The Mysteries of Laura





Paul Asay

TV Series Review

Laura Diamond is a cop. And she’s a mom. She’s a mom cop.

That’s the main, and really only, premise of The Mysteries of Laura, NBC’s attempt to blend a crime procedural drama with a zany family sitcom. Here, motherhood is treated as both a strange superpower (making Laura more insightful and empathetic than her kidless counterparts) and telegenic foible. She’s a little like Monk, only with fewer antibacterial wipes and more mac and cheese.

Oh, and more blood and cursing, too, but we’ll get to that.

Laura is a homicide detective in New York City—a cagey, hard-boiled investigator who just happens to work for her ex-husband, Jake. But the two get along just fine. (In fact, they might still be married had Jake not also gotten along fine with other women.) A strong working relationship is a must for them, given the vicious, duplicitous, underhanded, manipulative characters they have to deal with on a daily basis.

And those are just their kids.

Not that they, or we, see those kids much. Laura and Jake spend long hours bringing New York’s Scuzziest to justice, and their twin boys, Nicholas and Harrison, spend most of their time with nannies. While they both clearly love the tykes, Laura and Jake sometime seem a little out of their element when they’re not handcuffing criminals. (When Laura was once forced to whip up lunches, she gave the kids jars of olives.)

Maybe it’s good, then, that handcuffing and such takes up about 80% of the show’s time? Or not. Laura and her cohorts (including Billy Soto, who is her partner; Meredith Bose, who is Jake’s; and Max Carnegie, who is the precinct’s info guy and requisite gay stereotype) solve the given crime of the week, leading us to bloody murder scenes while trading foul bits of language with the locals. We see sexual situations and hear sleazy stuff from time to time; skimpy attire sometimes makes an appearance. The worldview here is basically ethical—but the morals are trendy and secular. (Which means you’ll find yourself at odds with what’s going on more often than you’d wish.)

Seemingly modeled after USA’s onetime legion of clever and comic detective shows (see: Monk, Psych), The Mysteries of Laura isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. Nor can it be, whether in that moral/ethical realm or even in the lavish leaps of logic it make to superhumanly “solve” so many crimes.

Episode Reviews

Mysteries-of-Laura: 11-19-2014

“The Mystery of the Dysfunctional Dynasty” Two elderly people are found dead in their bed, faces and sheets stained with blood. Laura suspects the son, who was disowned by his religious parents for his homosexual lifestyle. But complications arise around the brother of the son’s lover and a situation involving arranged marriages. The killer gets caught, but the script treats him with kid gloves compared to a priest who, along with the murdered couple, had tried to (in Billy’s words) “pray the gay away.” Laura says, “Which, of course, is impossible.” And she says to Billy, “Have you noticed that every time he pauses, he’s about to say something bigoted?” A priest visibly bores a sanctuary full of kids with a lesson on the Ten Commandments. A detective pretends to be drunk as she salaciously flirts. We hear quips about Jake’s infidelity and women’s breasts (at Hooters). We see and hear about drinking. In flashback, Nicholas and Harrison urinate on each other, which precipitates a long conversation about boys, men and their “dingalings.” There’s stealing, and folks say “h—” and “a–” five or six times each, “d–n” and “b–ch” once each. God’s name is misused a handful of times.

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Paul Asay
Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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