Written by Allison Lips
Plot: A cop/family show about Laura Diamond (Debra Messing), a homicide detective with the New York Police Department who balances her day job with her off-duty hours as a single mother to twin sons, while trying to get her soon-to-be-ex husband (Josh Lucas) to sign the divorce papers.
The Mysteries of Laura is a mom show. It doesn’t break any new ground as far as police procedurals go. However, the show executes the standard formula extremely well, despite only working because Laura Diamond (Messing) and her husband, Jake Broderick (Lucas), are both homicide detectives.
The case Laura and her partner (Laz Alonso) have to solve wouldn’t seem out of place on Law & Order: the CEO of an innovative cell phone company is murdered at a dinner party. The police now have to solve the case. Unsurprisingly, there’s a criminal brother with gambling debts, an ex-wife after her husband’s money, and a mistress in the picture. In the end, none of them did the crime. Turns out Laura’s boss, Captain Dan Hauser (Enrico Colatoni), murdered the man because the mistress was his wife, who he was in the process of divorcing at the time she was killed in a car accident.
When The Mysteries of Laura strays too far from police work, it finds itself in trouble. The show wants to be a comedy-drama, a title it barely qualifies for. The comedy is mediocre and cliché. Laura’s kids are tyrants and her husband encourages it. This is played for laughs… but it’s not funny. For example, her kids painted half their preschool classroom red. The writers thought, “Oh she’s a homicide detective. The red paint looks like blood. Let’s have her say it’s a depraved act and treat them like criminals. The audience will love it.” Admittedly, that example may not be clever, but it isn’t so bad. Then, you realize it’s the funniest scene in the show.
Because her sons behave so badly and were expelled from school, Laura has this obsession with getting them into a fancy private preschool. There’s really no reason for this, except to show that Jake can be a responsible father and loves Laura. Laura can’t get her sons into a school, but Jake asked around and found out a friend knew a preschool teacher who liked a challenge because it was so important to Laura that the kids be in a good school.
While Laura’s husband is lax as a father, Detective Jake Broderick has his act together at work. He’s so good at his job that he replaces Hauser at Laura’s precinct, which sets up the rest of the series.
The Mysteries of Laura has potential. The dynamic between Laura and Jake will be interesting to watch, if the series lasts more than four episodes. The botched attempts at slapstick drag the show down. While I’m willing to forgive it in the first episode, the show may already be dead. According to Rotten Tomatoes, only 38 percent of the audience liked it. That doesn’t bode well for future of The Mysteries of Laura.