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USA's 'Suits' Excels At Character & Procedural Drama


Last weekend, one of my favorite people suggested that I marathon the show Suits when I had some free time. She sent me a link to a You Tube video that someone had made with various clips from the show and in the minute and 30 seconds it took to watch that video, I was hooked.

Suits centers on Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a hotshot lawyer who specializes in closings. When the case is on the line, Harvey is the guy who gets called in to finalize the deal. He’s the best and he knows it. Macht wears Harvey’s cockiness on the sleeve of his thousand dollar suit and people love him or hate him for it, depending on which side of the case they were on. In the pilot, Harvey was promoted to senior partner in the firm, which meant that he needed to hire his own associate. That’s where Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) comes into the mix.

Mike is a smart guy who has made a lot of really bad choices. He gets paid to take the bar exam for other people because he can absorb and understand anything once he reads it. His best friend, Trevor, who is the worst ever, got Mike into a bad situation and he was nearly busted with a briefcase of marijuana that he was supposed to sell to some undercover cops. As he’s running from the police, he stumbles on Harvey’s interview session and poses as a Harvard graduate to hide from the cops. He drops the suitcase and the marijuana falls at Harvey’s feet. It was hilarious and awkward at the same time.

But then Mike impressed Harvey with his law knowledge and Harvey decided to give him a chance and hired him as his associate, even though he doesn’t have a law degree or a college education for that matter. The only other person in the know at first is Donna, Harvey’s fantastic assistant, played by Sarah Rafferty. Donna has worked for Harvey for years and she has a (hilarious) habit of listening in on all his private office conversations, which is how she found out that Mike was a fraud.

Macht and Adams have incredible chemistry as the mentor and the mentee working together and learning from each other as they go. Mike tends to be a bit of a bleeding heart while Harvey likes to pretend he’s heartless even though he’s not. The two have each other’s backs and they complement one another in the best way. They’re opposites, but underneath, they have more in common than meets the eye. Mike makes a lot of mistakes and no matter how exasperated Harvey is with him, he’s always there to bail him out.

Like any procedural show worth its salt, Suits has an episodic formula that works. There’s always a new client or case to be handled as well as some drama inside the law office, usually involving the supporting characters who are (mostly) great and fun to watch as well (especially Donna). Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) is the head of the firm and while she’s one of Harvey’s biggest fans and has known him forever, sometimes his antics wear on her nerves. Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) is a junior partner in charge of the associates and he sees himself in constant competition with Harvey. Harvey basically sees him as a pest and delivers some of his best one liners when he’s shooing Louis away. Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) is a paralegal who catches Mike’s eye on his first day. (She’s my least favorite of the main cast because she is far too judgmental).

My biggest nitpick with the show is the focus on Mike’s personal life. He’s got two potential girlfriends and the worst best friend ever. (He’s also got a really awesome grandma who I wish we could see more of). I won’t go as far as to say that the Mike side stories bore me, but if they stopped doing them? I wouldn’t cry about it. I’d much rather see more scenes of Mike and Harvey or Mike and Louis or Mike and Donna or Mike and Jessica. Romance doesn’t need to be a priority on a show that has so many other intriguing plots going on.

Season 2 started off with a bang and shook up two key dynamics on the show. Jessica took a sudden interest in Mike and wanted to take him out to dinner. Mike assumed that meant she knew he was a fraud, but Harvey assured him that was what she did with all the associates who she thought could make the partner track. But Jessica totally knew because Trevor (the worst) got mad at Mike for dating his ex-girlfriend (also one of the weakest characters) so he ratted his friend out to the boss. Jessica ordered Harvey to fire Mike, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. They had an even bigger problem when the other head of the firm, Daniel Hardman, decided to return to the firm after his wife’s death. Jessica and Harvey do not trust him and Harvey attempted to blackmail him into staying away for a second time, but it didn’t work.

After Harvey threatened to walk, Jessica agreed to let Mike stay. Despite Hardman’s insistence that he is a changed man, Jessica and Harvey both know he’s out to get them and the stakes are higher than ever for them as they have to try and rally the partners to Jessica’s side in case Hardman decides to call for a vote. There’s some friction between Mike and Harvey because of the secret and Louis is feeling left out of Jessica’s good graces which means that he could end up in Daniel’s pocket. (Louis is one of those characters I feel like I should hate, but I can’t because it’s so obvious he just wants to sit at the cool kid’s table).

I watch a lot of TV and I have a lot of favorites, but Suits has skyrocketed to the top of the list. The show is fantastic. The acting, the writing, the actual suits themselves are all flawless. I watched 13 episodes over the span of three days and the only reason it took that long was because I had actual life commitments to attend to. I urge everyone to give this show a chance even if you think it might not be your thing. Also, I dare you to watch an episode and tell me you don’t find yourself humming the theme song for the next few days afterward.

Catch new episodes of Suits Thursday nights at 10 pm on USA. 

Ryan White-Nobles
Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TV Source Magazine. He's began covering entertainment and soap operas in 2005. In 2009 he co-launched Soap Opera Source, and led the TV Source rebrand in 2012. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.

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  1. Yay! Glad to pay it forward. This show is fantastic.

  2. I keep seeing promos and having my friends tell me about the show, but this column puts me over the top. I’ll start watching it, and great column.

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