• Network: USA
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 20, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 28
  2. Negative: 5 out of 28

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  1. Mar 22, 2011
    It's important to note that if you have any involvement in the mediation community you're likely to get upset by this show. Many of the stunts that Kate Reed (Sara Shahi) pulls are very questionable in their legality, and pretty much all of them are completely inappropriate for someone acting as a mediator. I realize the same thing could be said about any number of other shows out there, but those shows typically thrive off of a likable character, compelling plot line, or by embracing their own unbelievable nature and going for the comedic approach. Fairly Legal doesn't have any of these. It's not funny enough to be a comedy, and it's certainly not serious enough to draw you in.

    Perhaps if Shahi's character was more likable it would be one thing, but after about five minutes her personality began to grate on me. She states multiple times how great a mediator she is, but when she actually gets down to it she looks like someone just explained the concept to her five minutes before. It's not all Shahi's fault though, the writing just falls flat and seems to go for contrived drama rather than anything believable.

    I understand that portraying a mediator who follows the rules all the time may not bring in the highest ratings, but Kate Reed's take on mediation is like watching a three year old try to bargain with her mother to stay up later. Splice that in with shots of Reed looking confused about why her far from impartial methods aren't working, and that pretty much sums up the legal portion of the show.

    I'm giving the show two points for at the very least advocating mediation over litigation, but it utterly fails in it's attempt to communicate the process. There's nothing to learn from an educational standpoint. In the end it's just another show about a woman sleeping around with her ex and acting **** about a job that she's not even that good at anyways. The fact that they bring up the word "mediation" every now and then is just used as a failed gimmick to try and separate this from all the other bad legal drama clones.
  2. Mar 22, 2011
    "the law, the law, the law" has got to be the most annoying character tagline ever chosen for series advertising, but that is also USA's not so clever way of reminding me that I didn't like this show, and why...

    The series premiere was both the high point and the start of the end for this sow's ear which has managed to fail miserably to be sewn into anything remotely resembling a silk
    purse. It's sole remaining goal is likely to be reaching the bottom. With that in mind, here's my tagline for the future of this show: "Dive, dive, dive!" (the best ratings are at the bottom....really, they are...would I lie to you, USA?) Expand

Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jan 20, 2011
    [Sarah Shahi] plays this lead role with assurance and aplomb, elevating the entire enterprise in the process.
  2. Reviewed by: Aaron Barnhart
    Jan 20, 2011
    It's a bright, fun little show, adhering to the formula that has worked for so many other light dramas on USA: tight writing, a little romance, whirly movement.
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 20, 2011
    Over the three episodes USA sent out for review (the pilot, a mid-season episode, and the first season finale), what Kate does only occasionally matches up with the judge's speech, and none of her cases are interesting enough to distinguish Fairly Legal from the abundance of law shows on TV.