A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Mysteries of Laura is a dramedy about a mom who investigates homicides. Characters carry weapons, and, of course, there's murder, although blood is generally minimal. But there's also heavy use of gateway language such as "douche bag," "bitch," "ass," "suck it," and "banging" -- along with some brief simulated sex -- that makes it an iffy choice for younger teens. There's some social drinking, too, along with mentions of corporate brands such as Target.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In hour-long dramedy THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA, Laura Diamond (Debra Messing) is just about at her wits' end. Her demonic/lovable twin boys have just been kicked out of their private pre-K; her charming but irresponsible ex, Jake (Josh Lucas), only shows up when he feels like it; and her colleagues at work are giving her crap for not following regulation police procedures. It seems like only her gorgeous partner, Billy (Laz Alonzo), has her back. But even the NYPD isn't safe for this harried mom: It looks like Jake's going to be the new captain of her squad.
Is it any good?
Debra Messing, so adorably and effervescently charming in Will & Grace, hasn't lost her sparkle, and The Mysteries of Laura does have a glib, easy charm that fans of easygoing detective series such as The Mentalist and Murder, She Wrote will appreciate. Laura's lightness makes this show a throwback, and its case-of-the-week setup is familiar but not unappealingly so.
Nonetheless, Laura does hit some sour notes that may make it a bit harder for some viewers. It's nice that Laura Diamond is a powerful woman at work in a mostly male milieu. But did the only other woman at work have to be a rival, with the two frequently sniping at each other? In addition, It's creepy to let Laura disregard the law to the extent that she shoots a suspect's ear off rather than waiting for a hostage negotiator and threatens to bust a teacher for a marijuana possession rap if she doesn't get her an interview at a noted private school. If the show were more absurd, such hijinks would be easier to laugh off. But the show seems to want us to take Laura and her issues seriously yet regard her lapses under the law as no big deal, a tone as uneven as the laughs. On the plus side, Messing and Lucas have great chemistry, but the cases themselves aren't as compelling as they could be, and Laura's dramatic reveals smack more of Scooby-Doo than they probably should.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the police procedural is such an enduring staple of television. Why do viewers like to watch crimes being committed and then solved?
How does The Mysteries of Laura compare to other series centered on women? Does the show challenge any existing stereotypes about working moms or women who work in law enforcement, or does it merely reinforce them? How does Laura rate as a role model?
Is the audience supposed to like Laura Diamond? How can you tell? How is she presented so that viewers will feel the way the show's creators want them to feel?
For kids who love drama
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.