It Stars Gina Torres
I mean, it's Gina freaking Torres. She's an icon who has been making her mark in the television landscape for over 20 years. Torres leading a series of her own has been years in the making. She's one of the most underrated actresses around.
She's also making history as one of the first Afro-Latinas to lead a primetime network drama, and she's an executive producer for the series. She's a powerhouse and showcases it every episode with fantastic performances.
Deep Dive into Dirty Politics and the Political Intrigue
Politics can be dirty and ugly, and while it's easy to be tapped out of all things political in the grand-scale of things, Pearson's exploration of the political underbelly of Chicago via the mayor's office is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. The back-alley deals and behind the scenes of what makes politics tick is far more intriguing than the typical surface-level one-dimensional focus on partisanship.
Rich Jessica Background and Development
If you happen to be a Suits fan before watching Pearson, then you'd know Jessica Pearson was one of the most enigmatic characters on the series. You loved her, but you didn't know nearly as much about her. Pearson does a fabulous job of fleshing out a beloved character and showing us sides of her we didn't know about or see often.
She's softer and more vulnerable, and the series expounds on the Suits' foundation for this character in ways that make her more lovable and relatable than ever.
Morally Ambiguous Characters
Whether or not the characters are good or bad is up for interpretation and hard to say for certain. All of the characters fall into a gray area. Some of them do bad things for the right reasons, or good things for self-serving reasons. Everyone is complex, flawed, and has unflattering traits and weakness. There isn't a Mary Sue in the bunch.
You cannot have a Suits spin-off without a gifted wardrobe department making each and every character look fabulous. From well-tailored dresses to gorgeous heels, to power suits and skirt sets, hell, even the leisurewear is sublime. The fashion sense is exquisite and as important part of the series. Pearson is all the fashion goals.
Complex Female Characters
The women of Pearson, especially the titular character, are strong and vulnerable, composed and messy, smart and beautiful. They're imperfect and flawed. They're real. They're allowed to be complicated and contradictory and sometimes even unlikable. They're multi-layered, and it's compelling.
If you're a sucker for the strong and silent type, Nick D'Amato is your guy. He doesn't say much, but when he does, his words matter and are very telling. He operates according to a personal code of ethics, which includes loyalty and putting family first. He's mysterious, perplexing, and intriguing. He's also an unexpected scene-stealer.
The series isn't just a political-suspense drama, but it also has a strong focus on family. Part of learning more about Jessica Pearson is seeing how driven she is to protect the people she loves as she also figures out how to be part of a family after years of being estranged and on her own.
Angela, Lillian, and the kids add something special to the series, but the theme of family also weaves throughout the series with Bobby's family and the Novak family history.
It's Suspenseful with an Ongoing Mystery
Pearson balances out the political intrigue with the suspense and mystery. There's an ongoing arc to piece together with every installment in hopes of unraveling a season-long mystery. Nearly every installment ends on a juicy note that keeps you coming back for more and scrambling to figure out what is happening.
Explores Class Differences and Inequality
Suits often focused on the corporate/white-collar world and wealth. Pearson is more grounded. It highlights the class and racial disparity in Chicago. It addresses the crime rate and police brutality. It's about serving the community. It boldly addresses tough, real issues. The city of Chicago is a character of its own and what affects it is embedded in every installment.
Deliciously Loathsome Antagonist
Pat McGann is a fantastic villain/antagonist for the series. In the end, he's a manifestation of what's antagonistic: corruption, poverty, capitalism, and so forth. He's a character you love to hate, and the threat he poses to the protagonists of the series is legitimate and realistic.
It's Gritty, Dark, and Compelling
Pearson has a different vibe than it's predecessor. It's darker and grittier in its storytelling, which often raises the stakes for all the characters, including Jessica. There are so many conspiracies, dark alleys, and seedy locations. There's an air of danger that comes with the character interacting with all types from crime bosses to gang leaders. Pearson isn't afraid to go there with its storytelling.
Jessica Doesn't Always Come Out on Top
It's Jessica's show, but from the start, she has to fight and claw her way through everything. She's a powerful woman who has been stripped of her power as she's starting over which makes her a bit of an underdog and an inspiration.
It's rare to see a woman start over and embark on a journey of rediscovering herself and figuring out who she is; it shows that we never stop learning and growing. There is no cutoff period on discovery and growth. Nothing comes easy for Jessica, and she doesn't always come out on top, which makes the show suspenseful and her journey all the more appealing.
Jessica and Nick's Convoluted Relationship
Jessica and Nick's relationship is the most intriguing dynamic on the series. It began contentious with distrust and unease between the two, but it evolved into something with layers and complexity. They have begrudging respect and mutual understanding and fascinating chemistry. It's hard not to love their scenes together.
Derrick and Yoli Dynamic
The relationship between the two isn't at the forefront of the series, but it's one of many things that makes the series interesting. Their dynamic of occasionally adversarial colleagues often puts a magnifying glass to social justice issues and how opinions on how to reach the same results can vary.
They're different people with different approaches, but they're similar in many ways too, and they balance each other out in a fun way that occasionally steals the show.
It's a spin-off, so there are nice nods for fans of the Suits who have followed Jessica's journey to Pearson. There are mentions of Donna, pictures of Suits characters in Jessica's office, and Harvey even made a cameo appearance via a phonecall.
Jessica Mentors Yoli
Jessica has a long history of serving as someone's mentor, so thankfully, on Pearson, she takes up the role again with her assistant Yoli. Yoli is young, ambitious, strong-willed, and passionate.
Jessica sees a lot of herself in Yoli and takes her under her wing. Some of the best moments of the series are when Jessica drops pearls of wisdom on Yoli. It's a pleasant mentor/mentee relationship and another great dynamic the show serves up.
A Stellar and Diverse Cast
Obviously, Gina Torres is a standout, but her supporting cast elevates the show as well. The diversity of the cast is refreshing and stays true to the Chicago vibe. Cultures are infused into the series with ease and a realistic part of the characters and how they navigate their daily lives.
There are as many powerful women on the series as there are men. The organic use of Spanish, sometimes without subtitles, is subtle but a lovely touch. From Torres to Lenz, Kassianides to Goree, everyone brings their A-game.
It Has a Kickass Soundtrack
In addition to fashion, Pearson also has a great soundtrack. The musical choices always elevate the scenes and coincide with the Chicago vibe. Release the playlist!