With Only Murders In The Building moving to a once-a-week release schedule after the debut of the first three episodes, the number of suspects introduced dropped precipitously in the show’s second week. But that doesn’t mean the intrepid detecting threesome have slowed down their action one bit. Episode 4 saw all of them push themselves out of their comfort zones, make celebrity connections, and even baste a turkey. But while Oliver’s culinary fowls and Mabel’s walkabouts might seem like dangerous situations, it was Charles who took the biggest leap — with Jan, his new elevator buddy. So, who is Jan in Only Murders In The Building? This dinner with a non-suspect was the hardest sit-down Charles has done in years.
Warning: Spoilers for Only Murders In The Building Episode 4 follow. Fans met Jan as part of the show’s premiere in Episode 3, as Charles and Mabel were heading upstairs in one of their endless elevator trips. Her arrival at first felt like yet another nod to The Office, which the show had already liberally referenced. Actor Amy Ryan played HR rep Holly Flax on the series, who eventually became Michael Scott’s love interest and got engaged to him by the end of Season 7. And her character’s name is Jan, the name of another Office character and Michael Scott lover.
But in three episodes dominated by possible suspects, Jan’s moment was notable because she was not presented a suspect. She had no known connection to Tim Kono, not even a dead cat to avenge or someone’s dog to threaten. She was just a lovely single lady who talked softly and carried a big bassoon, and Charles was entranced.
When Charles, Mabel, and Oliver ran into Jan again in Episode 4 on their way to meet with Cinda Canning, Charles’ growing crush was impossible to hide, leading both Mabel and Oliver to poke at him about asking her out on a date. But after a lovely musical interlude during which they shared an accordion-and-bassoon duet for two across the courtyard, Jan took matters into her own hands and asked Charles out. It was bound to happen bassooner or later, after all.
But it turned out, for Charles, going on a date was harder than interviewing potential murder suspect Sting. After all, Jan wanted him to do things like “open up” and “talk about his last relationship” and “explain how his parents ruined his life.” It was rough stuff for a man who has emotional trauma that causes him to see Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny wherever he goes.
By episode’s end, though, Charles had embraced the mess. After their terrible date, he went to Jan’s apartment and confessed how his last relationship collapsed. Lucy was his ex’s seven-year-old daughter, who Charles had loved as his own. When his ex left him in the middle of a family cruise, taking the girl with her, leaving him alone with nothing but people in Looney Tunes costumes, it broke his heart.
But is Jan a good idea for Charles to date? There are certainly more prominent and eye-catching subjects for the podcast to focus on, but Jan is as much a possible murderer in the building as anyone else. Charles already learned about dismissing a suspect out of hand with Sting when he assumed the superstar didn’t have anything to do with Tim Kono due to his adult contemporary stylings. Is he making the same mistake twice?
At least he has a second chance to make a first impression.
Only Murders In The Building continues with new episodes every Tuesday on Hulu.