While many attribute Mr. Robot with completely shaking up the expectation of quality at USA, it can’t be understated the ways in which Suits plays a role in the conversation. Since 2011, the legal drama has pushed the boundaries of serialized story in a genre not typically known for it. However, things came to a head in a big way over the summer when the show’s main protagonist, Mike Ross, was arrested for not having a law degree while serving as a practicing lawyer in New York City – which was the entire premise of the show to begin with.
While on the set of Suits, we caught up with actors Patrick J. Adams (Ross), Gabriel Macht (Harvey Specter) and showrunner Aaron Korsh to discuss the impact the twist will have on the series, as while its characters as we head into the second half of Season 5.
On the matter of deciding who would be the one that turned Mike into the authorities, showrunner Aaron Korsh stated, “I didn’t realize it would be such a huge thing – that people would wonder who turned Mike in. I really didn’t, because I thought of it, like, if I were Harvey and Mike, what’s more important than who turned him in is how we’re going to get out of it. So I didn’t think it was going to be as massive a deal as it seems to be. The writers saw it different, and probably more accurately. They were like, ‘it’s got to be this big search, and we need to find out who it was [in order to] get Mike out of it.’ So, we decided to kind of split the difference. We end up revealing it a little bit down the line, [but] not in the first episode back.”
- While not revealing much, Korsh did say the person that turned Mike in is someone we know and have met before.
- On the structure of the season’s second half, Korsh explained, “it was pitched to me that the back six were, ‘they’re going to come after Mike and we’re going to fight this thing.’ One of the writers that happened to have been a lawyer made the case. He’s in the Harvard database. He’s been practicing law. The series of things you could say. And then we thought, there have been many cases in history where you’ve been positive the person did it and they got off. I try to incorporate different points of view into the scenes, so I kind of took Mike’s side, and he’s all, ‘Harvey, we can’t get out of this thing,’ and Harvey says what was told to me, and it’s very convincing. So we decide to fight it for the back six.
- In addition, Korsh stated the prosecutor working Mike’s case will be coming after various other characters in order to put pressure on them in hopes of rattling Mike and Harvey, and the back six will be examining that pressure.
While being fluid with time, Korsh stated the episodes would take place over a period of 4-5 weeks. “It’s not months, and it’s not days.”
- On bringing back old characters for the back six of Season 5, Korsh stated, “it’s outstanding to have [such a] deep bench. The only negative to it is, they’re all great actors, so they all have other jobs and it’s very difficult to schedule them. But, that aside, they’re so great and it’s a great asset to have. One of my favorite shows is Justified, and in that show they do that. Like, they need something and bring in an old character that’s a favorite and make him both advance a story point and have an emotion scene because they have these deep rich characters and great actors. That’s great.”
- Concerning why Korsh picked the middle of Season 5 to finally have Mike’s secret come out, he stated, “the short answer is, sometimes in your gut you’re just like, ‘it’s time.’ A lot of times I just have a gut feeling and we do it. But, I think it’s just, it’s enough. It had to happen at some point. I think when we were talking about the whole of 5×10, [we] just thought [a lot about] the irony of [Mike] giving it up just a little too late.”
- As for what the reveal of Mike’s secret means for the show in its already ordered sixth season, the showrunner stated, “what happens is, at the end of the year we get to 10 and are so empty that the last six are almost [done] in a haze and we just have to pick something and do it. So, next year we’ll have to figure it out. We’ll have to figure out what this means and what happens. We’ve got a lot of potential twists and turns, but what it means for these peoples’ characters is nothing’s ever going to be the same again. I don’t know what the answer is, but it really gives a lot of possibility to just change the show in a lot of ways.”
Gabriel Macht added, “the stakes have gotten so incredibly high, that it’s possible they’ll drop now and we can go back to this place where maybe we’ll see these people smiling a bit more. Early on, in Seasons 1 and 2, there’s some really funny stuff. As we got closer to where we are now, the stakes are so high that it’s almost out of place to put any funny into it. I think there will be more of a balance [in Season 6].”
“I think [the arrest] is the biggest, boldest thing we’ve ever done on the show,” Patrick J. Adams also added. “It was something that needed to happen. The show needed something to come and kick it in the butt. All the great shows aren’t afraid to change. I think we were all feeling like we were ready for a big change. This is sort of built into the fabric of the show. We also want to deal with this before it’s over because it’s really rich material for all the characters.”
- According to Korsh, the worst case scenario for Mike, based on his crime, will be seven years in jail.
- On how Mike’s arrest affects Harvey, Korsh stated, “Harvey’s going to feel responsible for doing this to Mike. People are going to be forced to confront the choices they made, for good and bad. We’ve seen moments of Harvey willing to take a hit for Mike and Mike willing to take a hit for Harvey, so there’s going to be moments like that. But, if they’re lucky, no one will have to take a hit for either one. Also, as the investigation starts to touch on the four other members of our main cast, that will affect Harvey [as well]. [The arrest] is going to re-align the way people deal with each other in the back six.
Adding to that, Gabriel Macht stated, “I think a large part of what we’re dealing with in the back six is [Harvey’s] confronted with being responsible for hiring Mike in the first place. I think the selfish part of him believes he’s 100% responsible. Ultimately, we’re leading up to this trial where Mike’s life is on the line and I think the heroic part of Harvey wants to take the bullet for him… Harvey’s sorting a lot of stuff out, privately. There are moment where we’re going to see him be vulnerable in how to move forward and work this whole situation out.” The actor then added that Donna will be the first person he seeks counsel from after learning of Mike’s arrest.
- As for the way Harvey’s lifestyle is changing on the show, Macht explained, “I think he still likes to live on the edge, but the cards are starting to fall. He’s having to really look at himself and dig deep to see, “is this really worth it?”
Concerning the matter of how far Harvey’s willing to go to save Mike, the actor elaborated, “he pretty much tries to cross every line that he can. There are people around him, supporting him, that are trying to look out for him and know that this is the way he does things and try to block him from doing some of this stuff. You know, the case against Mike is pretty locked. There are no holes in it, really. It’s a mountain. So, we’ve seen these guys save the day at every turn. Are we going to go there and see them save the day, or are we not? It’s going to be really cool. There will be some good surprises.
- On how far in advance he was told about Mike’s arrest in the season, Patrick J. Adams explained, “I never know what it’s going to look like until the week before because things can always change, but I did know we were heading towards an arrest. I didn’t know if it was going to be 5×10, or the back of the 16, but we knew it was coming, and we all felt it was time for it to come.
- Adams also elaborated on how Mike feels about the arrest itself, stating, “I don’t think there’s much relief. If you get caught in a lie, there’s something to being exposed, but the fact is, these guys broke the law. They’re in the wrong, and yet we’re the heroes of the stories. So, getting to watch how good people deal with having done bad thing makes for really interesting television.”
- On how the arrest affect’s Mike’s relationship with Rachel, Adams stated, “he’s constantly struggling with it. I think this will be the thing that defines their relationship over the course of the whole show. I hope they end up happy, but what that looks like I don’t know.”
Suits returns January 27th on USA.