The first glimpse we get of her is not of her face, but of her hair. That beautiful, red hair is all we see as we hear her — Detective Laura Diamond, named thus because she’s beautiful and tough — respond to her partner’s call for backup in chasing a criminal. She jumps out of her cruiser for a foot chase and the camera lingers on its interior: makeup bag, food, toys, general clutter. Then we follow along with her, again from her point of view and not actually seeing her, as she maneuvers through crowds of people to confront the perp, offering cranky commentary along the way. And then, there it is — her grand entrance.
Yes, that was a real scene from a real television show, NBC’s new cop dramedy The Mysteries of Laura starring a dead-eyed Debra Messing. No, you did not have a stroke. The pilot is so very bad on so many levels, it will leave you confounded as to how it made it to air and equally transfixed and wanting more. Laura, at least in its pilot, is nothing more than the half-brained pitch of “She’s a mom … and a cop. At the same time.” It feels like a parody, an unfunny SNL sketch dumped in the last 15 minutes of the show. And it will make you wonder just how far Messing has to fall before she can ever come back up to the general vicinity of her Will & Grace days on this very network.
This is the second scene of the pilot, which combined with the opening above tell you most everything you need to know. It also includes well-timed commentary about standard procedures for police being for “douchebags.”
Josh Lucas, devoid of his former charm, is around as a not-yet-divorced-from-her ex; they have two demon spawn; Laura abuses her power as a cop to try to get said spawn into pre-K; Enrico Colantoni is her boss; she has a black partner played by Laz Alonso; there’s a murder mystery you will not care about; the entire mess is directed by McG; and it’s all amazing. Yes, amazing. You will be stunned at the level of badness, from the slopping editing to the bad writing. You will not be able to look away or keep from laughing.
NBC aired the pilot after the America’s Got Talent finale, hoping viewers would stick around. I hope they did, because to watch The Mysteries of Laura is to go on an emotional journey I can only think of to describe like this:
You will watch it until it’s cancelled. Because it will be cancelled. Because NBC will never learn.
Sarah Carlson is Television Editor for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.