Tissues are required for the season finale of The Mysteries of Laura, but not necessarily just for the death of Santiani, or even for the brilliant role-reversal ending. (Although both of these do require copious amounts of tissues.) One should really shed a tear for the short shrift given the death of a regular character who became such a presence on the second season.
Callie Thorne‘s prickly, annoying and captain, who was in many ways a “mini-me” to Laura Diamond but in charge of the entire precinct had just become more than likable when she and Laura became friends in the pervious episodes.
Santiani offered to have Jake reassigned when things became difficult between her top detective and Broderick in an earlier episode. The captain also, even while disciplining Diamond, backed Laura after her sister’s boyfriend was killed. A lot of ink was spilt making Thorne’s character not only more acceptable but more human.
Obviously this buildup was done to intensify the feelings of shock and upset when the tiny police captain was murdered. While this is understandable and a sign of good writing it is disappointing that in the followup to Santiani’s death by sniper bullet, the fallen cop is pushed to the background.
In The Mystery of the End of Watch Nancy Santiani’s death is “glossed over” as the threat is moved initially to Laura, as the intended target and then to Nancy’s son Justin when the boy is kidnapped by his father. The plot then allows a former abusive partner to make amends to his murdered wife. A woman whose death was almost directly caused by him.
There was chance to see Louis Ozawa Changchien for a quick moment, or two, return as Jimmy Chun and Debby Ryan, as younger half-sister Lucy Diamond as carry-overs from last week’s episode. Both characters, Chun and Lucy, provide plot directions, were the former reveals that the “hit” was not on Diamond but Santiani and the latter prompts her big sister to seize the moment “by the balls.”
The entire episode serves as a wakeup call of sorts for Laura (Messing), Jake (Lucas) and his new girlfriend Jen (Jenna Fischer). Apart from this triangle of awareness the call also reaches Meredith and Billy.
Obviously the message here is that death can come at anytime to anyone. As Laura herself says, in essence, after Santiani’s demise “life is fleeting.” As was the amount of time spent on Nancy Santiani’s death. Granted, Diamond and Santiani were not “bestie’s” by any stretch of the imagination but, damnit, the two strong women bonded like hell in the previous episode.
One of their bonding moments helps Laura to track down Justin. To be fair, there are “moments” where we have glimpses of Santiani. The Cape Canaveral tickets were a lump inducing reminder that we never know or realize that we do not have a lot of time in this life.
Another moment is when Diamond quotes Santiani:
“A wise woman we all worked for once told me to hope for the best but plan for the worst.”
After catching the two men responsible for killing Nancy, the season finale then does the “end of watch” scene.
“Central to Captain Nancy Santiani. We thank you, Captain, for your leadership, your compassion, your generosity of spirit in serving the people of New York and this country. Central to the 359. Central to Captain Nancy Santiani. Central to Captain Nancy Santiani. Captain Nancy Santiani is end of watch.”
This may not be the way that the police say goodbye to one of their own, but only the hardest of hearts would not be moved by the announcement, (in fact this writer is tearing up just writing this) and while this feels a little contrived…
This part of The Mysteries of Laura is so emotional that it makes perfect sense that Billy Soto breaks “every rule of the bro code” to tell Laura about Jake proposing to Jen.
The end of the finale sees Laura rushing to stop Jake and to tell him that she still loves him. A splendid role reversal where the woman (Diamond) strides into the room and declares they still have a future together. After a romantic kiss and floods of schmaltzy tears (from the audience)Jen shows up and asks if everything is okay; flashing the ring.
Laura is too late.
Great ending to the second season. But…
It is a shame that Nancy Santiani aka “Santini” had to die and then become an “also ran” plot point to move the story along. Sure the “Central to Captain Nancy Santiani” was heart breaking but Callie Thorne’s character deserved so much more…
Perhaps that was the point.