BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It is not unusual for the second season of a highly touted series to suffer a sophomore slump. The odds of that happening go up when the production of a second season happens quickly.

After “Only Murders in the Building” was a huge hit, Hulu rapidly ordered a second season that debuts June 28, only 10 months after the initial run. Despite this being season number two and the quick turnaround, the latest season of “Only Murders in the Building” doesn’t just maintain the high quality established in the first year of the comical whodunit but improves on multiple layers.

The new season is killer entertainment.

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez reprise their roles as three residents of a New York apartment building who share an obsession with true crime. The first season ended with a cliffhanger that made the podcasters the prime suspect in another murder.

Following the shocking death of Arconia Board President Bunny Folger, Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) race to unmask her killer. To do that, they must: deal with being publicly implicated in Bunny’s homicide; face being the subjects of a competing podcast; and handle a bunch of New York neighbors who all think they committed murder.

The series – created by Steve Martin, Dan Fogelman and John Hoffman – works because of the three major players. Each brilliantly supports the other when they are together but can handle a scene on their own with the same skill when necessary.

It starts with Martin. While he does get his fair share of laughs, Martin provides a very solid foundation to the project that has been poured with the cement of reality. He can anchor a scene even when the story slips and slides from slapstick to farce.

It is a brilliant bit of comedy that Jane Lynch plays the stand-in for Savage from his days of playing a TV detective. Martin’s Tv cop gets revived in a way that really casts a comical reflection on the current trend of reviving old TV series with new twists.

Then there is the generally controlled performance by Martin Short. His career is littered with characters who are interesting in small doses but eventually become so manic they become painfully annoying.

Short has been given a shorter comedy leash that allows him to strive for being over the top but he eventually gets pulled back into a more comfortable performance. He even gets to show some real emotions in scenes where Putnam is dealing with family issues.

The real star is Gomez. “Only Murders in the Building” has finally given her the chance to play a more mature character and she has responded with the best performance of her career. Whether she is being asked to handle a heavy emotional scene or match comedy wits with Martin and Short, Gomez shines.

Even her comedy timing has gone into orbit. In a scene where Savage rhetorically asks who is cooler than he is, Gomez nails the laugh with a simple “Everyone.” The timing and tone show a comedy maturity Gomez has not displayed in the past.

Their work is magnified by strong supporting work by the likes of Amy Ryan as Jan, the first season killer who continues to mesmerize Savage. She has been cleverly written into the season.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph also adds to the comedy mix as Detective Williams. She provides such an original take on a law enforcement official that she could support her own series.

Their efforts play out in a murder mystery that is so well conceived that even after watching eight of the 10 episodes, it is impossible to completely predict the identity of the killer. Each week brings a new suspect into the picture.

“Only Murders in the Building” has not suffered the ills that befall the second season of many shows and the credit goes to the first-rate cast, clever and funny writing and the continued obsession by the public for true crime tales even if they are works of fiction.

The new season of “Only Murders in the Building” returns with two episodes. New episodes will be available through the streaming service each Tuesday.

TV review

Only Murders in the Building

3 1/2 stars

Cast: Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Amy Ryan, Cara Delevingne