TV Review: ‘The Mysteries of Laura’

The Mysteries of Laura TV Review

Without putting too fine a point on it, “The Mysteries of Laura” is designed for people who really, really love Debra Messing — who have been pining for her return to NBC ever since “Will & Grace,” and were even willing to forgive and forget her role in “Smash.” That contingent, alas, had better be fairly sizable, since there’s precious little else to recommend this new series, which liberally mixes the struggles-of-motherhood comedy with standard police procedural fare. Although Laura’s partner playfully refers to her as “Columbo,” the more apt comparison for NBC might be its “Ironside” revival.

At times, Laura’s commitment to whimsy makes the crime in the premiere — a hard-to-explain murder, committed in plain view — feel almost like an afterthought. That’s because she spends much of her time dealing with her mischievous preschoolers and a philandering husband (Josh Lucas) who, in addition to also being on the police force, doesn’t want to sign those pesky divorce papers.

Messing’s Laura is hardly the first detective to exhibit brilliance as a sleuth while her personal life is in something of a shambles. Although the timing could probably be better regarding the show’s casual approach to officer-involved shootings, where, as even her boss notes, “standard procedure is for douchebags.”

But whatever good will the series musters with its easy-going tone — which, the grimmer cop stuff notwithstanding, comes through in the family scenes and Laura’s banter with her partner (Laz Alonzo) — is squandered not only by the familiarity of its story beats but the haphazard way they’re thrown together, courtesy of writer-showrunner Jeff Rake, who adapted a Spanish series; and director McG, whose fast-paced style seems wasted on this material.

NBC is hardly the first network to bet on old-fashioned star power, but as last season’s Michael J. Fox vehicle suggests, nostalgia only goes so far. (The network will give the series a hoped-for boost by previewing it behind “America’s Got Talent,” before settling into its regular leadoff-the-night timeslot.)

“I’m just a mother with a shiny badge, a loaded gun and very little patience,” Laura snaps at one point, pretty much summing up the show in a nutshell.

So while it’s really no mystery why the network chose to gamble on “Laura,” the riddle that goes unsolved is why anybody who watches the first hour should be inspired to return for another.

TV Review: 'The Mysteries of Laura'

(Series; NBC, Wed. Sept. 17, 10 p.m.)


Filmed in New York by Berlanti Prods. and Kapital Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television.


Executive producers, Jeff Rake, Greg Berlanti, Aaron Kaplan, Todd Lituchy, McG, Sarah Schecter; co-executive producers, Amanda Green, Jeff Lippman; producers, Denise Pinckley, Blair Singer; director, McG; writer, Rake; based on the series “Los Misterios De Laura” created by Carlos Vila, Javier Holgado; camera, Derick Underschultz; production designers, Stuart Blatt; editors, Tom Constantino, Lawrence Maddox, Barbara Gerard; casting, Rosalie Joseph. 60 MIN.


Debra Messing, Josh Lucas, Laz Alonso, Janina Gavankar, Max Jenkins

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 27

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Starnzie says:

    This has to be the worst going a woman who uses a badge and forgets what it means. She thinks she is the law, number one. I watched more then one show and its like coz they are the police they can do what they want regardless. In one i watched she GOS to a place and the man at the door asked her if she had a warrent but she didn’t but she doesn’t get one and she sneeks in. Surely this means she is not following protocol & tresspasing. This just reminds me of police brutality having a badge doesn’t mean you can call the shots and do what you want and this show is filled with it.

  2. jengirlmama says:

    I enjoy the show. I’m a 40 year old woman with children. I think it’s funny and I like funny cop shows. So, :p😛

  3. Sheri says:

    While this is definitely NOT the best show on TV, I do like it and hope it stays on for a couple years. The writing and acting are both sometimes extremely weak. Every single time they cuff a bad guy, one of the officers has a cheesy line and it is usually pathetically delivered. I get exhausted with the chase scenes. I can’t imagine real cops are actually stupid enough to loudly announce themselves when they’re 100 feet from the suspect. They do it in every episode and a chase ensues. I don’t need to see a lengthy foot chase week after week. I’d much prefer the time to be spent on other things.

    The show, now in season 2, is getting stronger all the time. The exposure of Laura’s bratty kids has been toned down quite a bit with the addition of Alicia, the nanny. Even with the minor annoyances, I think this show is great, but I’m easily satisfied with television. I can overlook crap writing and the occasional bad acting if the plot is good, and it’s even easier to overlook when someone like Debra Messing is in the lead role. I do love her.

  4. stacyAnn says:

    I love the show. My best show on tv.

  5. says:

    “Mysteries of Laura” is one of the best shows on TV. Love the characters and there is funny humor, love, and mystery. It would be in your best interest to keep this great show on NBC.

  6. abigail says:

    Love Debra messing but there is definite OVERKILL with the 2 bratty kids

  7. ErCapi says:

    This show is not for the american public, the Spanish version is all about how she develops the cules of the cases, and she never hold a gun.

    To complicated for gun happy american public.

    It will not wor in USA.

  8. lisa martin says:

    I’m a working mom and grandmother. I so get this show and like it. My work as a nurse is serious, so in my downtime I enjoy watching shows that make me smile and laugh and that I can relate to. And the kids in the show are just like some I know and love; its life.

  9. Dave says:

    Hour of my life I will never get back, that sucks!

  10. Terri Abril says:

    I think it’s funny-writing is clever and if you are a single working mom, you get it!

  11. Who doesn’t love Debra Messing?!!! And I loved the whole of “Smash”, and her in it. But I guess critics have to be nasty or they’ll be fired. It’s to make readers get upset and worked up. I mean, seriously, ehy else would they be called “critics”.

    • Tiger Flower says:

      Def of critical: “expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art.” That certainly isn’t the same as being “nasty”. The reviewer was polite and analytical. He gave an accurate portrayal of the merits of the show. If you want to read a critic actually being nasty, look up Rex Reed and his review of Melissa Mccarthy that was in the news a while back.

  12. Spanish Laura's Fan says:

    From Spain. Gracias por la Review..

    El episodio 1 de la temporada 1 me gusta, lo he visto subtitulado y no está mal. Alomejor el timing es demasiado rápido, se aprecia en la escena de la pintura de los crios.. en general va todo “como un tiro”, pero para un primer episodio puede ser correcto. Creo que en la versión española los tiempos se respetan más, dando tiempo a las escenas que lo requieren.

    Creo que se abusa un pelín en exceso de los gags de humor, si en la versión española son un 60% en la americana del primer capitulo un 80%

    Los actores no me han defraudado de momento. Un 10 para la artista principal, y su marido capitán tiene un cierto aire a su actor homólogo español.

    En España es una serie que se ha emitido en prime-time y en horarios relativamente tarde, posiblemente si piensan emitirla en USA a las 8 de la tarde, por eso hay un componente en exceso humorístico versus la versión Española.

    Vamos a ver como evoluciona la serie, ese aire de Aire de “angela lansbury” creo que no tiene que ser tan solapado por el humor, que es necesario en esta serie, pero en su justa medida.

    España es un buen vivero de buen cine, y espero que esta adaptación de una série de la pequeña pantalla española para el mercado norteamericano, sea bienvenida por el público.

    El público norteamericano es exigente, y leo sorprendido las críticas al primer episodio.. Yo creo que hay que darle un tiempo de maduración al proyecto, aunque desconozco las reglas de éxito o fracaso que imperan en la televisión de USA.

    No está mal chicos, buen trabajo!

  13. Stan says:

    I watched the first episode ‘The Mysteries of Laura’ I was willing to give it a second chance even with all with all the chaos with the children. But when she started giving cough syrup to the children to calm them. I immediately turned it. we have people going to jail for this. and to have a police officer drugging children. I cannot support this. thank you

  14. sue mcclure says:

    Premise good…cast good…writing and directin needs total revamp. The first two minutes of dialogue was enough to check guide for something better. And I loved smash.

  15. Penny Ann says:

    Debra has been in an experimental mood since her divorce and she’s ruining her career. I so wanted to like this show,, Will and Grace was so good. But Debra is aging and desperate and lately it shows in all her new work. She is so non dimensional , but always in conflict. A woman who gorges herself with food then says see how hot I am in my bathing suit, can’t even pull off ditzy

  16. Nancy says:

    I really wanted to like this show but it was all over the place. I think it would work better as a half hour comedy because the weaving in of the drama was out of place. Everything was so forced.

  17. Oh My God , why can’t they give Debra Messing a break! Her talent is so underrated as an actor and comedian ! Please give her good material and a good series. TV, Movies need her and so does her public!

  18. Deb says:

    I like Debra Messing so was really looking forward to this, despite what the critics said. But they were right, this is a hot mess. The kids are horrible, the husband is annoying and spouses don’t usually work in the same precinct, especially when one is a superior to the other. REWRITE NOW! Get rid of Josh, those brats and keep Colantino (sp?).

  19. I was really looking forward to this show. I am a tv junkie and I love Debra Messing, but this show is sooooo bad. I think they take every single cliche and magnify each one of them. They make sure to focus the camera on each cliche, like the female cop who is a completely disorganized slob, but a crime-solving genius who is a very sloppy eater. Those kids are not pre-K age, and why do they have to be so horrible? I’m so disappointed.

  20. betty emmons says:

    get rid of kids except for occasionaly, have her only see them on week ends, debra is to good for this show!! come on , let her just be messy detective, that wouldbe a great show! keep enrico cause he is wondefful, get rid of husband and kids!!!!

  21. Dan of Trek says:

    When the critics pan a show I’m even more inclined to watch it. It’s like Mom saying “don’t do that”. Just how do critics know what I like? I miss her in Will and Grace. I never liked Smash. She may do OK here simply because she has no competition. I have no Wednesday night shows. Now I have Red Bands and this. I read critics but I don’t listen to them. They are expensive egos. I watch what I like, not what they approve of. I DO think those kids are over the top though. If they were mine they”d be limping.She has the strength of Lucy to carry a physically demanding show and show authority. In Will & Grace she was very physical and can pull it off. I wouldn’t judge a show solely from a pilot, good or bad. That’s too premature. And above all, don’t listen to critics.

  22. Jacques Strappe says:

    So she packs lunches and packs heat, why are you so opposed to motherhood and strong independent weaponized moms who take out the trash and take down the trash, Mr. Lowry? This show sounds just as reality-based as any of Greg Berlanti’s other comic book superhero television series.

  23. Peter says:

    I think she’s really good, and I see potential for the show.

  24. rocky-o says:

    never really cared for debra messing (although, she’s at least not as bad as jennifer aniston)…i think she just got very blessed when she fell into ‘will and grace’…she was surrounded by good people, who kinda covered the fact that she wasn’t very good herself…

More TV News from Variety