Last week's Fairly Legal was another so-so episode in my book, so I was curious to see if the show would rebound this week. One way to do that is to open the episode with the always amazing Michael Trucco. Justin's being called in on his off Sunday, which he'd hoped to be spending with Kate, who's been roped into a case between a TV chef named Bo (Warehouse 13's Eddie McClintock) and the company manufacturing his barbecue sauce. Great, five minutes in and I'm feeling a Famous Dave's craving coming on.
Bringing the two arguing parties together, Kate gets them talking and seems to iron out a quick settlement that simply involves changing the label on the barbecue sauce bottles, but we all know it can't be that easy or this would be an awfully short episode. That's when a new party turns up: the real Bo, whose actual name is Frank (Chris Ellis, of every show ever), the father of fake Bo's producer Beth, and the man whose recipe has been bogarted. Sensing daddy issues, Kate presses Beth for answers, and she opens up about her father's alcoholism and spousal abuse...just before he walks into Kate's office. The situation quickly turns so ugly that Kate feels the need to pull a gun (okay, gun-looking paperweight) to break it up. Angry Dad confronts Kate as she leaves the office, and it's obvious that there's going to be a smackdown. With Kate's help, the use of a wire, and the involvement of the cops, Beth finds a spine and Frank gets what he deserves. It's a predictable plot, but the payoff is still worthwhile. (Plus, I can't argue with anything that involves something being set on fire.)
As for Justin, he has to deal with a guy who got drunk and scared the heck out of his neighbor when he broke into her house. In a meeting, he tells the restless perp to "sit your ass down" and I love Trucco even more, for the line delivery and for the perfect glare on his face. Again, it can't be that simple. Justin's boss pushes him to upgrade the misdemeanor charge to a felony, and even for someone as hard-line as Justin, that doesn't sit right. He tries to talk to the neighbor, but she's overly reactionary and not any help. He quickly realizes that his boss must have a personal stake in the case, and tells his boss where to shove it. It's the most satisfying conclusion in the episode, at least for me, and I put that squarely on the shoulders of Michael Trucco, who knows how to wield a few well-placed words.
Lauren (wearing the biggest necklace ever) continues trying to handle her late husband's affairs, but runs into more trouble when she meets a client named Lou Fisher who chokes on his drink when she tells him that she'll be taking over Teddy's accounts, and then promptly fires her. Thanks to the help of some scotch, when he says he won't deal with a "girl lawyer," she gives him an inebriated talking-to. I have to feel for the woman, as I've been in her position, but this isn't the first time Fairly Legal has brought up this issue; I think they covered this ground well enough in "Priceless." Of the three plotlines, I'd call this the least satisfying, if only because someone getting told off is not as emphatic when the person doing it is slurring their words.
I have to say that I'd consider this episode of Fairly Legal an improvement over last week's, because there's more emotional weight to the story; both Kate and Justin have to wrestle with the difference between their personal beliefs and their jobs, which is territory I think we can all agree with. We see where the people who'd legally be considered victims (the swindled dad, the frightened neighbor) are actually more antagonists in their own right. However, where the show loses me is in showing that point; those two characters are meant to be disliked, but they're so hateable that they're almost one-dimensional. That aside, it's both fun and satisfying to see Kate, Justin and Lauren all score moral victories this week; it's always rewarding to see the good guys win, even if the opposition isn't sharp. Fairly Legal likewise is still making strides of improvement, but it is certainly charming.
For more Fairly Legal, check out the show category at my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.