'Suits' Creator Breaks Down Flashback Episode's Biggest Moments
Executive producer Aaron Korsh hints to THR that there are "ramifications" following Harvey and Jessica's fallout.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead from Tuesday's episode, "The Other Time."]
Are Harvey and Jessica done? Is Donna ready to move on with Stephen? Will Pearson Darby Specter stay afloat? Will Rachel end up attending Stanford Law School? How many more names will the law firm take on before the end of the season?
Suits creator/executive producer Aaron Korsh breaks down the flashback episode, including the introduction of the whipped cream ritual, what did (or didn't) happen between Harvey and Donna behind closed doors and the forthcoming Harvey vs. Jessica battle.
The Hollywood Reporter: We finally met Harvey’s dad, Gordon Specter (James McCaffrey). How much thought was given to how he'd be introduced?
Aaron Korsh: We wanted to meet [Harvey's] dad, see what his dad was like and see what their relationship was like. Harvey’s relationship with Cameron [Dennis, played by Gary Cole,] mirrors Harvey’s relationship with Mike. Harvey is a little more Mike-like with the high-fives. With his father, his father is sarcastic, he can give him shit. When we first meet his dad, Harvey says, “I thought this was girls softball,” and his father says, “It is now.” We see where Harvey’s sarcasm and wit comes from, and his world view comes from his dad. We wanted to touch on his past with his mom, and his dad is explaining his relationship with his mom and how he was warned about [her infidelity].
THR: How likely is it that we may meet Harvey’s brother or mother? Are you open to introducing them in the future?
Korsh: Absolutely! We’ve mentioned his brother several times. We’ve mentioned his mother several times. So, if or when they show up, you don’t feel like we made up those characters out of the blue. That’s just a side benefit of them talking about his brother a little bit in this episode. As of right now, they are not showing up in any episodes we’ve written. But I’m not against it.
THR: We finally got a glimpse into Harvey and Donna’s dynamic at the start of their working relationship. Was what we saw 10 years ago always something that you had in mind?
Korsh: It has changed. No, no, absolutely not. I think we were writing the season finale of season one and when Rachel asks Donna [about her and Harvey], that came in a rewrite. A lot of times, for me, things emerge over time. I don’t have things planned in my head. I remember talking about it with Sarah Rafferty; I thought that Harvey and Donna had an opportunity [to go further] one time. They almost fooled around, maybe they started kissing and one of their cautionary senses got the better of them and they called it off. It was probably Donna because she didn’t want to do this if it wasn’t going to lead to something serious, and she knew it wouldn’t. The writers came up with the idea for the flashback episode. When they pitched [the scene] to me, I was like, “Wow, that’s crazy. Let’s do it.” It still all fit in my head. She was not truthful with Rachel at the time but I understand why. Donna says to Harvey [at the end of the episode]: “We will never speak of this again.” She put it out of her mind. It rears its head from time to time, but it all made sense to me and we did it.
THR: Was there extra footage filmed when Harvey visited Donna’s apartment that we didn't see?
Korsh: That was what was written. We wanted to indicate the story point rather than to actually show them.
THR: So there was a ritual before the can opener. When did the idea for the whipped cream come to fruition?
Korsh: In the middle of the rewrite, I was like, “Wait a minute, how come we’re not doing the origin of the can opener?” I think we had forgotten. At one point, we had written a lot of innuendo about what the can opener was and the cast interpreted it in such a dirty way at the table read that we thought, “OK, if they’re going to interpret it that way, the audience will too, and we didn’t mean for it to be like that.” We decided to come up with the whipped cream as the dirty thing and then come up with a completely different ritual for the can opener. We don’t obviously show what it is but we show how the idea of it happened.
THR: Have Harvey and Donna resolved their conflict?
Korsh: They’ve partially resolved it. Part of the problem is it’s not all Donna-Stephen; Harvey and Stephen are still going to continue and have conflict over the Ava Hessington case. It’s just a difficult situation to be in even if Harvey had no problem with Donna and Stephen. That’s going to continue to have some fallout ramifications.
THR: Will Trevor return at some point?
Korsh: As of right now, we do not have him back but we have talked about it, and we’re not finished with the back-half of the season, so it’s possible. We wanted to re-establish in the flashback why Mike was friends with Trevor in the first place. We went through great pains to not only show them having fun, but also the two times where Trevor made a distinct choice to protect Mike at his own possible expense. One was when he didn’t sell Mike out to the [Harvard] dean. The other time was when the security guards come up, Mike is holding weed and Trevor quickly says, “If they catch us, it’s mine.” It was to show why Mike put up with Trevor for as long as he did. That was important to us.
THR: Now that Harvey’s gotten what he wanted with getting his name on the door, what’s next for him?
Korsh: In the flashback, he remembers how Jessica treated her transition and that he had said -- for her coup -- “Show them the respect. Tell them you’re coming," which causes him to ultimately make the move that he makes. (Harvey informs Jessica of his plan to topple her.) Moving forward, Jessica has to respond to what he did. Obviously, you're going to feel anger and betrayal and you’re going to have to try to move past it, which they’ll do one way or another. They’re going to have some decisions to make about how they want to proceed with both the [Ava Hessington] case and the power structure of the firm.
THR: Is their relationship irreparable at this point?
Korsh: Without giving away too much, I don’t think any relationships are either so solid that they can't be permanently severed or so severed that they can't be mended. Time will tell. There are couples in real life who get divorced and then get remarried. All relationships are fluid, and Harvey and Jessica’s is no different.
THR: How many different machinations of the firm's name are we going to see this season?
Korsh: [Laughs] We take a shot at ourselves in a future episode when a character points out that our firm has changed names a couple times, so that’s all I can say.
THR: Just for clarification, how old are the characters supposed to be?
Korsh: I think it's left vague. I’m not 100 percent sure how old they are because I feel like people are who they are and I want to let them be who they are than label what their ages are.
THR: What’s coming up in the four remaining episodes?
Korsh: We’re going to see the return of at least four old “friends.” They’ll show up in the last half of the first 10 episodes. The Ava Hessington case will be wrapped up. Jessica and Harvey are going to have some ramifications following this episode. The Donna/Stephen relationship is going to move forward in an uncertain manner. Mike and Rachel’s relationship is going to continue to progress and be affected by the happenings of ["The Other Time"]. Mike is going to have a major role to play in the Ava Hessington case.
Suits airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on USA Network.
Sundance: On the Scene