotiation. And making sure I wasn’t credited at the top of show always so nobody could have any clue. And I did tell my husband.
The day you were in the suit acting as the killer. What was that like?
Nobody else was on that day, except for [Colletti]. I think that might have been one of her first days. It might have been her second or third day on set and she wasn’t putting the pieces together necessarily [or] she wasn’t letting on if she was. It was really just between the crew and I. I don’t know if I had to sign an NDA, and I don’t think they had the crew sign an NDA.
Nobody wants to spoil it for anybody else. I remember we were shooting an episode — it was the hallway scene with Selena — and one of the crew members was hanging out with us, and he was like, “Selena, do you know who the killer is?” and he kind of looked at me because I knew that he knew that it was me. She was like, “No, I have no idea,” and everybody was winking at me and egging her on, but she had nothing.
We saw Amy Ryan’s character Jan come back this season. Now that Poppy is revealed as the killer would you want her to come back next season?
I would love that! I haven’t heard anything specific, but I definitely had some ideas that I floated to John. I wouldn’t want to [reveal them] under the rare chance that they happen to bring them to life.
“Only Murders in the Building” streams on Hulu.