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Buoyant ‘Afterparty’ holds up well in season 2

From left: Zach Woods, John Cho, Zoë Chao, Paul Walter Hauser, Ken Jeong, Poppy Liu, and Vivian Wu in "The Afterparty," whose second season premieres July 12.APPLE TV+

I had a great time watching the second season of the comedy-mystery series “The Afterparty,” which returned to Apple TV+ last week. This time around, the murder takes place at a wedding, instead of the first season’s class reunion, and the cast of suspects is different, with Paul Walter Hauser, Ken Jeong, Elizabeth Perkins, and Anna Konkle in the mix. Only Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson, and Zoë Chao from season 1 return, working together as a trio to solve the case.

The novelty — and the brilliance — of the series is the “Rashomon”-like way each episode is told through the eyes of a different suspect, and in the style of that suspect’s mind-set. Episode 2, which was released last Wednesday, was narrated by Grace (Poppy Liu), the new wife of the murder victim, Edgar (an extremely amusing Zach Woods), and her account of events looks like a Regency costume drama. My favorite episode, the fourth (due on July 26), belongs to Konkle’s hilariously coy character, the dead man’s sister, whose version of events takes form as a Wes Anderson movie. It’s perfect.


I was afraid the “Afterparty” formula might not click the second time around, but it works beautifully once again. You could say season 2 isn’t as finely plotted as season 1 and you wouldn’t be wrong — but ultimately it doesn’t matter. The fun is in the characters and their imaginations, as well as the comic actors who play them. There’s also plenty of good humor in Haddish’s investigator (she’s no longer a police detective), as she rolls her eyes at the suspects and stays a few steps ahead of them.

I liked “Glass Onion,” but, for me, it pales next to this series, which takes the same Agatha Christie-esque concept and turns it into something buoyant, goofy, and original.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him @MatthewGilbert.