The Mysteries of Laura: The Mystery of the Dark Heart (Recap/Review)

The Mysteries of Laura: The Mystery of the Dark Heart has, obviously, a Valentine’s Day theme.

 The Mysteries of Laura - Season 2

The Mysteries of Laura: The Mystery of the Dark Heart has, obviously, a Valentine’s Day theme. On the day of the holiday Laura is attempting to make decorations and as Alicia takes over, after her boss has burned herself with the glue gun, Diamond gets a call; her gift for the day is a murder.

Arriving at the murder scene, Jake hands her a pair of gloves while wishing her a “happy Valentine’s Day. A dead man with multiple stab wounds is on the floor and  surrounded by copious amounts of blood.  Laura checks inside  the victim’s mouth and Reynaldo remarks dryly that it is a little late for CPR.

After explaining that the murder resembles the MO of St. Valentine, a serial killer who struck back in the 90s, she and Jake explain that part of those crime scenes included a groom cake decoration being placed in the male victim’s mouth.

As the episode continues a number of similarities between the old serial killer, who was killed by officers back in 1994 as he left the last body drop off site, emerge. This leads the detectives to investigate whether the real culprit was really killed.

Laura’s old Captain, Dan Hauser (Enrico Colantoni), whom she arrested back in the 2014 pilot episode for murder, was a white shield when the original killer was caught and Jake arranges for the man to get out of prison to help on this new case. 

The detectives realize that this is either a copycat or the cops got the wrong guy back in 1994. Throughout the precinct, Laura’s colleagues are getting flowers and candies, even Santiani (Callie Thorne) has balloons delivered. New “official” couple Soto and Bose have not “celebrated” and she tells Laura that Billy knows that she does not like PDA. Laura tells Meredith that Billy will go all out.

Reynaldo calls and tells Jake that he and Laura need to see him. The ME has found the groom cake topper that Diamond was looking for;  the victim inhaled it. The investigation goes on to reveal a number of things that indicate there were two serial killers “back in the day.”

They also find a website that sells crime scene memorabilia which leads the detectives to find an “expert” on the St. Valentine murders. The man steals a baby tooth of the original killer from the “little old lady” proprietor of the serial killer memorabilia “store.”

Jake: “Are those Ted Bundy’s undies?”

When they track the “expert” down, he reveals that he believes that St. Valentine is still on the loose. Later, the detectives find that the man is partially correct; there were two killers during the first series of murders.

When the police do a DNA test on Glen Baker (the man believed to be St. Valentine) it matches nothing found at the crime scenes.  Looking at old photographs of victims, Laura realizes that there were two killers based on bruises found on the dead men’s throats.

As the cops narrow down their search for the partner, Meredith gets irate when Soto does nothing for Valentine’s Day and Laura keeps the news that she dumped Tony close to her vest.

Hauser feels guilty about not knowing that there were two killers while the partner begins the new ritual of the old killings. Dressing the young woman in a wedding dress and injecting her with an overdose of heroin, the race is now on to catch the man before Rachelle dies.

A nostalgic, aka retro, craze for old chocolates leads the detectives to their hottest suspect,  Wayne Lewis, who should have been questioned in the 1990s but was not after Baker was killed. They go to his old address and find his soon-to-be ex-wife, who is a dead ringer for the victim.

Sidenote: In this part of the case, the writers seem to be taking a page from the real-life case of the UK’s Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, who was essentially killing his wife over and over. Sonia, his wife for 20 years, was a very controlling woman who was said to rule Peter at home. Each of his victims, after the first, resembled Sonia in body type and other features.

Lewis, upset that his wife left him, starts  killing again. Diamond and Broderick find out that the man is a security system installer that his wife met during the first killings. They believe that he has begun anew to terrify his estranged spouse. According to her, it was her fear of St.Valentine which led to them meeting  previously.

It becomes a race to save Rachelle, the latest female victim, who is in an impregnable vault. The cops trick Wayne into opening the door and only just save the young woman’s life.

By the end of the episode, Meredith rounds on Soto to complain that he has done nothing for the “greeting card holiday” and he reveals that the reverse it true.  Laura goes to tell Jake that she broke up with Tony only to discover that he has a new romantic interest; Jennifer Lambert (Jenna Fischer).

Lambert is not only the judge who expedited everything that Jake and Laura needed to catch Lewis, but her son Liam plays with the twins.  Broderick and the mother of his boys’ playdate are set to go out and Laura keeps the news of Tony’s departure quiet.  By the end of the episode, only Max (Max Jenkinsknows about the breakup.

Great writing on this episode with the use of new-age definitions such as “catfish” and the dinosaur technology remark when the 90s floppy discs are brought out of the evidence box.  There are also the occasional uses of procedural terms, like COD (cause of death) and Marc Webster as the ME Reynaldo projects professionalism with a capital P.

The Mysteries of Laura airs Wednesdays on NBC, tune in for the catchy theme tune and stay for the great writing and brilliant acting.

The Mysteries of Laura: Episode 207 (Review)

The Mysteries of Laura - Season 2

Apart from being entertaining, The Mysteries of Laura, episode 207, aka The Mystery of the Maternal Instinct, was also another tightly written and well performed mystery tale. Season two continues to amaze and puzzle.  Fans of Agatha Christie/Ruth Rendell type stories will become addicted to this Debra Messing vehicle.  While her Laura Diamond is no Miss Marple (for that matter her former husband Jake Broderick (Josh Lucas) is no bumbling local bobby on the beat either) the cop is one smart cookie, surrounded by equally intelligent coworkers.

Even the new Captain, “Santini” (Callie Thorne) manages to make valid points in this week’s mystery murder.  

A young woman is found dead in the street. As the police investigate it is learned that the victim is pregnant and that the baby in her womb still alive.  As the police investigate, beginning with the idea that the deceased was a hooker (based on the location of her death),  the clues do not add up.

Step two is learning that this Nigerian mother-to-be was a mule for a crime syndicate that specializes in moving uncut gemstones illegally. Armchair detectives will have their work cut out for them if they attempt to solve DJ’s murder.  There are plenty of clues on offer and many lead to dead ends. Many more lead to false conclusions.

At one point in the show it seems that the Nigerian syndicate is smuggling babies, which it  is not, and then it transpires that the phrase killing two birds with one stone may apply in the mother’s death and the reason for it. Maternity tourists, which are, amazingly, a real thing, are the baseline of the plot device here, but is combined with Nigerian bad guys using females as mules for their uncut stones.

This topical storyline, mentioning the “offensive” Jeb Bush term “Anchor babies,” proves that this series tries to be culturally aware of what is significant at the time of broadcast.  Another “relevant” portion of the story line  is the mention of “Ghost Apartments.” These are not flats or apartments occupied by denizens of the “other side” but empty homes purchased by the uber rich as investments.

The Mysteries of Laura is an entertaining “cop show” with an interesting, and amusing, cast who all have great chemistry with their costars.  The series really is a mix of “crim-com” and procedural cop shows where evidence is used alongside “hunches” by the main protagonist.

Max Carnegie (Max Jenkins) is a member of the team who uses his technical expertise to help his colleagues and he even steps in to antagonize Captain Santiani when Detective Diamond is out of pocket.  While the entire team work to find out who killed the pregnant mother, Jake and Laura continue their hesitant waltz of forgiveness and possibly getting back together. 

After the case is solved, Jake has dinner with his ex and their twins.  As part of a bet (Challenge?) made earlier in the season, Broderick does contact another doctor about his heart condition and now Laura is obligated to go on a date with him.

The Mysteries of Laura is topnotch entertainment and airs Wednesdays on NBC. Tune in enjoy the performances of the entire cast and see how hard it is to actually crack the cases.

The Mysteries of Laura: Episode 206 Well Written Well Played (Review)

The Mysteries of Laura - Season 2

Debra Messing continues to knock it out of the park as Laura Diamond. The latest episode, number 206,  of Mysteries of Laura is a well written procedural mystery that was well played by all the participants and very funny in all the right places.  Show creator Jeff Rake delivers another story that has the viewer second guessing right till the very end.  By the time Diamond and her fellow detectives catch the baddies “mid” crime, one can put all the pieces together and see that there have been no cheats employed and the trail of clues makes sense.

It is not just the procedures and the mysteries that work so well, but the interaction between all the players on the show. Messing and her character’s relationships with her ex, the new boss, her colleagues and the suspects make this show. Along with the humor evident in her co-workers, for example the Archie and Jughead gag…

In The Mystery of the Dead Heat, a gym owner is found murdered in one of his saunas and the police have to work out who did it. The victim’s wife has M.S. and for once, the woman is not automatically a suspect. Although the detectives do discover some incriminating photos, which turn out to be of the widow and a “sex surrogate.”

Now that Laura’s ex-husband, Jake (Josh Lucasis back as a senior detective and not running the squad the two are working as  team and the chemistry is magical. Each actor reacts brilliantly to the other. Lucas (who has a distinctive “kill to have” voice) works well with Messing, as in the bike shop scene where his character reacts to Laura’s fawning at the American Ninja training guy behind the shop.

On a sidenote, Messing herself mentions that the real American Ninja winner, Issac Caldiero appears in the episode and actually plays a villain.

Callie Thorne continues to play Captain Santiani aka Santini the boss everyone loves to hate. The woman is uber annoying and it is fun to watch Laura continue to needle the new captain.  These two performers also have a splendid chemistry and their interactions sparkle as a result. When Laura saves Santini’s bacon (it is funny to watch Diamond struggle to say her Captain’s name properly) one can see that it almost physically hurts Santiani to be in her detective’s debt.

Max Jenkins is a delight in each and every episode, full stop.

The Mysteries of Laura has a lot of humor as well as human interactions between the detectives and the suspects, victims and other people they encounter.  It is precisely these human and comedic touches that combine so well with the tightly written storyline that makes the show work so well.

As the team track down their first suspect, a homeless man named Archie Vale (Robert Hallak), they learn that he was good friends with the murdered man and that the shop owner who complained about Archie being a “perv” was exaggerating her claim. The police also learn about  the sex surrogate.

There is a secondary story of the two younger single detectives who are “Diamond and Broderick 11 years ago” and Jake still has medical issues. Laura pushes him to go back to get a second opinion.  As the investigation moves on, it turns out that the victim was “collateral damage” to a theft planned on his wife’s blueprints of businesses.

By the time end credits roll, the baddies have been caught mid-crime by Laura and Jake.  The real villains are the bike shop owner and her American Ninja training hubby and even Santini is happy at the result…sort of.

The Mysteries of Laura - Season 2
Issac Caldiero

The episode has a good double twist to the crime being worked on and a satisfactory ending for the two “younger lovers” played by Laz Alonso and Janina Gavankar.  This show is a brilliant vehicle for Messing who is still top of the league in terms of comedy. The bit where she delightedly offers to “hug it out” with Captain Santiani is perfect. 

Despite coming late to The Mysteries of Laura, this NBC procedural “crimcom ” is an addictive addition to the MikesFilmTalk beat. Great plots both  well written and performed very well indeed, make this a must see on Wednesdays. Miss this and miss some excellent television. After all, where else can one hear a line like: “Two guts don’t make a right…”

Brilliant.

Mysteries of Laura – To Binge or Not to Binge

The Mysteries of Laura - Season 2

Mysteries of Laura showed up via the auspices of a press release stating that the new season was starting. Having missed the premiere episode, the Debra Messing show was moved to a back burner till now.  After the initial question of whether to binge the entire first season to catch up on what was happening in the second season was broached and then ignored, the first three episodes of the series’ return to TV screens were viewed.

The verdict?

Excellent television with tight writing,  interesting characters, a good dose of humor (in all the right places) and mysteries that were…mysterious. Each episode needed solving, despite an “almost” armchair viewer discovery in episode one  The Mystery of the Taken BoyThis non-NYPD viewer guessed the kid’s sister had a part in the kidnapping, but, the girl was not a viable suspect, she just inadvertently provided the “in.”

Watching the entire first season of this series is not a requirement unless, after seeing the first three episodes, the new fan wants to go back to the beginning. The show is a revamping of a Spanish television series Los misterios de Laura which had a rocky history on a State owned channel before being re-imagined for a “gringo” audience.

Debra Messing stars as Laura Diamond, the ex-wife of  Jake Broderick (Josh Lucas), mother of twins and NYPD detective.  The cast of “Laura” is rounded out with Laz AlonsoJanina GavankarMax Jenkins as Billy Soto, Meredith Bose, and Max Carnegie respectively as well as Callie Thorne as the boss everyone despises Captain Santiani (or Santini as Laura continually calls her).

With a thumping “Miami Vice” type musical theme and some great Big Apple second unit shots for the opening credits (as well as throughout the episodes) Mysteries of Laura is a catchy program.  Not just because of the presence of Messing either. The Will and Grace star has proven that she can still do comedy plus she also has  some impressive “dramatic chops” that so many would kill for. However, this mystery of the week series has a more than capable cast who work brilliantly with the show’s star.

As the title suggests, each episode deals with a  mystery. Episode one was the mystery of a kidnapped boy (who was illegally adopted), two was a lonely woman who scammed friends with fake cancer (who was murdered) and three was the “locked room” death of a billionaire techno wunderkind.

In the latest episode, The Mystery of the Locked Box, the murder weapon was pretty well thought out by the show’s creator, (look away now if you have not watched this episode yet) a “murder drone” outfitted with razor sharp blades. Pretty ingenious.

The storylines are good; quite inventive and interesting. The interactions between the characters are humorous, and just as interesting as the storylines. Each person in the police bull pen feel like they have worked together, if not for years, at least long enough to have good cohesion.

Ms. Messing rocks it in the role (Sidenote, in watching episode 203, did anyone else notice what looked like a very poorly disguised bulge? Apparently it was rumored that Debra  Messing had a baby bump but now there appears to be some doubt as to her actually being pregnant. Watch episode three of season two…Baby bump.)  as the “mom” oriented detective who follows some impressive hunches.

Fans of mystery shows, which this is, will love this series. The setting may be the NYPD but the construction of the show is mystery, a’ la Agatha Christie.  Mysteries of Laura is procedural, to be sure, but this is not the focus of the show. That would be the dynamics of the players and the lead character’s ability to ferret out the clues that lead her and the police department  to the truth.

Secondary to the show’s main storyline is her juggling of home life and the show deals with this  aspect with humor. Speaking of humor, check out the “convenience” store scene with Messing and Lucas. This award winning actress easily combines subtle comedy with drama to give us a “mommy detective” with attitude. A real winning combination.

Mysteries of Laura airs Wednesdays on NBC. Catch this one for smooth television that delivers a huge dose of entertainment. Binging is not required, unless  you want to as this show is written well enough the viewer can pick things up fairly easily.