Oliver Putnam is a main character in the Hulu Original Only Murders in the Building. A former theatre director, Oliver is one of the leading figures in the quest to solve the murders of both Tim Kono and Bunny Folger.
Unbeknownst to his other friends, Putnam faces financial difficulty and risks eviction from the Arconia due to numerous failed productions. Tensions later rise for Oliver when he discovers that Teddy Dimas had an affair with his wife and as a result, William Putnam is not his biological son. This, however, is a fact he refrains from telling Will or his friends and fellow investigators.
Oliver has had a successful career as a theatre director and, during his career, has directed over 212 shows. His career began to slide, however, when he encountered difficulty thinking of new ideas for new productions to direct. This eventually led to him propos ing a theatre development named "Splash!", which included actors diving into a real life swimming pool on stage at the end of Act One. This idea was initially rebuked by the investors, but Oliver was able to convince his friend Teddy Dimas to fund the project.
The production was eventually a massive failure due to technical problems leading to multiple injuries in a similar fashion to "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark", and led to Oliver growing apart from Teddy, who had lost a sizeable amount of investment in the production. This led to a decline in his career, which eventually presented numerous issues and meant that he struggled to pay his bills and building maintenance at the Arconia.
Solving Tim's Murder
Oliver plays a pivotal part in the solving of Tim Kono's murder. He uses the skills he developed as a director to direct most of the podcast episodes, but also narrates some of them too. In order to continue their podcast when all hope seems lost, Oliver asks Teddy to fund and sponsor the podcast to ensure that they can continue to create episodes, which have become rather popular. Unbeknownst to Teddy and the other members of his podcast, however, Oliver also struggles paying his bills at the Arconia and risks eviction; this is one of his primary motivations for the funding and also for finishing the podcast.
Eventually, the podcast is a hit success, but Oliver begins to suspect that Mabel could be one of the prime suspects. He manages to convince Charles that they should follow her, and eventually, they discover that she knew Tim personally. This puts a further divide between Oliver and Mabel, but Charles is able to get past this.
After a while, Oliver eventually realises that Mabel is not the suspect they are looking for, and works with her and Charles once more to uncover the true murderer: Jan. They are able to complete their podcast and publish the final episode in which they reveal the whole mystery and its solution.
Bunny Folger's Murder
After successfully solving the murder of Tim Kono, Oliver, Mabel, and Charles celebrate their victory. They celebrate outside of the Arconia initially, but eventually bring the party inside. Bunny, hearing this, decides to offer them a bottle of champagne as a congratulations. In exchange, they offer her a podcast hoodie and shut the door in her face.
Moments later, Oliver and the others wonder if the should've invited her in to celebrate, but the moment has passed and Bunny had already returned to her room, albeit upset. Mabel returns to her apartment shortly after to fetch more champagne, but is surprised to find Bunny has been stabbed.
As a result of this, Oliver is arrested along with Mabel and Charles, with the police firmly believing they had something to do with Bunny's death. Oliver and the others are warned by Detective Williams about furthering their podcast or beginning anew focusing on Bunny's death. Emerging from the police station, however, the trio are swarmed with reporters and fans, which delights Oliver much to the dismay of his fellow investigators.
Returning to the Arconia, tensions arise between the trio when Oliver suggests that they make a new podcast; directly going against Detective William's request. Mabel refuses, however, citing that she needs to stay away from death and destruction for a while.
Shortly after, Oliver meets Amy Schumer in the elevator of the Arconia, given she had just recently moved into Sting's old apartment. The two talk, and Amy asks if Oliver would consider selling her the rights to make the podcast into a streaming service. Oliver is grateful but shocked at the notion and tells her that he will think it over.
Oliver becomes concerned about his behaviour towards Bunny previously and in the days leading up to her death when Cinda Canning reveals that she has started a new podcast focusing on the three investigators — she believes they played a large part, if not were wholly responsible, for Bunny's death. During this conversation, however, they're interrupted when they hear a bird talking in Bunny's apartment. They eventually find themselves in the apartment via a vent shared between Bunny and Mabel's apartment, to find that Mrs. Gambolini, Bunny's Parrot, alone in the apartment.
Whilst in the apartment, Oliver asks Mabel and Charles to search for some letters that he had sent Bunny shortly before her death. He believes that they could incriminate him in her death despite him having no involvement. They're soon interrupted, however, when Howard Morris and Uma Heller arrive in the apartment in search of a painting belonging to Bunny.
Looking through the letters he had written to Bunny, Oliver finds numerous other notes addressed to her by an unknown sender who remarks that they want the painting too. This becomes an even more important aspect of their investigation when Charles asks him and Mabel to come to his apartment. When they arrive, they find the painting hung on Charles' wall.
With the new, incriminating evidence now in Charles' apartment, Oliver and the others discuss how they can get the painting out of the apartment without being seen. They're interrupted, however, when Howard Morris] arrives to ask them if they will be attending Bunny's memorial in the Arconia's lobby. They are at first reluctant, but believe this will give them a good opportunity to gather more information on who could be guilty of her murder.
During the memorial, Oliver and Mabel sneak off back to Charles' apartment. They retrieve the painting and take it into the alleyway of the Arconia. Charles joins them momentarily but accidentally allows the Arconia's door to close, locking them out with the painting. In order to avoid being seen with the painting, Oliver throws it in a nearby dumpster and they agree to return later to retrieve the painting when the memorial has ended.
Later, Oliver visits Amy's apartment to share his vision of what the podcast could be should he sell her the rights. They have conflicting ideas, however, and Amy expresses her desire to share the story from Jan's point of view. Oliver is shocked to also notice that the painting is hanging in Amy's apartment. Oliver tries to convince Amy to give him the painting, citing that it has bad energy, but she is reluctant the relinquish the painting. Oliver tells Mabel and Charles about the painting, but when they arrive back at Amy's apartment, they find Leonora Folger waiting; she tells the four of them that the painting is not authentic.
Oliver, Charles, and Mabel eventually decide that they must track Bunny's last steps and the day she died if they wish to gather more information about possible suspects. They eventually find that Nina Lin had the most to gain from Bunny's death and thus, she becomes their prime suspect.
A Killer Party
After Mabel finds a matchbook in her room, she theorises that the killer must have entered and exited her apartment through the secret passageways they had just been informed about by Lucy. They visit the Pickle Diner to talk about the theory, but Mabel quickly becomes distracted when she receives a message from Alice. Charles and Oliver quickly become suspicious of Alice, and decide that they will enact a plan to test their theory.
Oliver decides that they will throw a party, in which he and Charles will try and crack down on their theory without Mabel knowing. During the party, Oliver tries to expose Alice as the killer by playing the "Son of Sam" game, in which one player kills the rest if they are holding the killer card. Oliver begins to interrogate Alice, and she reveals that she lied about her backstory as nobody would buy her art otherwise. Mabel doesn't approve of the methods Oliver and Charles used to belittle Alice and tension arises between the trio.
Later, Oliver visits the Pickle Diner where he talks with Ivan, who tells them that they have security footage from Bunny's final day of her meeting with someone, but that the footage is grainy. Nonetheless, Oliver is able to make out the figure Bunny met with picking up a matchbook from the diner and thus, they believe they have narrowed down their killer.
Things become difficult for Oliver when Will visits him and reveals that his DNA results came back and it does not seem that he has any Irish heritage, in fact, he has Greek heritage. Will asks if he is sure that he is 100% Irish, and Oliver begins making jokes before he realises that Teddy Dimas could be Will's father, not him. Oliver decides that he must complete a DNA test to test whether he has Irish heritage or not.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Mabel visit Charles on the set of Brazzos, where they receive a message that Detective Kreps wants to talk with them at Bunny's apartment. When they arrive, they find Cinda Canning and Poppy White there too. Kreps tells them to stop with the podcasting as it is interfering with his investigation. Kreps also reveals that Detective Williams is on vacation in Denver, which causes Oliver, Mabel, and Charles to reconsider whether the person they've been communicating with about the evidence they found is actually Williams, or the killer.
Oliver and the others decide they will set a trap for the texter. They arrange for the evidence to be collected, but plant a glitter-bomb there instead, thus, believing that they can catch who they believe to be the killer, in his tracks. This doesn't work, however, as the investigators are talking when the bomb explodes.
Afterwards, Oliver visits Charles to talk when the DNA results do not come back when he expected them to. They're interrupted, however, when they receive notice of a video going viral which depicts Mabel stabbing someone on the subway.
With Mabel missing following the release of the footage, Oliver and Charles frantically search for her. They're unable to find her, but receive a surprise visit from Detective Williams and her newborn, Keith. Williams questions what they know about Bunny's death, but they insist that they know nothing and were not involved in her death.
Williams tells them that she doesn't want to arrest Mabel, but if they're reluctant to cooperate, then she may have no choice in the matter. During the conversation with Williams, Oliver realises that the murder knife is still in his apartment and tries to sneak back to his apartment via the secure tunnels, which he tries to access from Charles' bathroom. Charles tells him that he cannot leave, and the two go back out to talk with Williams. Eventually, they hand Williams the knife, and Oliver explains how both his and Lucy's fingerprints came to land on the knife.
The DNA Results
Eventually, Oliver receives the DNA results he has been waiting for. He tells Mabel and Oliver that the results show that Will is his son and thus, he is more Greek than he originally thought. When Oliver enters the Arconia's elevator shortly after, however, he encounters Teddy and the two begin to fight. Oliver tells Teddy that he is Will's biological father, contrary to what he had told Mabel and Charles only a short while before.
Oliver tells Teddy that he spoke with Roberta, Will's mother, and she had told him everything. Teddy and Oliver seem to grow close once again for a moment as they talk about father-son relationships. Oliver asks Teddy to refrain from telling Will about the revelation, a promise he asked Roberta to keep too.
The Killer Reveal Party
Eventually, Mabel, Oliver, and Charles meet up at the Pickle Diner, where they rehash all of the details of the current case they're building. They invite Becky Butler to the diner, believing that Cinda Canning is the killer and wanting to gather information on her. What quickly becomes apparent to Mabel, however after Becky orders from the Pickle Diner menu, is that Bunny's final words were not "14, Savage", they were "14, Sandwich", pointing to the 14th menu item on the Pickle Diner's menu — this also happens to be the sandwich that Becky orders.
Realising that Becky is the murderer, Oliver and the other investigators head back to the Arconia where they plan a killer reveal party. Oliver puts on his theatrical hat and, after Becky and Cinda arrive, they put on a show. Initially accusing Cinda to be the killer before moving on to Alice, Becky eventually becomes jealous when Cinda — who is participating in the reveal — offers Mabel a job and congratulates her for being brilliant. This leads to Becky admitting that she was infact responsible for the murder of Bunny Folger. Becky reveales the details behind the murder and how she worked with Detective Kreps to cover the whole thing up.
- Despite the fact that Oliver's driving license has expired, he still drives a car, which he calls "Aphrodite", he pays to park this at the Arconia.
- Whilst Mabel is associated with the colours yellow/marigold, Oliver is associated with the colour purple/maroon, and can often be seen wearing colours of this nature.