USA Network’s legal drama Fairly Legal stars the comely Sarah Shahi as Kate Reed, a San Francisco attorney who grows weary of the rigidity of the law and the court system. She therefore quits her legal practice to become a mediator. The plot lines jump back and forth between Reed’s cases, in which she attempts to resolve disputes in ways that leave all parties satisfied (or at least not aggrieved), and cases involving her colleagues and her husband, an assistant district attorney. Those tend to show how unwieldy, imprecise, and unjust our adversarial legal system can be.
The show in many ways is typical USA Network fare: glossy, fun, and made for the masses. But that’s part of its charm. It’s refreshing to find a show that can demonstrate to litigation-happy America that it’s possible, even desirable, to amicably resolve disputes without going to court. —Radley Balko