Fairly Legal is a television series which ran on USA from January 20, 2011 to June 15, 2012. The series starred Sarah Shahi, Michael Trucco, Virginia Williams, Baron Vaughn, and Ryan Johnson. The USA Network canceled the show on November 1, 2012, after two seasons, due to low ratings.
Fairly Legal stars Sarah Shahi as Kate Reed, a young woman who changes her profession from lawyer to mediator and works at the San Francisco law firm her father started. As the series opens, Kate's father has just died, leaving his young widow Lauren in charge as Kate and the firm adjust to the loss.
Kate and Lauren, who are approximately the same age, generally engage in comical banter while attempting to work together, and the development of their relationship is a central focus of the series. According to Shahi, the characters "take a couple steps forward and then take gigantic leaps back." She has also stated that their history divides them at certain times, and bonds them at others. "At the end of the day, they would give the shirt off of their backs to help the other person, because they are family."
- Sarah Shahi as Kate Reed: a top lawyer at her father's firm who, after realizing her own ethical conflict with her profession, becomes an evaluative mediator.
- Michael Trucco as Justin Patrick: Kate's estranged, and later former, husband, Assistant District Attorney of San Francisco. They continue an on-off relationship. However, when Justin reveals he had an affair during their marriage, an angry Kate divorces him for good.
- Virginia Williams as Lauren Reed: Kate's new boss, and her stepmother. Kate assumes that Lauren's coldness following her husband's death is proof of heartlessness, but Lauren explains that she is simply doing what is necessary to keep the firm from disintegrating in his absence. When Kate mocks her ability to be the boss, Lauren reveals she was actually running the firm in the last few years of her husband's life. Kate doesn't believe it at first but Lauren does her best to keep the firm afloat after several of their clients go bankrupt.
- Ryan Johnson as Ben Grogan (season 2): Kate’s partner and nemesis at Reed & Reed; he is a former ambulance chaser who loves money and winning. Later he softens and begins to partner more with Kate. Recently became a love interest.
- Baron Vaughn as Leonardo "Leo" Prince: Kate's assistant. Enthusiastic, resourceful, and a passionate fantasy gamer. He has a knack for keeping the at-times flighty Kate out of trouble with clients and Lauren.
- Richard Dean Anderson as David Smith: a man with many secrets who enters Kate's life after the death of her father.
- Ethan Embry as Spencer: Kate's brother, who was formerly a lawyer at the family firm. Spencer is now a stay-at-home father while his husband Terry works.
- Gerald McRaney as Judge David Nicastro: a judge who dislikes Kate for her turning to mediation, but uses her to mediate some of his cases.
- Devon Weigel as Kim (season 1): a sandwich girl who works at Reed & Reed. She and Leonardo eventually begin dating.
Development and production
Fairly Legal first appeared on the development slate for USA Network in August 2009, under the working title Facing Kate. The series was created and written by Michael Sardo, who also serves as an executive producer. Casting announcements began in late October, when Sarah Shahi was cast in the main role of Kate Reed. Michael Trucco and Virginia Williams joined the cast in early November.
The 75-minute pilot episode was directed by Bronwen Hughes. The series was given the green-light for a first season on March 15, 2010, with an additional 11 episode order. Production began in June in Vancouver, Canada. In September, the total number of episodes was cut from twelve to ten due to scheduling issues.
On May 2, 2011, USA Network announced that Fairly Legal had been renewed for a second season of 13 episodes, which went into production later in 2011. On January 4, 2012, it was announced the second season of Fairly Legal would premiere on March 16, 2012. The series moved to Friday at 9:00 pm, paired with In Plain Sight.
The theme song, "The Yellow Brick Road Song", is performed by spoken word poet and musician Iyeoka Okoawo. Co-written by producer David Franz, it is the lead single from her album Say Yes.
Fairly Legal attracted 3.9 million viewers upon first airing, with approximately one-third of viewers being in the key 18–49 ratings demographic. The episode lost about 500,000 viewers from its lead-in, the mid-season debut of the medical drama Royal Pains.
Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Darren Franich noted the similarity in formula of Fairly Legal to other successful USA Network series and described the show as "a perfectly prefabricated USA treat". He lauded Shahi's performance as Kate, saying she "makes you believe that the woman is simultaneously an anxious wreck and a brilliant mediator", and applauded some of the "interesting chances" the creators took. However, he took the show to task for not utilizing its San Francisco setting as well as other USA series use their locales and chided Fairly Legal for not knowing "whether it wants to be a somber drama or a zippy legal quirkfest". Robert Bianco for USA Today concurred in the assessment of Shahi's performance, calling it "instantly likable", and described the series as "a well-constructed piece of popular entertainment from a dependable provider of the same, with an easy-to-like star and an easy-to-grasp premise". In a review of Season 2, Bruce Fretts of TV Guide commended Williams and applauded the relationship between Lauren and Kate, noting its effect on character development.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||# Ep.||Premiered||Ended||TV Season||Viewers|
|1||Thursday 10:00 pm||10||January 20, 2011||3.88||March 24, 2011||4.08||2011||4.58|
|2||Friday 9:00 pm||13||March 16, 2012||3.50||June 15, 2012||2.48||2012||TBA|
Universal Pictures UK will release Fairly Legal Season 1 on Region 2 DVD on January 31, 2013 .
|DVD Name||Ep#||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete First Season||10||June 5, 20121||July 24, 2012||N/A|
|The Complete Second and Final Season||13||N/A||N/A||N/A|
^1 The wide release for the Season 1 DVD occurred on June 5, 2012 . An early promotional release at Target stores occurred on March 13, 2012 .
- ^ a b Seidman, Robert (October 8, 2010). "'Fairly Legal' (fka 'Facing Kate') Premieres January 20; 'Royal Pains,' 'White Collar' Return". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/10/08/fairly-legal-fka-facing-kate-premieres-january-20-royal-pains-white-collar-return/67211. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (October 28, 2011). "Scoop: Meet Fairly Legal's New Legal Eagle". TV Line. http://www.tvline.com/2011/10/usa-network-fairly-legal-season-2-ryan-johnson/. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- ^ "Fairly Legal: Cancelled, No Season Three". TV Series Finale. November 1, 2012. http://www.tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/fairly-legal-cancelled-no-season-three-25377. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
- ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 1, 2012). "USA's 'Fairly Legal' Cancelled, 'Burn Notice' Nears 13-Episode Seventh-Season Renewal". Deadline Hollywood. http://www.deadline.com/2012/11/fairly-legal-cancelled-usa-network-burn-notice-pickup-near. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- ^ a b Fretts, Bruce (March 30, 2012). "Cheers & Jeers: 'Fairly Legal' — Yes, Virginia!". TV Guide. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Fairly-Legal-Virginia-Williams-1045450.aspx. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- ^ Vogt, Tiffany (March 16, 2012). "Sarah Shahi Previews a 'Fairly Legal' Second Season Chock Full of Surprises". TheTVAddict.com. http://www.thetvaddict.com/2012/03/16/sarah-shahi-previews-fairly-legal%E2%80%99s-surprising-second-season/. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- ^ a b Wightman, Catriona (June 21, 2010). "Richard Dean Anderson joins 'Facing Kate'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi. http://www.digitalspy.com/ustv/news/a230981/richard-dean-anderson-joins-facing-kate.html. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- ^ USA's "Facing Kate" Includes Gay Male Character
- ^ "USA Network Announces New Cast of Characters on Its Development Slate". The Futon Critic. August 5, 2009. http://www.digitalspy.com/ustv/news/a230981/richard-dean-anderson-joins-facing-kate.html. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- ^ Porter, Rick (October 22, 2009). "Casting call: Sebastian Roche stays on the 'Fringe,' Sarah Shahi is USA's 'Kate'". Zap2it. Tribune Media Services. http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2009/10/casting-call-sebastian-roche-stays-on-the-fringe-sarah-shahi-is-usas-kate.html. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- ^ Nguyen, Hahn (November 9, 2009). "'Battlestar's' Michael Trucco faces 'Kate,' 'Wizards' actress is 'Harriet the Spy'". Zap2it. Tribune Media Services. http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2009/11/battlestars-michael-trucco-faces-kate-wizards-actress-is-harriet-the-spy.html. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- ^ "Development Update: Monday, November 9". The Futon Critic. November 9, 2010. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2009/11/09/development-update-monday-november-9-33405/8378/. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- ^ Seidman, Robert (March 15, 2010). "USA Network Greenlights New Original Series "Facing Kate"". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/03/15/usa-network-greenlights-new-original-series-facing-kate/44951. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 14, 2010). "USA gives series order to 'Facing Kate'". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/usa-gives-series-order-facing-21617. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 1, 2010). "CABLE NOTES: 'Memphis Beat' Looks Good For Renewal, 'Army Wives' Spinoff A No-Go, 'Facing Kate' Order Trimmed". Deadline Hollywood. http://www.deadline.com/tag/usa-facing-kate. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- ^ Gorman, Bill. "Freshman Series 'Fairly Legal' Renewed By USA". TV By the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/05/02/freshman-series-fairly-legal-renewed-by-usa/91200. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
- ^ Gorman, Bill (January 4, 2012). "USA's Fairly Legal and In Plain Sight move to Fridays, Premiere March 16". TV By the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/01/04/usas-fairly-legal-in-plain-sight-move-to-fridays-premiere-march-16/115278. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- ^ "The Yellow Brick Road Song is USA Network show Fairly Legal’s theme song!". Iyeoka.com. January 20, 2011. http://www.iyeoka.com/2011/01/the-yellow-brick-road-song-is-usa-network-show-fairly-legals-theme-song/. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- ^ "Fairly Legal" has fairly decent debut
- ^ 'Fairly Legal' season premiere: Lawyers and cross-dressers and 'Wizard of Oz' references, oh my!
- ^ 'Fairly Legal' follows the USA formula, but the formula works
- ^ Gorman, Bill (January 21, 2011). "Thursday Cable Ratings: 'Jersey Shore' Keeps Rising; 'Royal Pains,' 'Fairly Legal' Premieres; 'Real Housewives' Finale & More". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/01/21/thursday-cable-ratings-jersey-shore-keeps-rising-royal-pains-fairly-legal-premieres-real-housewives-finale-more/79679. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- ^ Seidman, Robert (March 25, 2011). "Thursday Cable Ratings: "Jersey Shore" Finale Crushes the Field; "Fairly Legal" Steady in Finale; "Archer Up" + NCAA Hoops". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/03/25/thursday-cable-ratings-jersey-shore-finale-crushes-the-field-fairly-legal-steady-in-finale-archer-up-ncaa-hoops/87058. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
- ^ Seidman, Robert (December 12, 2011). "*Updated* USA Dominates Landscape with Unprecedented Six Straight Years as #1". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/12/12/usa-dominates-landscape-with-unprecedented-six-straight-years-as-1/113512/. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
- ^ Bibel, Sara (March 19, 2012). "Friday Cable Ratings: NCAA Basketball on TNT Wins the Night, 'Bering Sea Gold', 'In Plain Sight' And More". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/03/19/friday-cable-ratings-ncaa-basketball-on-tnt-wins-the-night-bering-sea-gold-in-plain-sight-and-more/125004/. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
- ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (June 18, 2012). "Friday Cable Ratings: 'Let it Shine' Premiere + US Open, 'WWE Friday Night Smackdown', 'Common Law', 'Fairly Legal', & More - Ratings". TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/06/18/friday-cable-ratings-let-it-shine-premiere-us-open-wwe-friday-night-smackdown-common-law-fairly-legal-more/138479/. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- ^ a b "Facing Kate - Season 1" (in French). Amazon FR. http://www.amazon.fr/Facing-Kate-Saison-Sarah-Shahi/dp/B007RQ3W2S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349175210&sr=8-1. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- ^ Lambert, David (April 2, 2012). "Fairly Legal - The Recent USA Network Series is Ordered for Release on DVD". TVShowsOnDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Fairly-Legal-Season-1/16752. Retrieved April 14, 2012.