We're hours away from the midseason finale of Suits, as Daniel Hardman and Jessica Pearson will finally face off to see who will gets control of the firm.
Of course, there are a slew of other story threads flying about on the appropriately titled “High Noon.”
Will Mike keep it together after the death of his grandmother? Will he turn to Rachel for comfort? If Jessica loses the battle with Hardman, where does that leave Harvey? And Donna? Will Louis be more of a kiss-ass to Hardman or actually help our good guys?
I grabbed some phone time with Suits creator Aaron Korsh earlier this week to talk about the finale and get a glimpse into where the latter half of the season (coming in January) will find our favorite attorneys and employees. Read on for the Q&A and consider yourself spoiler warned...
Talk to me first about working with USA. I love that the characters on your show and other USA shows can talk like human beings and actually swear. We even have some pot smoking in the finale, which used to be so taboo.
As far as the language goes, I had written this originally... the ‘suits’ were not lawyers, they were guys that were on Wall Street, and people on Wall Street, they curse. And I’d written that way when they picked it up. No one ever told me to take the curses out and I kept waiting for somebody to tell me to do it.
After we shot the pilot, the discussion was raised how much of this language we can leave in and how much we can’t, and we tried not to be too egregious with it. I know some viewers might disagree with that, but they’ve been very good about allowing these characters to speak as they really would.
And about the pot smoking... the studio network tested people's reactions to the pilot whether we showed Mike smoking pot or didn’t. It turns out fewer people liked it when then actually saw him smoking pot. But the ones that did like it actually said the show was smart.
It was very odd that the show would just be smarter just because we showed Mike smoking pot, but that was the reaction; the network did decide on that one not to show him smoking the pot in the pilot. Then, as season one and season two went by, they were more embracing of taking the chances and kind of encouraged us to show them in the finale.
Getting into some plot leading up to the finale, what’s the reasoning behind Mike’s grandmother dying? Is it to basically to get Mike thrown off his game a little bit? Or is it something else?
It’s a good question. I don’t always think in terms of we need to do something to make our character off his game, so to speak...I had a close relationship with my grandmother and when I was around Mike’s age my grandmother died. She was the last grandparent I had left. The only one that really lived into adulthood. It really threw me for a loop and it affects you greatly. I actually thought [Mike’s grandmother] was going to die at the end of season one. But it’s really just as you grow up, a sad fact of life is that your grandparents are going to die and it just felt like this was the time to make it happen and it will affect Mike in certain ways. But it had always been in the works for that to happen.
Without spoiling tonight’s episode, where are Rachel and Mike heading?
Here’s the thing, we are working on episodes 211 to 216 now and we have not 100 percent landed on what’s going to happen with them in these sixteen... [in the second half of the season] there is an event, a kind of case comes in where they are somewhat thrown back together for sort of half hate/half personal reasons and then we’re still working out what happens at the end of the season between them.
I always personally want to know more about Harvey, but I feel like we get those moments doled out carefully. We just had his dad pass away and there was a great moment at the grave site, but is that something you’re very conscience of in terms of revealing too much?
I will say I’m certainly aware of it. For me, I find that the most interesting stories between these characters are sort of centered around their work life. So that might be why you see less of their personal lives. I mean, with the exception of Mike and he was kind of different of these characters, what we try to do is kind of dole out information as I think as appropriate, kind of as you would discover it in real life, with someone you work with. They are just not myth especially a guy like Harvey, who doesn’t just let people in.
I would say, for me, it’s kind of like everything also comes down to the can opener. People want to know more. One of their rules is you want to leave them wanting to know more, you don’t want to leave them saying okay, I’ve had enough.
There are times, especially recently, where you really don’t like Louis at all. But then you love him. How challenging is that for you and your writers to strike that balance?
First of all, I am going to give a tremendous praise to Rick Hoffman for having the acting ability to pull it off. We could write whatever we want [but] the entire cast they elevate everything we do. They make us look better than we really are, but since he’s the topic of conversation, Rick is really tremendous. He really has an ability to play humor and be a dick, for the lack of a better word, and to show us his vulnerability is tremendous. To me, each key is reminiscent to me in a different way of Frank Burns (from M*A*S*H). Frank Burns had this thing. No matter what a dick or asshole he was, he just wanted to be included and loved by the other characters.
What did you and your writers learn from the “Rewind” flashback episode?
I always wanted to do it. I always wanted to give it a shot and I think we have to take chances with Suits because with all your favorite shows if you don’t take chances you’re going to start to become boring basically. But I knew it was a chance because I feel like flashback episodes can be really bad. They can really take you out of the world of the show in a bad way. So one thing I learned was I feel like we did successfully and I was happy with that. I also learned for me, I try not to do things that are too much, kind of winking to the audience.
I would point out that Louis’s braces was taking a chance and I loved it. Having Harvey walk by in the path with Mike and Trevor…I was hesitant about that but I’m glad we did it and I would point out we did go to great pains that Mike does not see Harvey’s face. He would have remembered it at the interview. I got a lot of tweets about that.
Is the second half of this season going to continue where we leave off tonight or will it have its own arc?
It has its own arc that we are kind of working on, constructing. It’s a little bit hard to have what I would call a full-arc in six episodes because it’s kind of hard to have that slow build and that big full-arc. So we’re kind of thinking of it as an arc but like a pre-cursor to the season three. But it starts off slightly after; I think it’s about a week later from where we end up.
The Suits mid-season finale airs tonight at 10/9c on USA. Visit TV Fanatic immediately afterward for a detailed review.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.