So, just to give you a round-up of what’s happened over the previous five years before I get started, Mike Ross- a guy with an eidetic memory who has passed the New York Bar exam- poses as a lawyer who graduated from Harvard. He works under Harvey Specter at Pearson and Specter. Later, others are slowly in on the secret, including paralegal and Mike’s fiancée Rachel Zane, another senior partner (later managing partner) in Louis Litt, the company head- Jessica Pearson, and Harvey’s secretary Donna Paulsen. At the end of last season, however, Mike’s shady history catches up with him and he is convicted and sent to prison for fraud.
Cast: Gabriel Macht, Patrick Adams, Rick Hoffman, Meghan Markle, Sarah Rafferty and Gina Torres.
In One Line: Suits retains it’s basic premise of a corporate dogfight- which may, at times, seem slightly over the top- but adds a human dimension this year along with multiple sub-plots to prevent monotony.
Like a lot of TV shows, Suits started to drop badly in the third and fourth season. Having lost it’s initial sheen and not providing a substantial storyline, it became a family drama for the most part with infighting within a New York law firm characterising the show. However, with the onset of the second half of the fifth season – culminating in Mike Ross’ arrest – it became more about how they, as a firm, were threatened and that brought back some of the lost charm of the show.
This season begins with Mike (Patrick Adams) entering prison, only to find that there is a man named Frank (Paul Schulze) with an agenda towards Mike because of the latter’s association with Harvey (Gabriel Macht). Mike finds a friend, Kevin (Erik Palladino), in prison along with some much needed mental help in the form of Julius (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), his psychologist. Meanwhile, Harvey and Sean Cahill (Neal McDonough) design a complicated deal with many twists and turns along the way to get Mike out of prison early. Mike, while initially reluctant, later agrees and manages to get out at the end of the summer season. Meanwhile, Jessica gets out of the New York law scene and makes her way to Chicago, reconciling with former lover Jeff Malone. Louis Litt, meanwhile, moves on from Sheila into another serious relationship, this time with Tara Messer (Carly Pope) while Rachel is shown to be working her way through law school.
The second half begins with Rachel trying to pass the bar- which involves sitting the Character and Fitness Exam. She receives a letter saying she will not pass the exam due to her affiliation with Mike Ross. Of course, all is not what it looks like on the surface and Harvey finds himself embroiled in a complicated situation which he turns to his advantage. Mike, following his release from prison, begins work at a legal clinic. Soon, a series of circumstances play into Harvey’s hands as he looks to somehow get Mike to be a lawyer (legit, this time). Mike, while initially averse to the idea due to an internal conflict, later accepts it. The final twist is given by Anita Gibbs (Leslie Hope) who is on the committee deciding whether or not Mike becomes a lawyer and is hell bent on denying him the privilege.
Compared to previous years, the first thing that hits is the human touch in Suits. Very rarely exhibited in the first two years, the show started to dip it’s feet in these waters a little through the third, fourth and fifth but this year, it is a massive jump into the pool. From Harvey reconnecting with his mother to Mike Ross’ troubled conscience about lying- for whatever reason- this year is a treasure trove of human emotion. More importantly, it gives a new perspective to Harvey, shattering his hitherto somewhat cold exterior. I think it was important that Suits found a new dimension to itself in order to build up, having stabilised the ship through the second half of last year. And by entering deeper into Harvey Specter the person, it seems like it has.
As the show went deeper into Harvey, it also went deeper into Mike. Mike Ross, for the first time, was not pretending to be a lawyer and wanted to be on the right side of things. But circumstance and Harvey would throw him back into ethical dilemmas- forcing him into moral grey areas he desperately wanted to avoid. Through his struggles though-beginning with their separation while he was in prison- it was nice to see the relationship between Rachel and Mike become better and stronger. It was also nice to see the show develop Rachel’s character, setting the scene for the kind of lawyer that she will become by having her take a pro bono murder case and by having Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) incorporated into it to remind the latter of what she wanted to be.
Harvey and Mike (and to some extent Rachel) were the focus of the story and this relegated- somewhat to the show’s detriment- the other characters. The scenes with Louis Litt focused on him just trying to be supportive of Harvey and trying to make things work with Tara. Sarah Rafferty, as Donna Paulsen, is still brilliant albeit in a somewhat reduced role. The show tries to make something of her trivial life by showing interaction with Wall Street boy Stu Buzzini and IT guy Benjamin but it isn’t enough. It’s understandable that Jessica didn’t get much screen space given that she was leaving the show but they could have done a better job with Louis and Donna.
The visuals are appealing but nothing beyond what Suits has usually done. The script, however, deserves mention and while it is not markedly better, it is an improvement on what it was last season. Screenplay and direction are run of the mill and serve the purpose.
The sixth season of Suits is a good one with ample opportunity for Gabriel Macht and Patrick Adams to impress- which they took gladly, no doubt- but with a somewhat limited role for the other main characters. It has a good, solid storyline which has a few hiccups now and then but on the whole holds enough water to carry the show.
P.S. Why does Suits fill their supporting roles with people who played supporting roles on Arrow? First, Neal McDonough (you may remember him as Damien Darhk on Arrow) and now Carly Pope (news reporter Susan Williams). Is next season going to see Stephen Amell and Emily Bett-Rickards or what?