The gorgeous Persian bombshell plays sexy lawyer-turned-mediator who lives on a boat (and has a wardrobe we wouldn’t mind borrowing from), Kate Reed.
Sarah’s facial expressions and believable nuances only add to her performance as the lovable and spontaneous Kate; her comedic-timing seems so effortless in this role, it’s genius.
Kate battles with her step-mom, Lauren–who now runs Reed & Reed, Kate’s recently-deceased father’s law firm–constantly, and fights an obvious lingering connection with her District Attorney ex-husband, yet the utterly complex mediator resolves conflicts for a living. And in her personal life, for the most part, she does the same.
Kate is a super-smart and beautiful woman, that will ultimately leave you wanting more.
“She’s incredibly feisty, flirty, and she gets herself into trouble,” Sarah Shahi tells us of Kate. “She’s the kind of person who leads with her heart…and sometimes her brain follows, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Shahi who admires her character’s “conviction, passion, and courage,” says she can even see herself being friends with Kate in real life, except: “I just don’t think I’d be cool enough to be friends with her…I want her closet more than anything.”
So, does Sarah have anything in common with her character, Kate?
“I can relate to her hectic schedule because I’m a working mother, so there’s not much down time in my personal life. And you know, I hate to say it, but sometimes I run by my own clock, during my own time, which is not good…But that’s just the reality of the situation when you have a baby that won’t let you leave the house, and it breaks your heart to be away from him. So I get out the house a little later than I would like to.”
Does Sarah have a “Leo” in her life that anticipates her needs before she does (like Kate’s uber-assistant, Leo, does) and makes sure everything is taken care of?
“In my life, I am the Leo,” she says. “I’m the Leo and the Kate, and I think those are roles women naturally gravitate to: I am in charge of the house.”
Will viewers see Kate and Justin get back together this season?
“I don’t know if they’re going to get back together. They definitely have a lot of electricity, but they also have a lot of problems. They view the world completely differently and I don’t know of that’s something they can get over or not. For season one I think Kate has her hands full between Lauren and Justin. You see her flirt with the guy on the boat a little bit, Andrew, but as for anything that would be real and super-challenging to Justin…we may not see that happen until season two. The great thing is the chemistry between all of us has come very naturally, we feel like we’ve known each other for a very long time, we love each other that much and we also get annoyed with each other that much. It’s very easy.”
Although with her fresh-faced look we bet Shahi would be quite the lethal lawyer, she says it’s not a profession she would have chosen “at all” if she hadn’t become an actress.
“Kate listens to people, I could not sit there and listen to people that long.” Shahi quips.
Mediator is another title however, as Shahi explains to us, it’s something she’s been doing her “whole life.”
“I’ve been that person that people have dumped their problems on–I don’t know why, maybe it’s [because I’m] the middle child, or maybe it’s being a Capricorn, I have no idea but I’ve always been in that situation. It’s something that I’ve pretty much done my whole life, whether it was between my mom and my dad, or my family or my friends, I’ve always sort of been the person to help people figure out what the next step would be.”
How did the petite beauty balance mommy-hood and work?
“It was incredibly hard. I would work starting at 6 o’ clock in the morning M-F and would not get home until after my son was fed. He would come visit me for about 40 minutes during lunch everyday, and come Saturday and Sunday, I would send the nanny home, and I would wake up with the baby…and babies don’t sleep in. It was tough but I love acting and I’m a working mom, and I had a working mom, and it’s important to teach your kids that it’s good to do what you love.”
Ahead for Kate this season?
“More of the usual basically, situations where peole are lost in conflict and she’s got to do whatever it takes to break them out of it. There is some Lauren and Kate drama coming up: At one point Kate’s world does come crashing down on her–Kate and Lauren end up working on something together, but that doesn’t last too long. Lauren does something pretty outrageous at the end of the season. And Justin and Kate will continue their romantic or un-romantic tryst, and Leo will serve as Kate’s constant center as she tries to figure things.”
While at home the sometimes-Persian-speaking actress admits she hasn’t been teaching her baby much of the language, but her mom helps her out. “My mom [teaches] him a little bit. She speaks with him, she’ll say words to him like “gorossneh hasti” (Persian: are you hungry) “chee meekhaie” (Persian: what do you want), or she’ll ask him “een cheeyeh” (Persian: what is this).”
And although she says she cooks Persian food in her “dreams”, she does have her favorites: “I have a few, I love lubia polo and baghaali polo. I live for baaghaali polo…and my husband is crazy about ghormeh sabzi and tahdeeg.”
We may be biased, but we can’t decide if it’s her mesmerizing good looks and acting ability, or her innate Persian-derived gift for chooneh-zadan (modern Persian slang: haggling) that’s makes her negotiating techniques seems so potent. (Probably the former.)
Overall, Fairly Legal is a fun show to watch that offers it all: great acting, excitement, suspense, and edge. The show is another early hot for USA that follows in the footsteps of the network’s attention to quality cinematography; it’s shot with good framing and made with lots of well-executed current digital film trends.
Click here to watch the first episode online.