TV Series Review
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. When she was a wildly successful patent attorney, Harriet Korn knew something about inventions. And after her firm unceremoniously gave her the heave-ho, she learned quite a bit about necessity. So what was this poor, cast-to-the-street attorney to do but reinvent herself?
Step right into Cincinnati's newest business, Harriet's Law and Fine Shoes, where customers can sue their drycleaners and get a pretty pair of pumps in one convenient stop.
In truth, Harriet doesn't have much to do with the shoe side of the business. She leaves that to her attractive (slightly grating) assistant, Jenna. Harriet (or Harry, as she's known) is far more interested in helping clients solve their troublesome, often eccentric legal dilemmas—work worlds away from the patent particulars she plodded through before. She and Adam, her partner in crime, as it were, specialize in drop-ins, sometimes literally: Harry's very first case was to help a suicidal drug abuser expunge the "third strike" from his rap sheet—a case she took after the guy jumped off a building and accidentally landed on her.
Now the reformed druggie works for Harry, putting his heart and soles into shuffling shoes and becoming a paralegal. (Malcolm's taken a fancy to Jenna, too, of course.)
Harry's Law is a wacky bit of work at times. But that doesn't mean it shies away from heavier fare: Adam's girlfriend, Chunhua Lao, is nearly raped in one episode. Office relationships can take maudlin turns. And some distinctly serious problems—suicide, drug use, spousal abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, for starters—are often used to solicit laughs. While the show may not purposefully try to minimize those issues, it sometimes has difficulty walking the line between examining societal problems with a smile and turning them into a farce.
Like many episodic cop and legal programs, Harry's Law can either feel remarkably clean or disturbingly salacious, depending on what plot points are in play. One episode may spotlight a comical confrontation between neighbors, while another delves into a sordid sexual crime. Infidelity and divorce seem to be storyline staples. And since Harry and Adam are often asked to file divorce papers and protect prenuptial agreements, the dissolution of marriage is treated as more of a business transaction than a personal tragedy.
But the sexuality, while much talked about at times, is rarely shown. Moreover, the show steers clear of the heavy profanity so in vogue around it, and rarely does it peddle explicit violence or gore. That makes it feel like a throwback to 1980s television, or a program that'd snugly fit on USA's lightweight and quirky block of cop-and-court shows.
Much is made of the hardscrabble neighborhood in which Harriet's Law and Fine Shoes is located. Harry even hires a local anti-thug (Damien Winslow, CEO of Damien Protection I.N.C.) to protect her joint. But despite the neighborhood's wacky residents and serious issues, she grows to like it there. "It's in my blood now," she says. Much the same could be said of Harry's Law. It's far from the nicest place on the block … but compared to some of its neighbors, it's not too bad. Its content is more implicit than explicit, and while I wouldn't necessarily spend a lot of time shopping there, it's nice to know the place at least tries to keep content at heel.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn; Nathan Corddry as Adam Branch; Brittany Snow as Jenna Backstrom; Aml Ameen as Malcolm Davies