Kate Walsh Kate Walsh

An intelligent, hard-working and successful woman whose professional life is perfect, but whose personal life is, well, less so? Yes, Kate Walsh's new gig starring on NBC's Bad Judge may not sound like a huge stretch from her days on Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice as Dr. Addison Montgomery, but Judge Rebecca Wright makes Addison look like pretty tame.

"It's two different beasts," Walsh tells TVGuide.com. "I think Addison is probably more sophisticated for sure. [Rebecca]'s a little more edgy."

That's a serious understatement. In the new comedy, premiering Thursday at 9/8c, Walsh stars as Rebecca, who is a tough judge by day and a fun-loving party girl by night. "She's a mess but she's unapologetic. She's figuring out life as she goes along," Walsh says. "She's not looking to be a mom. She's not looking for a relationship. She's obsessed with her work. She's super proficient at it and super smart and everything else falls by the wayside. We get to see her stumble around and make mistakes."

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Although motherhood or romance don't particularly interest Rebecca, both seem to find her in unusual ways. For one, she happens to be hooking up with a frequent expert witness in her court, Dr. Gary Boyd (Ryan Hansen). Secondly, in the premiere episode, she finds herself an unexpected pseudo caretaker for an 8-year-old boy, Robby Shoemaker, whose parents she sent to jail. But they don't necessarily make a huge difference.

"As soon as I read the first page, I had a vision of how she's passed out on her bed. I was like, 'Oh, OK, I know exactly what I'd want to do with that," Walsh says. "I felt like I immediately knew who this girl or this woman is." 

And it's not just Rebecca's carefree, and sometimes reckless, personal life that makes Bad Judge great escapism from all those romantic and family comedies debuting this fall. "There's also a real fantasy element to it in the sense that she kind of dispenses vigilante justice," Walsh says. "I think it's really satisfying and funny for the audience to see, well, what would you do if you were a judge and you had that badge and you were in traffic and somebody's annoying you, what could you get away with? If you could dispense any kind of sentencing that you want, what would you do if you got creative?"

Bad Judge premieres Thursday at 9/8c on NBC.

(Reporting by Robyn Ross.)

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