In NBC’s new series The Mysteries of Laura, Debra Messing stars as Laura Diamond, who according to NBC materials is “a brilliant NYP homicide detective balancing her ‘Columbo’ day job with a crazy family life.” But what, journalists were asking today, is “mysterious” — or even unusual — about a woman juggling family and career in 2014?
At today’s TCA panel on her new show, Messing was joined by other cast members Laz Alonso, Josh Lucas and Janina Gavankarand, as well as the male executive producers Jeff Rake, McG, Greg Berlanti and Aaron Kaplan. They were quick to respond that exposing the working-mom dynamic is not the point of the show.
“When I read the script it didn’t feel to me that this a new standard [or] an extreme case,” Messing said. “I responded to something incredibly universal about the predicament.” In fact, she said, “it is the balance of the tone of drama and the comedy that is going to be the newest adventure and the newest challenge. That we haven’t seen on network TV before.” Messing described the show as a “dramedy.” NBC calls it “humorous but relatable.”
Based on a Spanish series of the same title, former talent agent Kaplan said when the material came to him, he decided to take it to Rake, a former client he called the perfect candidate to help build the show. “Between the two of us, we have 7 children,” Kaplan said. They in turn took the project to Berlanti and McG. The show, producers said, will conclude a stand-alone mystery each week and will include both original concepts and story lines borrowed from the Spanish series.
But what’s new about the show to critics seemed to be how really, really bad the kids are. In the show’s original pitch, Rake said he described Laura’s 6-year-old twins as being “from Breaking Bad.” TV critics in the audience suggested that having the little boys pee on each other in the pilot might be going one step too far.
“It happens all the time, ,” said Lucas. “Kids do that. It’s really not that horrible (as long as you tell the kids), when you’re 7, you can’t be doing this.”