Suits will take viewers back a decade on “The Other Time," revealing new details and tidbits related to various characters - and we're not just talking about Donna’s different hair style!
The flashbacks not only fill in some gaps in the backgrounds of Harvey, Mike, Donna and Jessica... they also feed into ongoing storylines that have been brewing throughout Suits Season 3.
With that in mind, I jumped on the phone with Sarah Rafferty to talk about the unique episode; the current relationship between Donna and Stephen; and, of course, what we might find out about that infamous can opener...
TV Fanatic: Let’s talk Donna’s hair circa 2003 and how much went into what your look would be in the flashbacks.
Sarah Rafferty: I think a lot of talk went into it that I’m not aware of, that I’m not privy to. I just sit down and they try things on me, take pictures, and they get sent around and opinions happen, but it was funny because sort of at the last minute I was like, I don’t know about the bangs. We did bangs for the flashback five years ago, maybe 10 years ago she didn’t have bangs, but way before we shot we put them back on because we thought that it was maybe more of a change and that she sort of is coming out of high school hair, I think. So 10 years ago, she hasn’t necessarily fully lost the college hair.
I think it’s harder for the male characters to make a huge change. It’s easier for the female characters so if anybody was going to make a bit of a change that would show us that we were going back in time it would be me. Although Gabriel would probably rock a long wig, he wasn’t going to. I think he could wear any hair and pull it off. I just don’t know if it would really be Suits anymore.
TVF: Did you already know a lot of their past or was what happens in the episode a surprise to you, too?
SR: Just initially when we were in season one and season two I was creating a lot of the back story for Donna and for Donna and Harvey. It was funny to me to see a lot of it being sort of written in, in a way and I had some conversations with our creator [Aaron Korsh]. I especially had conversations after the episode in last season when Donna agrees to come back to work at Pearson Hardman. She makes reference to the other times. I had had some conversations about that with Aaron.
TVF: How much of Harvey’s success as a lawyer is due to Donna?
SR: I think what’s interesting about the flashback episode is that his character is really put to the test primarily professionally but also personally and he gets to really establish his moral compass and their original dynamic is established [which] I definitely appreciated when I read the episode.
I was thrilled by her strength and that 10 years ago she was still the person who she is and she doesn’t apologize for who she is. She is a straight shooter and she has never wavered from being that. She says it like it is and I really admire that in her and I’m really grateful to the writer for that quality in her.
TVF: I love it! Let’s talk about present day and the Donna/Stephen thing. How do you sum up that relationship?
SR: I think it started physical, which was pretty fun and funny. It was very funny for me to see that side of Donna. She’s always been very confident about all her gifts. So when she says to Rachel, ‘I was awesome’ I do think that’s so funny; she’s that girl.
I think that we learned in last week’s episode that when Stephen says, ‘I’m feeling more for you than I originally anticipated and I want to extend the terms of our agreement,’…I think that maybe they both thought that it was turning out as fun and physical. They established that they would not be expecting too much from each other, but I think that they’re a little bit surprised by how they’re feeling and that it’s becoming more significant.
TVF: Do you think that we, and/or Donna, should trust him at this point?
SR: I can say that Donna believes she always has her eyes wide open. So for the most part she hasn’t gone totally easy on Stephen. She’s a straight shooter, she told him, ‘When you brought up my name to Harvey, you crossed the line,’ and that was practically a deal breaker for her. I think that she’s cautious but at the same time she would never be with him at all if she believed that he posed any threat to Harvey.
TVF: How are things moving forward with Donna and Rachel? I love the scenes with you and Meghan. Do we get more of those scenes?
SR: Yes, there is more. I think it’s great that in the third season so much came up in the personal lives of Rachel and Donna so they need each other, they need a BFF, and that’s really satisfying for Meghan and I to play, I’ve got to say.
TVF: Do we get any kind of answer about the can opener in the episode? We still don’t quite know its origins…
SR: The can opener makes an appearance. I can’t guarantee that everybody’s questions will fully be answered but we take a step into every character’s back-story. So we’re taking a step into the can opener’s back-story too. He deserves just as much attention as all the characters of the series.
TVF: Maybe there’s a can opener spinoff in the works…
SR: An animated series!
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.