Suits (Seasons 1-6) TV Review: More Than Just Apparel

By: Marwan Omar (Two Beers) –

Courts of Law have always had this feeling of fearful dignity imbibed to their halls and stands, and this is the fundamental building block for creating unforgettable scenes taking place there along the years. Powerful lines as “You’re out of order!” from Al Pacino’s And Justice For All and “You Can’t Handle the Truth!” from Jack Nicholson’s  A Few Good Men made us fall for such movies and increased our appetite for likely moments of tension followed by the relief of justice being served.

On June 23rd 2011, USA TV Network was the center of attention as they premiered their new series that shed the light on the behind-the-scenes process of invoking the law, that ends up having these heroic in-court speeches set to action, and as fast as a judge hitting a sound block with his gavel, the series’s viewership exceeded millions and TV enthusiasts acquired a new favorite show, where episodes are marked by the sounds of heels clicking, the nervousness in the air, lawsuits drafted every minute, and men in suits with piles of paper moving in every direction… introducing USA’s Suits.

Suits is the story of two lawyers: Harvey Specter and Mike Ross. Harvey, the man owning a Lexus, suits worth thousands of dollars, and sporting Michael Jordan as a client, isn’t only a legitimate lawyer, but also the best closer in the city of New York. On the contrary and despite his love for practicing the law, Mike skipped the part where he actually goes to law school to get his degree and settled with being a bike messenger who has a mediocre life. As fate intervenes, the two paths cross, with Mike’s life turning upside down as he successfully convinces Harvey to hire him in his major law corporation. Throughout the episodes, their interactions highlight their differences, conflicts, and mutual affection based on their common grounds and their shared mentality of winning and never taking no for an answer, and living in the fear of news spreading highlighting that Mike is actually a fraud.

A Toast

One thing about Suits is its loyalty to the old-school orientation of the TV industry. The format of the series wasn’t affected by the trendy, cinematic way of making TV shows nowadays, and that made it enjoyable without the urge to sit tight, devote yourself completely to the screen, and over-analyze its deep messages as if you’re watching a movie. With content being delivered as light as a feather, all you have to do is relieve your stresses, order some pizza, and enjoy the 40 minutes of content on a chilly Saturday night.

(Aaron Korsh, the creator of Suits)

The creator of the show, Aaron Korsh, constructed his show based on two narratives. The first was using his fixed characters to tell their persistent plot, and the other was based on the one-episode characters that he used to build his short plots presented in the lawsuit and its case displayed in each episode, using the same approach used in similar projects like Grey’s Anatomy. However, this approach puts the writers in a jam for the need of these fixed characters to be intimidating and interesting enough to complement these come-and-go characters and for the audience to be attracted to the story as a whole with all its plots. By measuring the level of anticipation for the new seasons, and for the seventh season this summer, we can tell that Aaron Korsh had successfully pushed this to the limit.

(Mike Ross and Harvey Specter)

In a place stuffed with lawyers, Aaron Korsh used only two of them to pull our hand to enter his land of law; Pearson Hardman, the place where longer-than-usual lines of dialogue are delivered in restrooms, and movie references frequently find their way into the employees’ words. Harvey and Mike, through their interactions and walking dialogues, involved us in the fast rhythm of lawyers’ life in Pearson Hardman and taught us more about real law than any movie, which gives Suits a huge advantage over similar projects.  After just a few episode, expressions such as Subpoenas, depositions, Pro Bono Cases, and injunctions became interestingly familiar to the level of you considering whether it’s too late to do a career switch, aiming to work with them someday.

Comparing season 1 to the other seasons, your attention will be drawn to the fact that each episode is almost independent, with cases closed at the end of each episode, unlike further seasons where episodes start with a fast recap of preceding cases that lasted for episodes and even entire seasons in some cases. In addition to that, putting the standard 16-episodes seasons against the 12 episodes of the first season can prompt the conclusion that USA TV Network was giving the series a shot until proven successful. However, Korsh had a complete view of how the series would proceed disregarding the channel’s precedent intentions, judging by his smooth build ups, and smart integration of each build up to construct a basis for the series’ future.  He establishes the profound portrayal of our characters’ backgrounds that came in later in the seasons very early. It was obvious that the man was in no rush to put what he had in mind into writing. His great knowledge of where he’s going was his companion along the way, even when his gut made him go for summoning Lord Varys and Catelyn Stark from Game Of Thrones in his episodes. Being charged with murder in the third season, Catelyn had no luck in Suits, either, as her habitual jinx wasn’t changed in Korsh’s script.

(Lord Varys and Catelyn Stark guest starring in Suits)

As the series proceeded, Korsh’s script showed 3 main characteristics; Parallelism in most occasions as episodes were going in two or more directions at the same time to emphasize a certain theme or just to keep up with all that’s happening in peak moments. Also, Intelligence regarding the challenges he created to surround our characters that had us every time saying “that’s it, it’s the end”, and even more intelligence in fluently finding a way out of each challenge, fooling us without harming the dramatic flow, giving the protagonists a chance to live and fight another day. Finally, Divergent ideas controlled the show, as displayed in the different scenarios and problems that came in the shape of family struggles, technological conflicts creating trust issues, and even ballet-related matters, when the law’s intervention in our lives becomes inevitable, and lawyers turn into our closest friends to drive our forsaken rights back home.

(Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter)

Harvey’s nothing but Clint Eastwood in his golden days, only if Eastwood was fonder of the law and being a lawyer than his horses as a Western cowboy. But as we see his hidden story of pain and betrayal, we get to remember that he’s only human, and that image of Eastwood fades, turning him more into any one of us, a person capable of committing mistakes, feeling lost and shedding tears. What’s worth mentioning is that this fade doesn’t harm his tempting charm or his irresistible glamour.

Gabriel Macht, as Harvey Specter, displays his ultimate talent that surprisingly, wasn’t recruited for some other remarkable project up until being cast for Suits. The 45 year old actor with his enchanting details was the best fit for such a character that holds the series’s weight on his shoulders, which is what he successfully did. His character’s structure offered the man the space to show some real A-class acting skills that often reminded me of the best actors’s performances where their silence can deliver much more meaning than scripted words. Shows like Suits shed light on such actors who the cinema passed by, marking Harvey Specter as one of the best TV characters, right alongside How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson, judging by their choices of suits and appreciation for such invention.

Harvey’s character was probably the one who benefited most from the clever scripted lines. Macht’s elegance and know-it-all attitude by which he always says the right things at the right time and always knows how to act, in addition to his personification of his character’s transformations, qualified him to be the shining star and the most talked about among his fellow actors, not to mention taking the lead in the Facebook-shared quotes and occupying your “Role Model” zone.

(Patrick J. Adams as Mike Ross)

Mike Ross, performed by Patrick J. Adams, is the second character in the series’s main duo. The writers used the character with the photographic memory and bad choice of ties to create a catalytic reason for Harvey’s character to go through exponential transformation. Not only that, but also his existence had set a subplot of romance into motion starting in Season 2, and it was emphasized on a wider scale in the later seasons, taking advantage of the show’s parallelism.

One great thing about Patrick J. Adams is his capability of finding harmony with his script mates to succeed together as a team. The on-going romance line he created with Rachel was fascinatingly lovable for the compatibility he displayed with Meghan Markle. His interactions with Louis Litt also participated in portraying hidden depths in both characters, not to mention his congruence with Harvey Specter. Although often in Harvey’s shadow, Patrick J. Adams delivered a good performance in his individual moments of focus. Also, his chemistry with Harvey tickled the audience’s emotions when seeing them all together on screen, increasing the show’s fan base. Such popularity yields their high entry on the list of best duos on TV, and gave them the opportunity to join the producers team of the show they majorly participated in making a success, starting as co-producers in 2013, and promoted to full producers starting 2014.

(Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt)

At first he strikes you as the arrogant manager who’s hated by his co-workers, but as soon as you know about his love for ballet, Shakespeare, and mud sessions, the way you see Louis Litt will completely change. Normally, characters like Louis Litt aren’t supposed to be someone’s favorite, but when the creator’s efforts in writing this character’s dimensions wisely and thoroughly meet Rick Hoffman’s massive personification talents for assigning to the character his way of walking, talking, humoring, and behaving, you know Louis Litt can be your favorite, as happened in my case.

Despite sometimes being the wrecking antagonist who’s capable of shutting the whole party down to the extent of you despising him, he makes his return just a few minutes later to show his motives in the most utterly touching way possible, undoing any negative thoughts and making you re-love him. This rapid change doesn’t smoothly happen over and over again every day, and it wouldn’t have been the same without Aaron Korsh’s attention to detail that make thes difference, and the great Rick Hoffman.

Alongside Harvey and Mike, Louis completed the outstanding acting trio with head-to-head acting contests between him and Harvey, knocking out Mike on most occasions. Being a supporting actor without as much attention asHarvey and Mike, Rick Hoffman’s against-the-tide exertions to earn such a position in our hearts deserves a long round of applause for the man who will get you “Litt Up!”.

(Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Meghan Markle as Rachel, and Gina Torres as Jessica)

Alongside the previously mentioned trio of males, the females in Suits formed another trio themselves. Donna, performed by Sarah Rafferty, is the red-headed female version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s aged character. Not only did the high-ego Sherlock Holmes existing in Suits raise the bar high for secretaries’ characters, but also took our affection for females to a new level for her ultimate confidence, knowledge, and ability to remarkably using her eyes to underline her spoken purpose. Putting effort in showing the weaker side of such a strong character and her complicated relationship with Harvey made a new subplot come to life, adding a new thread to a sea of threads which were well-integrated by the show’s creator.

The second female element was Rachel Zane, performed by Meghan Markle. The 35-year old lady wasn’t of a great effect on the plot in the first season and parts of the second season, as her subplot wasn’t yet initiated. Her relationship with Mike Ross, and her will to become a lawyer, were the spark starting her own story, and gave the woman the space to show us what she’s got. The on-going romance line wouldn’t have been that effective if it wasn’t for Meghan, with her cute presence and lovely soul that make you just admire her, adding to the stack of Suits another great role in writing and performance.

Beer Two

The managing partner Jessica Pearson, performed by Gina Torres, is the final and the weakest element in Suits. She, by being externally firm all the time, failed to display much transformation, delivering a very conventional performance and almost identical lines in every situation to the extent that you could literally predict what’s coming out of her mouth next. In addition, solid facial expressions were her reaction to almost anything. Clearly, bothering the audience by harming the rhythm of episodes and adding conventional seconds to the aired minutes were Jessica’s priority over actually managing her firm.

Verdict

Suits is your definitive guide to the hidden life cycle of the law. It clearly shows in detail the gambling life lawyers live in with their every action pursuing a win, and the pain of being slandered, attacked, and falsely accused as a criminal just for demanding your rights, only to be forced to settle for a deal. Suits has gone deeper in examining this dark side of the law’s procedure than any other movie or series, and from season six’s finale, we can’t help but wait and wonder what the new season has for us, counting down the hours and minutes to the 12th of July.

Suits (TV Series) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time a character says “Goddamn”.

Take a Drink: every time Louis talks to his recorder.

Do a Shot: every time Jessica says “Excuse Me?” or “What did you just say to me?”

About Marwan Omar

A fitness enthusiast, a traveler, and a computer engineer, with a passion for art and Real Madrid, who if asked, “what’s a movie to you?” would probably say that finishing a book you love gives you chills, listening to quality music triggers overwhelming pleasure, and watching a movie is a unique compound of both.

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