Fairly Legal adds ‘potential hot romance’ to season

Posted: March 15, 2012 at 3:55 a.m.

— I asked someone whose taste is impeccable what she thought about USA’s drama Fairly Legal. The answer was sort of a grunt.

Asked to expound, she said she really tried to like the series until it became evident that the show was all about how sexy Sarah Shahi looked in her little red dresses.

Shahi is the comely star of the series that returns for Season 2 at 8 p.m. Friday.

This being television, attractive size 2 actresses are a dime a dozen. Maybe even a nickel. And hunky leading men are equally plentiful. What makes a series worthwhile is if it has some substance to go along with the style.

The jury is still out on Fairly Legal, where Shahi portrays feisty mediator Kate Reed.

Kate, “driven by her passion for justice,” will continue to crusade against the soulless bureaucracy and daily injustice of “the system.” Kate uses unorthodox methods, an in-your-face attitude and a savvy knowledge of the legal system to resolve conflicts that appear to be hopelessly deadlocked.

She’s really good at it. Whether it’s handling multimillion-dollar corporate disputes or personal family feuds, Kate has an uncanny ability to bring both sides together.

On the plus side, the series is not just another police procedural where Shahi plays a hot detective in inappropriate footwear and plunging necklines. Those are two of my pet viewing peeves.

On the negative side, the series will have to allow the character to show more depth than the first season offered.

At this stage, the writers have attempted to provide more depth by adding new conflict (“and potential hot romance”) for Kate in the form of up-and-coming trial lawyer Ben Grogan, played by new series regular Ryan Johnson.

Grogan is hired by Kate’s firm’s managing partner Lauren Reed (Virginia Williams)to save the cash-strapped firm.

Grogan’s presence in the office adds tension with Kate’s same-age stepmother and additional pressure between Kate and her almostex-husband, Justin Patrick (Michael Trucco).

True, the slick Grogan represents everything that Kate hates about lawyers, but there’s lots of sexual tension anyway.

Checklist: Shahi looks hotin her outfits; Johnson looks hunky in his lawyer suits.

Does all that work for you? If not, there’s always the final season of In Plain Sight that debuts immediately following at 9 p.m.

In Plain Sight. This will be the fifth and final season of In Plain Sight starring Mary McCormack as Mary Shannon, a U.S. marshal working in the hush-hush, super secret Witness Protection Program (WITSEC).

Kudos to USA for giving us another strong woman in a man’s world and allowing McCormack to play one of the most engaging and multifaceted characters around.

An added plus is that Mc-Cormack is no size 2 and (appropriately) her character cares little about being fashionable. She’s all about her job, which she loves.

Now there’s a complication - her baby.

In Plain Sight is a superior character-driven drama with plenty of episodic adventures to keep action fans satisfied.

AETN live

  1. It must be pledge time because travel expert Rick Steves is scheduled for a live visit to the AETN studios at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Steves, whose columnruns in the Democrat-Gazette’s Sunday Travel section, will give tips for his style of European travel and host three episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe.

On the schedule are “Dubrovnik and Balkan Side-Trips,” “Norway’s West: Fjords, Mountains and Bergen” and “Galicia and the Camino de Santiago.”

More singing.

First Fox brought us American Idol. Then NBC hopped on thebandwagon with The Voice. Then Fox tried to imitate itself with The X-Factor. Now ABC has finally announced it’s getting in on the action.

Coming this summer will be Duets, a singing competition that will feature four professional singers crooning with amateurs discovered out there in the vast karaoke bar that is America.

The four mentor/judges are American Idol first-season winner Kelly Clarkson; Motown star Lionel Richie; Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles; and R&B singer Robin Thicke.

First, the four will scour the country to find a pool of singers to be their duet partners. Once it’s finally culled to two rookies each, the finalists will perform with the pros in live telecasts.

The rookie winner gets a record deal.

Are you tired of the singing shows yet? Idol is still pulling down 19 million viewers each week and The Voice is attracting 15 million. Is there room for one more during the summer? We’ll see.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. E-mail:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 30 on 03/15/2012