Only Murders In The Building: Who Killed Tim Kono? Every Theory Explained – Screen Rant

Who killed Tim Kono, the unlikeable victim of Only Murders In the Building? The list of suspects is lengthy, with a number of clues to consider.
Warning: SPOILERS for the first six episodes of Only Murders in the Building.
The question of who killed Tim Kono and all the theories regarding his death lie at the heart of Only Murders In the Building. The new FX on Hulu series Only Murders In The Building has become a smashing success, with millions of fans following the investigation into the death of the young investment advisor.
Largely set within the walls of an Upper West Side apartment building called the Arconia, Only Murders In the Building centered around three true crime enthusiasts; out-of-work actor Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), disgraced musical director Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and artist Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez). After bonding over their mutual love of the podcast “All is Not Okay in Oklahoma,” one evening the three returned home to find their apartments cordoned off by the police. This led to the news that their neighbor Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) had been found dead in his apartment and their decision to investigate his death while starting their own podcast.
Related: Only Murders In The Building Cast, Cameos & Character Guide
The investigation was hampered by the trio’s amateur antics and the fact that their suspect pool included everyone who lived in the Arconia. Despite this, they did manage to uncover evidence of a conspiracy to cover up the circumstances of Tim Kono’s death and a tie to Mabel’s traumatic past, even as they worked past a number of dead-ends and false leads.
As Only Murders In the Building opened, the NYPD were quick to write Tim Kono’s violent death off as a suicide, due to their finding multiple hand-written suicide notes in his apartment, as well as a suicide note typed up on his laptop. His apartment was full of unpaid bills, hinting at financial distress. It was later revealed that he had been fired from his job with an investment firm after losing a lot of money for a big client. However, Tim’s behavior immediately before his death, as witnessed by Charles, Oliver, and Mabel, seemed inconsistent with someone planning to kill themselves.
When Tim Kono first appeared in Only Murders In the Building, he was in an agitated state, calling Bunny, the apartment manager, about an important package of his that was accidentally delivered to her, while holding a garbage bag. Charles and Mabel later singled-in on this as a clue, given that there was no reason for him to be carrying garbage onto the elevator when there was a disposal chute on every floor of the building. This led to them acquiring the package and discovering that it contained an engagement ring.
Mabel later found that Tim had been keeping multiple items of high-end jewelry in his apartment, hiding them within the hollowed-out pages of his Hardy Boys novels. This led to the revelation that Tim had privately been trying to locate a particular ring, worn by their friend Zoe on the night of her death, which had apparently been taken from her just before she was pushed off the roof of the Arconia. Tim had reportedly tracked the ring to a mysterious black market jewelry dealer known only as Angel, but had yet to find Zoe’s ring.
Related: Only Murders In The Building Episode 4 Sets Up The Show’s Dark Ending
Whoever killed Tim Kono had to be a resident of the Arconia, as nobody unknown to the doorman entered or exited the building during the time between when the trio saw Tim in the elevator and when his body was found. This doesn’t limit the suspect pool much, given that Tim was uniformly loathed by his neighbors. However, the murderer being a resident of the ritzy apartment complex would fit with one other clue uncovered by Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph); whoever killed Tim Kono either had connections within the police department or was rich enough to bribe one of her superiors and prevent a toxicology report from being run on Tim’s body and Tim’s phone from being examined for evidence. Whoever killed Tim Kono was also able to get inside Oliver’s apartment to poison his dog, Winnie, suggesting someone who knew how to pick locks or someone with a position of authority within the building.
The owner of Evelyn, a cat who roamed the Arconia grounds and was seemingly beloved by everyone except Tim Kono, Howard Morris (Michael Cyril Creighton, best known as Jeff the Elf in Dash & Lilly season 1) was the trio’s first suspect. Howard had filled multiple complaints with the Arconia’s management about Tim Kono’s behavior and knew that he owned a gun, as Tim had apparently threatened to shoot Evelyn. With Evelyn having died under mysterious circumstances on the same day as Tim after walking through his apartment, Howard seemed to have motive, means and opportunity. However, he was eliminated as a suspect when he was shown to be so squeamish that the sight of blood made him faint, making it impossible for him to have shot Tim in the head and gotten out of his apartment undiscovered.
Tim Kono’s next door neighbor was another resident of the Arconia who was unashamedly happy to learn that he was dead, but Ndidi Idoko (Zainab Jah, recently seen in the short Jazz In Wakanda) stood to profit from his death in a way that nobody else did. Idoko was reportedly at the top of the waiting list to acquire a larger apartment and she was quick to inquire about claiming Tim’s unit during the memorial service that the Arconia management organized on his behalf. Charles noted that Ndidi Idoko “wouldn’t be the first New Yorker to kill for good real estate,” but the trio never seriously explored her as a suspect due to more likely candidates with stronger means and motives.
A legendary singer and songwriter (as a solo act and part of The Police) and the inspiration for the character of John Constantine, Sting became Oliver’s prime suspect due to his disliking dogs and the fact that the murderer had tried to scare Oliver off the case by poisoning his beloved dog, Winnie. This theory became more plausible after Mabel discovered that Sting had lost millions of dollars due to his savings being mismanaged by the same investment firm that fired Tim Kono.
Sting later confirmed that Tim Kono had been his financial advisor and confessed that Tim’s death was his fault, but only in the metaphorical sense that Sting’s anger over the incident probably pushed Tim to kill himself. Sting’s relief that someone else might have killed Tim Kono and that he didn’t commit suicide seemed genuine, but it should be noted that Sting is an accomplished actor as well as a famous musician. Given that, it is still possible (if highly unlikely) that Sting killed Tim Kono.
Related: Why Steve Martin Stopped Acting (And Why He’s Back)
First spotted by Charles-Haden Savage as he was heading up the stairs while everyone else was leaving the building after the fire alarms went off in the first episode, the Tie-Dye Guy was a figure of mystery for the first few episodes of Only Murders In the Building. He was later revealed to be the second of Mabel’s “Hardy Boys” and the son of the Arconia’s superintendent, Oscar Torres. (Aaron Dominguez, perhaps best known as Staff Sergeant Eddie Dominguez in the 2019 Shaft remake.)
Oscar was an ex-con, recently released from prison after being convicted of pushing his first love, Zoe Cassidy, off the roof of the Arconia. Tim Kono apparently saw the altercation that led to Zoe’s death, but refused to talk to the police about how Zoe had been struggling with someone besides Oscar. This would seem to give Oscar ample motive and opportunity to kill Tim Kono. When confronted on these facts, Oscar admitted that he had been on his way to confront Tim Kono that night, but claimed that he ran when he heard a gunshot in Tim’s apartment. While that isn’t enough to condemn Oscar, the fact that he tried to convince Mabel to stop investigating Tim’s murder after revealing this information seemed suspicious.
The owner of Dimas Delis and a frequent producer of Oliver’s shows, Teddy Dimas (Nathan Lane) agreed to act as the sponsor of the Only Murders In The Building podcast, despite his better judgement and Oliver’s long history of flops. Teddy became a suspect at the end of Only Murders In the Building episode 6, when Charles and Oliver realized that the name of the holding company on Teddy’s latest sponsorship check was Angel Incorporated. Angel was also the name of the black market jewelry dealer whom Tim was investigating before his death. While this isn’t the most unlikely coincidence in the series so far, it does beg the question of why Teddy would sponsor a podcast dedicated to exposing his crime, unless he was certain that the surest way to cover his tracks was to put a screwup like Oliver Pntnam on the case.
One suspect the trio haven’t examined yet is Oscar’s father, Jose Torres (Anthony Ruiz, who has played multiple roles on Law and Order). As the superintendent of the Arconia, Jose would have had access to Tim Kono’s apartment and would know how to move around the building unseen. Given that he blamed Tim Kono for his son’s unjust imprisonment, he also had an excellent motive. The only problem with this scenario is that it makes little sense that Jose would wait until after his son had been released from prison to murder Tim Kono, knowing that Oscar would be the prime suspect if the police suspected foul play. This might not be an issue if he was paying-off the police or was confident in his ability to make the murder look like a suicide, but Jose also seemed overprotective of his son when Mabel Mora asked about Oscar, warning her to stay away from his son.
Could the real killer be Selena Gomez’s character Mabel Mora? The pilot episode of Only Murders In the Building seemed to tease this, with Charles and Oliver discovering a blood-soaked Mabel kneeling besides the body of a dead man in a tie-dyed hoodie in a flashforward set two months after Tim Kono’s murder. Certainly Mabel is secretive, hiding the fact that Tim Kono was a childhood friend from her partners when they started the podcast. However, this still leaves the question of why she would be helping investigate the murder, unless it was to steer Charles and Oliver in another direction as part of a more complicated scheme.
More: Only Murders In The Building: How Many Episodes There Are (And When The Finale Is)
Matt Morrison has been writing about comics since before the word “blogging” was coined. He got his start writing for the legendary DC Comics digital fanzine Fanzing, before receiving his own column, The Mount. Since then he has gone on to write for over a dozen websites, including 411 Mania, Comics Nexus and The Cult of Nobody. He holds both an MS in Information Science from the University of North Texas and a BFA from the University of Texas at Arlington. Known as a font of comic book history trivia, he has delivered lectures on the history of American Comic Books, Japanese Manga, Doctor Who, and Cosplay at over a dozen conventions and served as an Expert In-Residence for a course on Graphic Novels for Librarians at the University of North Texas. In addition to his work for Screen Rant, Matt is currently the Editor In Chief of and writes reviews for No Flying, No Tights – a graphic literature and anime review site aimed at teachers and librarians. He also maintains a personal blog –called My Geeky Geeky Ways – which hosts his extensive episode guide for the television series making up The Arrowverse as well as his comedic Let’s Play videos. What little spare time he has is devoted towards acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @senseistarman.


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