‘Only Murders in the Building’: An Inside Look at Oliver’s ‘Son of Sam’ Game

The Hulu series Only Murders in the Building took fans on a delightful dive into Oliver Putnam’s past in season 2 episode 5. It turns out Oliver was quite the partier back in the 1970s. Oliver’s favorite party trick was to pull out a game called Son of Sam, where he would inevitably always be able to catch the killer. Here’s what we know about the game and if it’s something fans can purchase.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for Only Murders in the Building Season 2.]

Oliver introduces the Son of Sam game in Only Murders in the Building. Oliver and Charles stand in the middle of a party.
Martin Short as Oliver and Steve Martin as Charles in ‘Only Murders in the Building’ | Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

Is the Son of Sam game from ‘Only Murders in the Building’ real?

Oliver Putnam’s son Will narrates season 2, episode 5 of Only Murders in the Building. The episode begins with a flashback to Oliver’s many parties in the 1970s, where he spent his time developing his greatest skill — “knowing when someone is hiding a secret from him.”

He does this by introducing a card game called Son of Sam. Oliver hands out cards to the New York partygoers, with one card denoting someone as the Son of Sam killer. The lights are turned off, and the killer’s job is to pinch their victim, who falls to the ground. The remaining players are then tasked with deciding who the killer is, though if they choose an innocent person, he or she is eliminated. Oliver observes until he can discern the Son of Sam.

To our knowledge, Son of Sam isn’t a real card game that fans can purchase. However, it has very similar rules to the party game “Mafia,” and there are plenty of board games that rely on group deductions to catch a killer or double agent.

Son of Sam terrorized New York in the 1970s

While the game Son of Sam isn’t real, it’s clear that a real serial killer inspired the name of the game in Only Murders in the Building. David Richard Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam, terrorized New York in the 1970s, Distractify writes. He killed six victims, mostly young women with dark hair, before being captured in 1977.

Berkowitz’s nickname has an interesting origin story. During his heyday, he sent letters to local newspapers which he signed “Son of Sam,” Britannica says. It turns out that Berkowitz believed a demon possessed the dog of his neighbor Sam Carr. Berkowitz was found guilty and sentenced to 365 years in prison.

Oliver finds out that Will likely isn’t his biological son

Despite the lighthearted Son of Sam party game, Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Episode 5 featured a pretty dark moment. Oliver’s son Will took a DNA test and found some surprising results. Half of his DNA was clearly from his mother, but the other half was all Greek. This didn’t make sense to Oliver, who is 100% Irish.

Suddenly a revelation hit Oliver. He recalled one of his parties of yesteryear, where Teddy Dimas and his wife were present. Teddy was acting suspicious, and now the truth is clear. He was sleeping with Oliver’s wife and is likely Will’s biological father.

New episodes of Only Murders in the Building drop Tuesdays on Hulu.

RELATED: ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Season 2: Here’s Why Nina Lin Looks so Familiar