Skip To Content

Suits (2024)

“See the money want to stay, for your meal, get another piece of pie, for your wife…,” for all those who have been missing Ima Robot’s The Greenback Boogie, that catchy theme song from the USA Network’s drama Suits (2011-2019), you’re in luck. Since Netflix has announced the return of the hit legal drama Suits in July 2024, you can look forward to reconnecting with the people of the law firm Pearson Hardman, no Pearson Specter, wait, Pearson Specter Litt. Well who can keep up? Whether you’re a die hard fan or have only caught a few episodes, now’s the perfect time to catch up and get ready for, well, anything. Legal dramas like L.A. Law (1986-1994) and Boston Legal (2004-2008) have held a special place in the American TV landscape for decades. But while some, like Law and Order (and its many spin offs), have focused almost exclusively on crimes and legal proceedings, what makes Suits special is how it marries the work and personal lives of its central characters.

Created by Aaron Korsh and filmed in Toronto (all Canucks will easily spot glimpses of Second Cup, Canada Post trucks, Winners, and even Roy Thomson Hall), the show revolves around the central relationship between Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) which evolves from boss/associate, to mentor/mentee, and finally into a genuine friendship. Harvey is a rather handsome, dashing, often brash, consistently confident bordering on arrogant (did we say handsome?), white male legal super star who is also the right hand of the gorgeous and commanding black female managing partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) who captains her New York City law firm with a keen eye on relationships, ethics, and the bottom line. The ever-changing names on the wall (the named partners) become an outward symbol of the often-cutthroat power dynamics that play out between the lawyers, opposing counsel, and their clients who occupy various domains like the pharmaceutical, health care, and engineering industries, making the weekly stories and cases complex and intriguing. The drama and fun come by way of the manipulations, plotting, feuding, and backstabbing that are a part of high stakes law firms.

The hinge of the show is the central relationship between Harvey and Mike. What makes it unique is that Harvey, ordered by Jessica to hire an associate, decides to look for someone who reminds him of himself (we told you he was arrogant), meaning not cookie cutter, not-yes-man, a little bit daring, and an out-of-the-box thinker. When Mike accidentally runs into the hotel room where Harvey is conducting interviews, it is to ditch two police officers who are on his tail because they suspect him of being a drug dealer. He isn’t, but he’s done something quite stupid and agreed to drop off a briefcase full of marijuana for his screwed up best friend, Trevor (Tom Lipinski). Intrigued by Mike’s circumstances and obviously brilliant mind, Harvey hires him on the spot, even though Mike discloses that he has never graduated from law school or passed the bar. Let the games begin…

Arguably, one of the best things about Suits is its host of memorable characters who range from the quirky to the creepy, the fast talking, double entendre wielding to the awkward and socially inept. The show also serves up several memorable female leads, three of them women of African descent. The mixed-race Rachel Zane (yes, that Meghan Markle), daughter of esteemed black lawyer Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce), starts off as a rather aloof and guarded paralegal and blossoms into a successful law student and associate as the show progresses.

Harvey’s indispensable white legal secretary Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty) begins as quirky and evolves into a polished beauty and the firm’s incisive, all knowing, well-connected, wise, truth-teller. Indeed, when asked repeatedly about her ability to read people and situations, she responds simply, “I’m Donna”. Part of Donna’s all-encompassing knowledge comes from the fact that she is constantly listening in on Harvey’s conversations, not to spy, but to be one step ahead of him to support, assist, and even protect.

Jessica is a beautiful and intelligent black businesswoman who, although aware of the considerable obstacles she has had to overcome to achieve her success, does not advertise her battle scars. The definition of poise and professionalism, she thrives on cultivating new talent (Harvey started in the mail room) while fending off the incursions of disgruntled former partner, Daniel Hardman (David Costabile).

Finally, Gretchen (Aloma Wright) joins the cast in a later season as Louis Litt’s new legal secretary after his previous one, the never seen but frequently discussed Norma, passes away. (Think of Norma as akin to Howard Wolowitz’s never seen, but frequently heard mother on The Big Bang Theory 2007-2019.) Initially hired by Harvey (after a dispute with Donna) because he surmises that Gretchen’s age and size will make her less of a sexual temptation, she eventually ends up working for Louis and talking him off the ledge on more than one occasion. You see, Gretchen is kind but firm, vigilant, intelligent, decisive, and no-nonsense, precisely the type of support that the high-strung, impetuous, frequently jealous, and often insecure Louis needs.

Since we’ve said the L-word, it’s time to discuss Louis. Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) is a cagey, untrustworthy, arrogant, and often petty man. It is hard to say what he values more (Jessica’s approval or Harvey’s admiration) as he vies for senior and then named partner. In charge of training the firm’s associates he is also condescending, quick to anger, and even quicker to misinterpret any innocent acts as personal slights. Sadistically, he revels in the junior lawyers’ public humiliation. Louis is hungry to make senior partner and when Harvey gets the nod before him, he well, loses it! Although Louis’ unhinged temperament and unethical behaviours contribute to much of the emotional roller coaster and tension of the show, his personal quirks and hobbies (he drinks prunies, shakes made primarily from prunes, and goes mudding, submerging himself in vats of therapeutic mud at a health club) provide much of the comic relief.

On Suits, love and love-adjacent relationships abound, like that between Harvey and the white female lawyer Dana “Scottie” Scott (Abigail Spencer) with whom he can’t seem to commit; between Jessica and her ex-husband Quentin Sainz (Russel Hornsby) then work colleague Jeff Malone (D.B. Woodside); between Louis and Sheila Sazs (Rachel Harris) a successful university administrator; and the central romantic relationships between Mike and Rachel and Harvey and Donna (oh, did we mention that Donna and Harvey slept together back when they both worked in the D.A.’s office and thought they were no longer going to be work colleagues?). They’ve put the one night behind them (or have they?) for years and maintained a professional relationship when Harvey moved to Pearson Hardman, bringing the all-knowing Donna with him.

Part of the fun of Suits is seeing the way the boundaries between professional life and work life get increasingly blurry as these characters transcend the lines of colleagues, friends, lovers, and as they are quick to say, family. Indeed, their lives are so interwoven that they frequently drop in without warning at each other’s homes (or in the case of Harvey, let themselves into his luxury condo before he even arrives). Much of the show’s ongoing suspense comes from the growing number of people who learn of Mike’s secret and the web of deception that ensues; a deception that could taint or even take down the firm.

If you’re looking for an episode that will give you a sense of what this show’s capable of, we suggest Season 2: Episode 2, “The Choice”. As Hardman circles, scheming his way back into the firm and trying to oust Jessica as managing partner, she calls on Harvey to shore up internal support amongst other lawyers by assisting them with their ongoing cases. Instead, as usual, he does things his way, creating more tension with another lawyer at the firm upon whose support Jessica was counting in her battle with Hardman. In a poignant rooftop scene, which lays the complexity of their relationship bare, Jessica admits to Harvey “I’ve always known what you are Harvey and I thought that was my greatest asset, now I’m wondering if you’re not my biggest liability.”

In the same episode, after growing sexual tension, Mike and Rachel finally go on a date but when it becomes clear that he wants to unburden himself to her, first Harvey, then Donna, intervene. Donna goes further advising him to break things off with Rachel altogether because she understands that he will not be able to be in a relationship with her without confessing the truth of his non-lawyer status. When Mike asks how they (he and Rachel) are ever supposed to work together again, Donna assures him that it’s possible with a look that says it all. Yes, she and Harvey have been intimate! When Mike asks, “how do you get from here to there?” Donna replies, “slowly,” adding that the feelings fade, eventually. But do they?

When Harvey advises Mike that he has time to find the right girl, he accuses Harvey of being an unfeeling bachelor who has told and will keep telling himself that same lie at the ages of 25, 30, 35…50. Ouch! But things are not always what they seem. Harvey is actually not a player. He walks, no runs, away from women who are unavailable and is direct and honest about what he is capable of giving in romantic relationships. But his fear of commitment rears it ugly head too frequently until Harvey finally commits to working through the issue (which dates to a philandering parent) in therapy. Surprise, it wasn’t his father! The importance of mental and emotional health is centred by the show as we watch two powerful and accomplished men, Harvey and Louis, engage in counselling across seasons and episodes. Indeed, both Louis’ therapist, Dr. Lipschitz (Ray Proscia), and Harvey’s, Dr. Paula Agard (Christina Cole), become key characters in the show.

Also delightful, the show’s musical interludes and visual segue get better with age, as do the remarkably stunning wardrobes of the female characters, especially Donna and Jessica, who start off wearing nice blouse-skirt combos and pantsuits and end up wearing the most dazzling, remarkably tailored, and unique dresses. This show is also great for movie and music lovers since Harvey and Mike (Batman and Robin) soon come to communicate through cinema catch phrases and Harvey’s office contains a stunning collection of vinyl and a record player (his father was a jazz musician) which he frequently uses late at night with a glass of whiskey in hand. Harvey’s office also highlights his love of sports with a row of autographed baseballs and basketballs (he also has M.J. on speed dial). But Harvey’s emotional complexity is also revealed in a painting that hangs on his office wall, not the standard abstract oils that grace the other lawyers’ offices, but a colourful, quirky, little kid painting, one that we eventually come to find out was painted by his estranged mother and is one of the only fond memories he holds of her.

For the die-hards or the newbies, the wait is almost over and on July 1st we can finally see what transpires between Donna and Harvey after they made love – for the second time – in the final frames of Season 8: Episode 16, “Harvey”. Ah…pass the popcorn!