Warning: This is an advance review. Please don’t read it if you don’t want to know what happens in the episode.
USAs’ foxy mediator, Kate Reed, is back for her second season, and I’m happy to report that despite some retooling, the heart of Fairly Legal, series lead Sarah Shahi, is very much intact. We begin with Kate unemployed and unattached when she “meets cute” in a bar Ben Grogan (new series regular Ryan Johnson, who buries his Australian accent for the role), a fella whose name she doesn’t catch but who pretty quickly becomes integral to her career.
Kate is on the rails about her pending divorce and proposes a reconciliation with Justin (Michael Trucco), who is warm to the idea but in his idealistic haze about second chances, puts something on the table way too late and Kate is devastated. It also times out with the heroic way he handles an attempted robbery and the douche way his boss, the DA, manipulates it, pushing him to announce his own candidacy for a seat at the big boy’s table.
Kate returns to work, initially to fetch her stuff and then when the economy comes into play and Lauren admits the company is sinking fast, she one ups Lauren with the news that her brother signed his shares in the firm over to her and she’s now Lauren’s equal partner, and sheâ€™s returning to work. And she reclaims Leonardo.
Before the end of the first hour, her home life also takes an unexpected (except not) turn that’s really the last thing she needs on her plate.
Except for Ethan Embry, the season one cast is still intact, and for that, I’m glad. When shows get â€œconditionalâ€ renewals based on a reworking, it makes me a little twitchy. The show still rests squarely on Shahi and she loses none of her charm even as Kate is really, really pressed to the wall. The show is also still shooting in Vancouver, which equals tons of guest star goodness.
It’ll be an interesting dynamic to see what happens with Ben (giving off a James Roday vibe), who has to get past finding Kate a hot mystery woman one minute and a potential foil the next. When he realizes who she actually is, his proclamation about fate, and Kate’s response, are hysterical.
Friday is a new night for the show. Here’s hoping audiences welcome its return. A mini-marathon starts on USA at 8 am/7c Friday morning and the second season premiere, “Satisfaction,â€ with guesters Michael Hogan from BSG and ERâ€™s John Aylward, airs Friday at 9 pm/8c and repeats at 12 am/11c.
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