1940’s DETECTIVE COMICS OR A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH?
Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a hard-edged police procedural? These are the questions I found myself asking while watching the new The Mysteries of Laura starring Debra Messing and Josh Lucas. Mysteries follows Messing as homicide detective Laura Diamond who is a woman with a lot on her plate and not enough time to eat it all.
Laura’s juggling a busy work schedule as a detective trying to solve murders with mothering twin boys possibly possessed by an almighty demonic force and a soon-to-be-ex husband (Josh Lucas) who can’t bring himself to sign those divorce papers.
The mix of cop show meets family comedy meets personal life drama is an uneasy mix within Mysteries that often feels jarring and forced, not really knowing which direction it really wants to focus on. One minute Detective Diamond is resolving a hostage situation by shooting off the perps ear the next she’s wiping blood up with a baby wipe and returning a worn bathing suit before arguing with hubby about how he is never around when it comes to her demonic brats who by the way spend time peeing on each other.
If you were to separate the genres smashed into this one show, some of it would work and some wouldn’t. Frazzled and over worked mum juggling twin brats with a less than involved husband (who also cheated) sounds like a decent drama or even dramedy. Homicide detective trying to solve murders – it’s been done a million times over so I get why the career was thrown in, but as a whole, the murder case Laura and partner Billy (Laz Alonso) are working on and how it’s given to us is quite possibly a story line once featured in an episode of Scooby Doo and by the end, when the killer is revealed, the final result actually feels quite farcical and you’re left wondering why the need for so much focus on the cop aspect of Laura’s life, like are the writers so forced on trying to establish that yes, Laura Diamond, in 2014, is a mother and a woman with a career?
Stepping back, what does work within Mysteries is the chemistry between Messing and Alonso. The two work great as a team and there is enough spark there to possibly push for a work romance story arc. Watching the two together felt like there could be a Castle meets Bones air about the show but that was destroyed when we were brought back into Laura’s world of cheating husbands and unruly children.
In the end, the problems seeping out of Mysteries is the tone of the show and what it brings to viewers. Debra Messing…we all love her, though is she believable as a hard-nosed homicide detective…I’ll leave that up to you. The family drama with a side of murder solving and over-the-top hijinks…perhaps if Mysteries was more thrilling in it’s murder cases and less on the family life…or the other way around, there could be something to work with.
Debra Messing is a win though the aimless script is a loss.
Rating score: 6 out of 10
Update: Oct 2nd – It get better. If you managed to make your way through the entire first episode, you’ll be pleased to know that Mysteries does in fact get better. By the end of episode 2, you’ll notice there’s a shift away from Laura’s home life with her evil twins and more focus on the crime/career/husband aspects with the show. The weekly murder mystery is still a little kitschy but there’s an additional mix of some darkness thrown just to ground the show a little bit more.
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