The Mysteries of Laura is a tv show about an NYPD detective who’s also a single mom of twins. It’s one of the shows I watch with my mom—or rather, watched. I’ll explain below why I liked the show and why I’ve decided to stop watching it after two seasons.
The actual mysteries in each episode are good enough—nothing spectacular but they didn’t bore me either. The first few episodes were a touch heavy handed with the “mom skills are being used to solve the crime” thing, but it often takes a few episodes for a show to find its feet. The Mysteries of Laura did and got better at incorporating Laura’s unique way of looking at the world with her police work, without having to shout about it.
Each crime/victim has some unusual hook, but that seems to be standard operating procedure for the mystery genre these days, especially on tv. So long as it’s not overly sensationalistic, I’m usually ok with that. I like interesting characters, even if they’re dead. It’s when a character is turned into nothing more than a hook—not fleshed out beyond that—that I get annoyed. The other things that annoy me—blatantly using the “weirdness” of a culture or subculture as the draw, or scare-mongering because “INTERNETS WILL KILL YOU”—The Mysteries of Laura doesn’t do…well, except that one episode but it wasn’t nearly as bad it could have been.
But yeah, the mysteries are ok.
The mysteries are ok but the cast is pretty darn interesting. Besides Laura, who’s down-to-earth-wackiness can be fun, there’s her charming-bordering-on-sleezy ex-husband Jake (though he looses most of the smarm after getting shot). There’s also Max, the preceinct’s uber-efficient intern (sort of…unofficially…it’s a budget thing), who is thankfully nuanced beyond just being gay—not that some of the common gay-behavior tropes aren’t used, but they’re not so bad as to make Max unwatchable, for which I’m thankful as he and Meredith get some of the best sarcastic lines (at least in my opinion).
It took some time, but Detective Meredith Bose did win me over. She seemed at first a stereotypical “tough girl” without further development. But it turns out that appearance was somewhat deliberate on Meredith’s part. Meredith values the professional respect of her colleagues and so hides the softer parts of her personality, as well as her geekness, which she revealed to Laura and Billy (another Detective, Laura’s partner and later Meredith’s) when a case needed someone good at video games (something about that being the only way to find a suspect, I think). Anyways, Meredith become more open over time as Laura and Billy are supportive. I also like that when she and Billy eventually fall for each other, Meredith doesn’t loose her badass-ness.
And later there’s Captain Santiani, a hard case with whom Laura initially butts heads but comes to respect, and who comes to respect Laura in turn, despite Laura’s unusual methods. Captain Santiani’s death in the last episodes of the second season doesn’t help me want to keep watching—I liked her.
3—Why I’m done
One of the things I initially liked about The Mysteries of Laura was that Laura was over her ex-husband and not interested in taking him back. When Jake finally started to move on himself, I was thrilled! Finally! Now let’s watch a story where two people are both moving on with their lives but still have to deal with each other all the time—they work together and they share kids. That’s something I haven’t seen yet and it’s a bountiful source of interpersonal drama, one that provides plenty of fun situations without resorting to contrivance.
It’s one thing when Laura realizes she likes but doesn’t love her boyfriend and so lets him go because he deserves better. I’ve seen that trope done, but ok, it’s in character for her and it’ll be interesting to see her work through her lingering feelings for Jake, and the realization there are still some lurking—they did share a life together, built a family. That’s a lot of weight to shift.
But oh, haha, no, let’s have her dramatically profess her love and want to take Jake back, except he’s just proposed to someone else he’s only just started a relationship with because he’s been shot and medical complications and Santiani’s death, and not wasting time/life and blahblahblah. Because of course you cannot possibly allow two main characters to actually get over each other! Never! Whatever would you do to keep viewers without that ever-revolving romantic door? Except, you know, tell a good story, because that just can’t be what people are watching for. Please excuse me while I go scream and foam at the mouth for a while.
Anyways. Another reason I fucking hate this shit is it demotes those other characters to nothing more than romantic false leads—it invalidates that whole relationship. Every interaction was meaningless because it was never going to be real, never had a chance to be real, and that character you got invested in? Yeah, they’re nothing but a cheap stumbling black tossed on the path of the REAL romance. Fuck that. Fuck everyone who writes that.
So yeah, I’m done. That moment just wrecked so much of the two seasons that went before it. And it’s not just me being down on romance (I like a romance done well). My mom decided to stop watching the show for the same reason, and she loves romance—hell, she’s writing one. I don’t think I’ll even be able to enjoy reruns, even if I stop before that whole damned last story arc—which includes even more stupidity than that romantic fiasco and Santiani’s murder. But it’s the romantic shit I can’t get past, because I know that revolving door will just keep on going, forever. Because it’s the same damned fucking thing everyone does.
I’m begging whoever it is that enforces this shit—STOP IT. Let other kinds of plots grow. Let the romance fucking die. Let people, main characters, get over each other and move on with their lives. Actually move on and actually fall in love with someone else, not this cheap false diversion thing yet again.
If anyone out there knows of a show or movie, or book series, or anything that lets the characters move on and fall out of love (without one turning evil or some ridiculous shit)…please let me know in the comments.