THE SHOW: The Mysteries of Laura
WHEN: Wednesdays 8/7c
THE CAST: Debra Messing, Josh Lucas, Laz Alonso and Janina Gavankar
THE SETUP: NYPD Homicide Detective Laura Diamond attempts to balance her frantic personal life with her intense day job.
The Mysteries of Laura is a show that could have been really good and maybe still can be, but as of now is nothing more than a mediocre vehicle for likable star Debra Messing. If you’re looking for entertainment without a lot of originality, but a way to pass the hour with a few enjoyable characters and a few laughs, then this show may be a good choice – especially if you’re willing to wait for it to find its feet.
The show follows Laura Diamond, a homicide detective who excels in her job while also struggling with her personal life (her twin boys are out of control for instance – ever see Problem Child?). She breaks the rules (in a few eye rolling moments of “Yeah, right,”) to get things done, which doesn’t seem to be an issue with any of the other detectives (minus the new girl who is the cliché rule follower of the unit). She’s also smart, sexy and funny. In short, the character is basically what you would expect: Debra Messing as a cop.
The best part of the show, however, is that they cast Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama) as her soon to be ex-husband. He’s charismatic as usual, though a bit of a jerk. He’s the “fun” Dad who obviously isn’t always around. Plus, it’s revealed early on that the reason they’re separated (with her wanting him to sign the divorce papers) is because he cheated. No surprise there. Question is do the writers want them to get back together? Or will they bring a new love interest into the mix? Perhaps her partner?
What worked best for this series, besides good casting, are the character moments. I like the idea of a working mom who’s trying to do everything and can’t quite pull it off. The funniest moments are in relation to who she is as a character and what situations she may find herself in. Unfortunately, these moments took up a lot less screen time than the case of the week. And as far as mysteries go, this one was really easy to solve. Plus, the writing and dialogue connected to solving the case were cliché and obvious. I do appreciate the attempt at a twist which I won’t give away, but again, the case just wasn’t interesting enough to hold any kind of interest – though I did think the ending of the episode introduced a new development that could improve the show by leaps and bounds.
In all, the show should really cut down on the case of the week and fully embrace it as a character driven dramedy (or even a comedy) and not as another procedural with a quirky lead. If the writers can figure out what works and what doesn’t, they may be able to turn it around and make The Mysteries of Laura into a surprising hit. I rate it 3 corsets.
The Mysteries of Laura should have been a romantic screwball comedy; instead the pilot delivered the same tired procedural formula with a dash of comedy. What do I mean about romantic screwball comedy? Well, just think of the premise. It is about a single Mom (with monstrous twin boys) that also works as a homicide detective with an about to be ex-husband. Jake, played by the charming Josh Lucas, is also a detective, one that by the end of the episode becomes her boss. He’s charming, carefree, and just doesn’t take things seriously enough. It is the perfect setup for a premise in the likes of Cary Grant’s The Awful Truth about an ex married couple trying to destroy each other’s love lives. It’s funny and romantic, their relationship the focus of the film.
Unfortunately, the focus of The Mysteries of Laura was about the predictable procedural. Without giving anything away (or much), I knew who the killer was in the first 30 seconds because of the guest star…And that would be fine if the case wasn’t at the forefront of the show. There are actually some funny moments and that was mostly involving the terrors Laura calls sons and of course some of her interactions with her husband. Give us more of that, more of the cheating husband who now gets to dictate her life at work. Have him undermine any of her future romantic relationships. Let the screwball romantic antics and the sophisticated bantering begin…. Alas, I don’t think that will happen, or at least not as much as it should and certainly not with the same degree of wit. If it does, maybe I’ll tune back in. Until then, I rate The Mysteries of Laura 2 and a ½ corsets overall and 3 stars for the potentially interesting romance.
NBC’s new crime dramedy, The Mysteries of Laura, starring Debra Messing mixes the typical serial cop show with the snarky and clever wit audiences have come to expect and love from Messing’s Will and Grace days. The show certainly isn’t giving us anything we haven’t seen before in other comedic crime shows, but fans of Messing will be pleased to see her in her element once again. Messing plays a hotshot detective trying to raise her twin hellion sons while going through a complicated divorce. We get treated to Messing’s antics both in her role as a detective and as a mother. My favorite part had to be when she is desperately trying to get her sons into a new school after they’ve been expelled from their previous one for covering a classroom in red paint. In an attempt to keep the boys from acting like their usual mischievous selves, she doses them with cough syrup right before an interview with a representative from one school. Her plan backfires when the little tikes reveal what she did, claiming that was their dinner.
In an attempt to increase the comedic atmosphere of the show, Messing’s case plays out much like a game of CLUE. We get the typical montage at the beginning of all the possible suspects, who happen to all have been present at the victim’s mansion for a dinner party. The investigation plays out more like a game of who dunnit than the more serious style used by other crime shows. Even the ending mimics the iconic style of CLUE, with a big reveal of who did what in which room with what kind of weapon. All of this works to enhance Messing’s entertaining performance. All in all I would say this is a fun show to relax to on a weeknight, especially if you are a fan of Ms. Messing. I rated it 3 corsets.
What did you think of The Mysteries of Laura? Let us know in the comments.
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