Fairly Legal

USA Network has put forward it’s newest series, a take on the standard legal dramas. If I’m completely honest, I am, for the most part, sick of legal dramas. I couldn’t even finish the premiere of Harry’s Law. But I decided to check this show out anyway. I’m glad I did.

Sarah Shahi stars as Kate Reed, a one-time attorney who quit practicing law in favor of being a mediator for the law firm her father started. She’s also dealing with the death of her father and the stepmother she hates as her boss. In the first episode we see her mediate a pharmacy hold up (the robber left everyone unharmed in exchange for a case of beer and slim jims), a couple suing the people who ruined their wedding proposal (it turned out they were mad at each other not the people they had hired), and the move for a company to pass ownership from a father to his son (by making sure the father was still involved and leaving a legacy while showing his son trust). She also saved a kid from a prison sentence that would have ruined his future, dealt with her ex (also a lawyer), and got thrown into jail for contempt because she was four minutes late to a court appointment for a judge who hates her. Oh, and in addition to her disgust for her mother, her father issues, and her issues with the legal system, she also has a crush on her super geeky co-worker who seems to have a crush on her while being oblivious to her feelings.

Shahi is so likable (she reminds me of a darker look Jamie Rae Newman) that she carries the show completely. She’s a principled, a brilliant mediator with a quirky sense of humor and an inability to be on time.

Part of what sets this show apart from the standard legal show is the pace. It’s fast paced and funny. Reed has on odd love for the Wizard of Oz and she therefore has everyone programmed into her phone as a character from the movie. (We can all guess who her stepmother is…) But it’s also sweet and touching (she calls her dad’s cell number just so she can listen to the voicemail to hear his voice). EW complained about the variety of tones through the show, but I don’t have a problem with that. Look at How I Met Your Mother has dealt with the death of Marshal’s dad. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with handling serious subject matter while also being light and funny. In fact, I like it better this way because life isn’t one or the other.

For me I will definitely be watching. USA Network has really been doing a good job with its new shows (White Collar, Burn Notice, and Royal Pains) and I think this show could join them in success.