In a recent phone conversation from her home in Brooklyn, she discussed the inspirations for her character on “Only Murders,” mastering the bassoon (sort of) and working with Steve Martin and Martin Short. These are edited excerpts.
Did you know before you took the role that Jan was the murderer? Or one of them at least?
Yes. Before I joined, [the series co-creator] John Hoffman gave me the outline of the whole series — he didn’t have scripts fully written yet — and shared that I was the murderer.
Did you believe she was capable of murder?
There was an article in The New York Times about a woman — a New Yorker — who went off into a QAnon kind of world from writing comedy. And the dial just turned so slowly for her, for her reality to bend. And I thought, “That could be Jan, too.” Living alone on the Upper West Side, losing your friends one by one. Not that QAnon people are murderers, but just someone not dealing with reality — I thought that could be her way in.
Was Tim Kono her first victim?
No, she’s definitely done it before. In that last scene with Steve when he’s on the floor and she recognizes all the signs — oh, yeah, there goes the slurring, oh, yep, you’re right on target — I think Tim Kono is not her first. [Laughs.]
Is she a psychopath?
I know someone who committed murder — they’re not a close friend — but they snapped. I don’t know what pushes someone closer and closer and closer. And that was a one-time thing, so what is a person who repeats? I imagine they must be a sociopath. So I think that is Jan.
Does she really love Charles? Or is it all just an act?
She knows she’s lying when she’s telling him, “I’m first chair and I have a big performance tonight,” but when she said that, she believed it. I believe, in that moment, she does love Charles. She does.