Third-episode verdict: Fairly Legal

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 4

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, USA Network. Starts January 20th

Three episodes into "lawyer turns negotiator and lives on a houseboat" drama, Fairly Legal (I know there have been four now, but I’m playing catch-up), and the problems that were obvious in the pilot are still obvious now: this is a boring show, filled with largely uninteresting characters – with the exception of Sarah Shahi who’s overdosed on kooky.

Episode two, it has to be said, was marginally better than the first episode, since rather than the overblown implausibilities designed to fool us into thinking this might actually be an interesting show that the first episode hurled at us, this episode focused on some more plausible negotiations while giving us a sub-plot about the reading of Shahi’s father’s will. This left us on a cliffhanger… that was completely ignored in the next episode.

In fact, episode three went back to mine the silly of the first episode, while Shahi’s character continues to be kooky in a way the writers probably think is endearing – and fulfils USA Network’s "characters" remit – but which is actually intensely irritating.

So it’s time to leave Fairly Legal. This is average, mundane drama at best, with nothing to commend it beyond Shahi, who does what she can with the scripts. Fingers crossed she’ll end up on something better afterwards.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob’s prediction: Will last to the end of the season but won’t be renewed


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.