CBSN

Debra Messing on "Mysteries of Laura," "Will and Grace" and single motherhood

It's been nearly 10 years since Debra Messing played Grace on "Will and Grace," and now, the actress is playing a character who couldn't be farther away from interior designer Grace Adler. On "The Mysteries of Laura," Messing portrays NYPD homicide detective Laura Diamond -- a savvy cop who has to work with her ex-husband and take care of her twin sons.

We talked to Messing about what we can expect in season 2, which premieres at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on NBC, her love for New York, "Will and Grace" and what it's like to play a busy single mom when you're a -- you guessed it -- busy single mom.

You're not so unlike Laura yourself -- you have a thriving career, but you're also a busy mom. How much of yourself do you bring to your character?

I guess a lot. It's a very hard juggling act, to be a single mom -- a working mom. That's my situation in my real life, so it's constantly trying to keep things balanced and trying to be the best employee you can be when you can and the best mom when you can. That's what I key into and bring to the character.

What can you tell us about the upcoming season of "The Mysteries of Laura"?

There's been a big shift in the precinct since Jake, my ex's, accident or shooting. He had to step down from being the captain while he was healing and a new captain came in. Jake becomes my partner in the field, so instead of him being my boss, we're now equal. We're still co-parenting, but trying to get bad guys and have each other's back. I think there's a lot more fun to be had with those two characters.

The show is set in New York, and it seems like you really enjoy shooting in the city -- you're in Brooklyn a lot, too. What do you like about working in New York?

I love that you can go into one neighborhood and one particular culture will be really, really vibrant and obvious and you go four blocks down the street and there's a new culture that's vibrant. We don't go just to Brooklyn; we're in Queens, the Bronx, Long Island -- we've had a really great tour of the city and I love that.

Do you have any favorite spots you've discovered through the show?

We were just in Bushwick last week and it has the most beautiful graffiti everywhere. I know it's not something people usually want in their lives, but the vibrant colors on all the walls -- it just felt like I was surrounded by art and I really loved that.

Your show takes you out in the field a lot and you suffer from allergies. Can you tell me more on how you get through your day?

I have suffered my entire life from very severe allergies and it's really interfered with my ability to just go out in nature and it's also affected my work. A couple of years ago I tried Zyrtec and it was finally the answer for me. Now I take one every day and it works for 24 hours and I don't have to worry about it. [Messing is now a spokesperson for Zyrtec, too]

You were on one of the most beloved sitcoms ever with "Will and Grace," and we saw Eric McCormack again on "Mysteries of Laura." Do you keep in touch with most of your castmates? I know you just said you'd like to see Megan Mullally on the show.

Everyone is so busy. Megan has a new TV show and she has a band that she toured all over the world and she has a show she does with her husband, so I can't imagine there would be time. It would be a dream come true for me to have her there and act together again.

I saw her in New York -- she and her husband did an off-Broadway play and they were incredible. Seeing her in person for the first time in years really was amazing. We're all always checking in on each other and know what's going on with each other.

You admitted recently that being a working mom doesn't leave you much time to exercise. How do you stay in such great shape?

I did a major change in my eating -- eating very, very clean, organic and no sugar, no dairy, no fried foods, no coffee, no alcohol -- and the difference has been remarkable for me. I think that if I hadn't changed my eating habits, I don't think I'd be able to do this job right now.

  • Andrea Park On Twitter»

    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com