• The Mysteries of Laura: It’s a Mystery, Alright…More or Less

    by  • September 11, 2014 • Paleyfest, Profanity, Sex • 0 Comments

    Murder mystery? Romantic soap opera? Over-the-top family sitcom? Gritty cop drama? The Mysteries of Laura is all of these – but ends up being less than the sum of its parts.MysteriesofLaura3

    Laura Diamond is a tough, competent career detective and the pride of her police precinct. But Laura must juggle her day job with her home life as a single mom, including two bratty pre-school boys who delight in wreaking havoc in the classroom, on the street, at home, and everywhere else. Adding to Laura’s problems is her irresponsible, womanizing, soon-to-be ex-husband Jake, for whom Laura still has feelings – and who has just been appointed her new boss. The series will show Laura investigating a different murder each week, while she tries to hold the chaos of her life together. 

    In addition to standard violence inherent in police shows, The Mysteries of Laura features frequent profanity (“ass,” “bitch,” “douchebag”) and sexual language (“diddling some skank,” “her ass was staring me in the face”). The program also revels in showing Laura acting inappropriately, like blackmailing a teacher to let her kids into preschool, or lying to a parking valet to illegally search a suspect’s car (“I left my underwear in my husband’s car, and I just got a Brazilian and I’m feeling drafty”). Jake is the ultimate in irresponsible fathers, taking the kids for pizza while Laura handles the discipline, as the boys engage in stunts like urinating on one another in a public park.

    Unlike this season’s new Fox show Red Band Society, in which shifts between drama and comedy are deliberately calculated to tell a story about terminally ill children without overwhelming viewers with despair, The Mysteries of Laura is a mélange of different genres without any overriding purpose behind the mix…other than, perhaps, confusion on the part of the show’s creative team. By giving viewers a lead character who is sobbing about her divorce one minute, gunning down perps the next, and engaging in wacky sitcom hijinks a minute later, The Mysteries of Laura is completely unfocused. The result is similar to what one would get if one dumped Hawaiian pizza, jalapeño peppers, pickled herring, and tutti-frutti ice cream in a blender: the resulting concoction would be creative, unusual, and definitely different…but it’s doubtful anyone would want to drink it. As these disparate elements demonstrate, The Mysteries of Laura does contain many mysteries – but the biggest mystery is what the show is trying to be.

    The Mysteries of Laura premieres Wednesday, September 17, at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

    Take a look yourself and tell us what you think in our comments below!

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    About

    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

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