EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Shahi on her 'Fairly Legal' Character: "She's a Perfect Mess"

Sarah Shahi stars as a mediator with a messy personal life in the new USA Network series, Fairly Legal. The gorgeous 31-year-old actress (who is part Spanish and part Iranian) spoke to Latina.com about her new hit show, what attracted her to the role of Kate Reed, and why Fairly Legal isn't your typical law show. 

Tell us about your character, Kate.
She’s a girl who quits {her job} as a lawyer because she feels too much. The law is so black and white and so by the book and she’s someone who saw so much grey—so much that was in the middle—she couldn’t close her eyes to it because her heart is so big. She decides that she doesn’t want to be part of that system—she wants to be her own system, and so she goes through some very unconventional ways to solve her cases. Meanwhile, she’s got a boss that’s her stepmother and she hates her. She’s got a soon-to-be ex-husband that is on the opposite side of the law—basically her nemesis—and the only place they agree is underneath the sheets. She fixes everyone else’s problems except her own.

What attracted you to this role?
She’s kind of a perfect mess. She fixes everyone else’s problems but her own. That’s really what attracted to me to want to be her—it was her flaws, her lack of ability to confront her step-mom and her dad’s death and her relationship with her soon to be ex. I felt those were all things that people could relate to because it’s real.

In what ways can you relate to Kate?
We’re both very feisty people—and I mean that in a good and bad way. We both have the ability to get ourselves in trouble by the things that we say and how we act. We’re both very flirty and vivacious people, but there are also a lot of ways in which we’re different. Emotionally Kate is a five-year-old and I’m a married woman with a child—there’s no room for me to be emotionally immature in my life.

How is your show different from other law shows on TV?
It’s not your typical law show. There’s a lot more flirty-ness and feisty—ness than there is law in the show. When Kate goes to work, she is bubbly—she’s not all business. I always like to say that the show is Sex and the City meets Law & Order—with a lot more sex. It’s like a romantic comedy movie—it’s not a law show by any means. Her being a mediator and working at an office is just one of the ways in which we tell the story—but it’s not the heart of the show at all.

Which Sex and the City character is Kate the most like?
Carrie Bradshaw. If Carrie Bradshaw and Sandra Bullock had a baby—it would be her.

Can you give us any spoilers on what’s coming up in the next few episodes?
Yes. Kate and Justin (Michael Trucco) are going to continue their will they or won't they relationship—will they get together or will they get the divorce? Kate’s world comes crashing down at one point and Lauren (Virginia Williams), Kate and someone else might be in this sort of triangular love relationship.

Critics are raving about your performance. How does the recognition make you feel?
Oh my God, it feels amazing! I’ve actually gone through several stages of it—at first, I couldn’t believe it and then I felt like, ‘OK, well there’s got to be a bad review because this is too good to be true,’ and now I’m back to going, ‘you know what, I worked my ass off so I deserve it and I really do hope people like it as much as they say they do.

Is this the best role you’ve ever had?
For now? Yes!