10:47am PT by Philiana Ng
'Suits' Crew on Mike's Secret: 'There's a Very Serious Threat of Deceit'
USA Network trotted out its legal drama Suits for the first time at the winter Television Critics Association press tour Saturday, with the cast and creator offering some teases for the March 6 return.
Suits, already renewed for a fourth season, centers on a top Manhattan law firm led by hotshot lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and his associate Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), who never went to law school. When the midseason finale left off, Pearson Specter lawyer Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) was inching closer to finding out the truth about Mike.
Creator Aaron Korsh told reporters that the final six episodes -- which include a Michael Phelps cameo -- will deal with Louis' near discovery. "Harvey and Mike made the decision to bring a fraud into the law firm. It will take a couple of episodes to get through [it], and it will have ramifications," he hinted.
Though Mike's secret helped kick off the series, more and more people have since come to learn of his lack of a law degree. The team was confident that it would be able to keep the ruse going.
"There is resolve but in a smart way," Hoffman said. "The writers created a much deeper, more dangerous type of situation. It's not something that gets played over and over again. There's a very serious threat of deceit."
Gina Torres, who plays Jessica Pearson, echoed his sentiment. "Every season you go deeper and deeper in this world of deceit, and the relationships get deeper. It's not just, here's this smart dude pretending to be a lawyer. We're invested in all these people," she explained. "We have a great deal of respect for them. The stakes continue to get higher."
Adams cited Breaking Bad and Mad Men as prime examples of shows that have managed to sustain a story that focuse on a protagonist holding secrets. "The focus is not the secret itself, but the ramifications of that secret," he said.
In fact, when a reporter suggested that Mike would have been found out by now -- three seasons in -- Korsh referenced Bernie Madoff, who was lying on a grander scale and wasn't caught for years.
Here are some other highlights from the panel.
Use of the word "shit." "When i wrote the pilot, they were investment bankers and I wrote it the way they talked," Korsh said. "I just put in whatever language came naturally to me. I kept waiting for someone to tell me to take all the 'shits' out." That never happened. When Meghan Markle asked if the show's 9 p.m. time slot would change that, Korsh exclaimed: "Shit no!"
The Machts acting together. Macht's father, Stephen, appears in the second episode of the back half of the season. "It was an excellent experience for me -- a father-son event," Macht said. "He knocked it out of the park. He plays a Harvard ethics professor who is a large threat to outing [Mike]. I come and try to blackmail him. We had a great time. It's kind of hard to say, 'you smug son of a bitch' to your father." Korsh chimed in, half-jokingly: "You had me write in that line!"
Danger lurks. "One of these characters' life is in danger and you see that we do huddle around and are there for each other," Macht hinted. "Love is complicated."
Harvey, a romantic? Scottie (Abigail Spencer) will be back in the second half of the season and will be incorporated into the Pearson Specter world, forcing Harvey to deal with being in a relationship with a woman he works with.
Watch the sizzle reel below.
Suits returns March 6 on USA Network.