I thoroughly enjoyed this show. This is my first USA show (ducking while people are throwing things at me) and it did not disappoint. I am a sucker for a good legal show and I like the twist on it with the lead being a mediator and former lawyer who works for her father’s firm which is now being run by Margaret Hamilton, I mean the woman who is the wife of her recently deceased father.
The show is pretty straight forward. It centers around Kate Reed (played by Sarah Shahi) who is a former lawyer turned mediator and whose father has recently passed away. She is working at his firm and her stepmother, Lauren (played by Virginia Williams) is now running the firm. They don’t seem to like each other on the surface but it’s the pilot so I’m sure more will come out about their relationship and will slowly evolve over time. Kate looks to be sleeping with Justin (played by Michael Trucco) who is an ADA (Assistant District Attorney) and also Kate’s ex-husband. Since the show opens with them in bed and ends with some very nice words exchanged, they seem to be on good terms with each other. Her brother Spencer (played by Ethan Embry) is also an attorney but seems to be a stay-at-home dad and doesn’t appear to work at their father’s firm. Leo (played by Baron Vaughn) is Kate’s assistant and friend. Finally there is the mysterious Andrew (played by Tim Fellingham) who is Kate’s neighbor (she lives on her dad’s boat in the marina) and potential suitor, maybe? We’ll see.
Most of the episode is Kate running around like a chicken with her head cut off going from case to case. One case is court appointed, one case is Lauren appointed, and one case she is just sticking her nose in. But even as crazy as she comes off in the episode, I never feel like she is out of control. She appears sporadic and bemused but she is smart, passionate, savvy and completely aware of her clients’ situations and how to handle them. I would think as a mediator, it’s easy to come across as a know-it-all or condescending. Kate is neither. She exudes calmness and thoughtfulness and she truly wants to get to the heart of what is concerning her clients and what is causing them to be at odds. She also has a great sense of humor. In one of the opening scenes, she goes to get a cookie and some coffee and the store is being robbed at gun point. She starts to talk to the gunman and store owner to see if they can come to a compromise. Normally this would come across as preposterous but Sarah Shahi pulls it off very convincingly. Turns out the gunman wants money for beer and beef jerky and wouldn’t you know it, the store he is robbing has both. So Kate asks what his cost is on a case of beer and beef jerky and the owner says $17.50. “$17.50? Really? Who’s robbing who here?” Kate asks. But the owner agrees to give the guy $50 worth of beer and jerky and it will only cost the owner $17.50. My real job is in alcohol beverage industry and I have to say, if that truly is his mark up, he is robbing people. Wow!!!! Kate instantly comes off as someone you can root for, which I prefer in a lead protagonist role for my enjoyment.
As for the rest of the cast, they were very likable as well. I am most curious about Lauren at this point. It’s easy to assume she would be the bitchy trophy wife but she appears to have a genuine interest in keeping afloat her late husband’s firm (it is losing clients left and right and she is working hard to retain them.) You also see a solid side to her when she has a drinks with a client she is trying to retain. When he does agree to give her his business and she promises to go the extra mile to keep him happy, he immediately slides his room key over to her side of the table. “What is that” she asks and the dirt bag says “the extra mile.” Oh Lord please tell me people don’t say things that cheesy or nasty! She politely declines but thanks him once again for his business. As she leaves, he shouts “what am I too young for you Lauren? Should I call my father for you?” What an asshole. The look on her face made me want to jump through the TV set and give her a hug and him a swift kick in the groin. I am also very interested to see how her relationship with Kate will possibly change over time as these two will need to work together to save the firm of the man they both love and respect.
Fairly Legal is on Thursdays at 10pm on USA. I highly suggest you check this show out because it’s a keeper!