Only Murders in the Building S3E9 Recap: “Thirty” — The Sad Life of Ben Glenroy

Ben stares in the mirror.
Screenshot / Hulu

The following recap contains spoilers for Only Murders in the Building S3E9, “Thirty” (written by John Hoffman & Steve Martin and directed by Cherien Dabis).

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Finally, pieces of the puzzle have been put together and a murderer exposed! Did Donna really kill Ben, though? I don’t think so. Before I get into my theories, let me go over some revelations this week.


The trio wants to solicit a confession from Dickie in order to help Loretta. Loretta’s arraignment is later that evening, so there is no time to waste. After they question Dickie, they come to realize that he didn’t kill Ben. He couldn’t have. He was not at the Arconia when Ben was killed. He was out sulking and looking for Ben’s hookers.

Oliver, Mabel, and Charles sit and interrogate Dickie.
Screenshot / Hulu

Armed with that new information about the hookers, the trio decides to go out and interrogate them.

The Hookers

The hookers aren’t actually hookers at all. They turn out to be a handful of cute little old ladies who run a sewing club once a week. Ben was a prominent member of that club and it is in fact where he made the hankies for his cast mates. The hookers explain that Ben realized he was kind of a dick and made them as a sort of peace offering. He was also very excited to have his hooker club come to opening night and see them perform. A few minutes before Ben was set to go onstage, he called and left a voicemail for them asking where they were and saying he hopes they make it. They never made it, sadly.

Opening Night

Back at Charles’s apartment, the trio begins working on a timeline of what went down right before Ben went on stage. They start watching the interrogations they secretly filmed in hopes of getting more information. With what they learn through various interviews and Howard finally taping together the document from the shredder, they determine the following happened…

  • Loretta convinced Dickie to break ties with Ben. Ben found out and confronted Loretta at the lighthouse. Charles sees this and punches Ben.
  • Tobert had enough of Ben’s shit and gave up on the documentary.
  • Donna saw the review from Maxine, which focuses heavily on Ben’s performance and how much it sucks.
  • Cliff left a box of cookies with Ben.
  • Ben was sad that everything around him was falling to pieces. He had no one. The only people he had left were his hookers and they weren’t answering the phone.
  • Ben talked to the cookies and it is caught on Tobert’s camera. There was no one in there with him after all. He gave in and ate one. Instantly full of regret, he drew a pig with Joy’s lipstick on his mirror and captioned it “fucking pig.” No one else wrote it as recently suspected.
  • He got up and went on stage.

After piecing all of it together, the trio determines that Donna used the rat poison from the office to poison a cookie after reading that Ben’s performance will end the play. Since it is her son’s first production, she doesn’t want it to tarnish his career. The only way to salvage things is to kill Ben.

Loretta Stands up in the courtroom.
Screenshot / Hulu

Armed with this revelation, they need to race to the courthouse to try and free Loretta. They decide the only way to quickly get past security is to dress as if they are going to a wedding. Mabel throws on Joy’s wedding dress and the olds wear their best tuxes and off they go.

As they burst into the courtroom, they notice Donna is there as a spectator. Uh oh.

Was it Donna?

Ehh. I have a hard time believing it could be someone so irrelevant to Ben, but you never know. Of course, her weird-ass relationship with her son could definitely have compelled her to commit murder. Was she really trying to kill Ben though? There is no concrete proof that she poisoned the cookie. That is pure speculation from Mabel. Perhaps Donna did sprinkle rat poison on the cookie in an attempt to make Ben too sick to perform. No intentions of murder. Whatever the case, someone still pushed Ben down the elevator shaft later that evening. That doesn’t seem like a move Donna would make. I feel like she would be too sophisticated for something so physical and cruel.

Did Ben kill himself? Perhaps when he learned he was poisoned, he realized that he truly had no one he could trust. He seemed very sad and on the brink of paranoia right before he went on stage. Had he had enough of everything? He could have jumped.

There is one episode left to find out, and as we know from previous seasons, it’s never as cut and dry as it appears.

Written by Felicia Nickens

Lover of television, film, & the macabre.

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