8:00am PT by Amber Dowling
'Suits' Boss Previews Major Shake-Up, Re-Emerging Enemies in Season 4 Return
During last summer's Season 4A finale of USA Network's Suits, Jessica (Gina Torres) and Harvey (Gabriel Macht) were left with three threatening words after Louis (Rick Hoffman) finally learned the truth about Mike (Patrick J. Adams): Pearson. Specter. Litt.
Ahead of Wednesday's return, titled "Enough Is Enough," the back half of the season is set up as viewers learn how Jessica reacts to Louis' power move — and whether Mike really does get "Litt up" — as well as how each of the players will react to the events that are about to unfold.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh to preview what's ahead for the series and its already announced fifth season in the summer.
The first episode back could be called "Louis Unleashed." When did you know he was going to find out Mike's secret and how does that play out for the rest of the season?
Once we decided for sure that Louis was going to leave the firm, the way to bring him back was always to let him figure out Mike's secret. When he resigned, it was just a question of when. There was a little bit of a debate about whether we should leave him gone for six episodes and have him team up with Hardman (David Costabile) against the firm. That was good in theory, but we didn't have a good execution, so we decided to shake things up. Oftentimes when people leave, the audience has a sense they're going to come back. With Mike, we let him go for a long time, so a way to shake that up was for in the next episode to learn that Louis not only comes back, but he's a name partner. It raises questions in the whole community that the guy resigns, and then the next day he's not only back, he's a name partner. So something must have happened. In particular we're using Zane (Wendell Pierce) as the face of that wonder.
Gabriel Macht directed the first episode back and Patrick J. Adams directed episode 414 —did you have to make any changes for that to happen?
Gabriel and Patrick both expressed the desire to direct, and when they're numbers 1 and 2 on your call sheet you want to make that happen if you can. We wanted to structure it so that in the ones they were directing they were a little lighter onscreen. Unfortunately in crunch time, the last six episodes are usually under the gun. They were pretty locked into the schedule and they both actually ended up being not very light in their own episodes. But they handled it with grace and it worked out. We put their episodes right after a hiatus week so that they could take it as a prep week and figure out how they were going to shoot the scenes.
What are some of the arcs viewers will see in the remaining six episodes of season four?
Absolutely the first three episodes focus on the aftermath of Louis finding out about Mike and the consequences on a personal level between everyone. The first episode back focuses on the question of, Will Louis be named partner? Beyond that, the ramifications of his behavior on the partners is really the focus while weaving in a flashback episode that kind of informs Louis and Harvey's relationship and sheds a little bit of light on Mike's past. Professor Gerrad (Stephen Macht) comes back in 412 and 414 when the case takes a turn. He has a little bit of an interaction with Mike. That starts off a two-episode run with a case that focuses on Mike and Harvey's dynamic and also brings Donna (Sarah Rafferty) in in a larger way than she usually is involved in things.
What can you tell us about the flashback episode? And in general is it hard to use them sparingly?
The reason it's not hard to use them sparingly is that they're very difficult to construct satisfying stories within them. We love them; the challenge is you want to learn new pieces about the characters. That isn't always easy with Mike because he wasn't at the office back then. They're also tough because we try not to have a complete step-out flashback episode that has no bearing on the present day. You also want the story to have an interplay and impact on the present. So that's a tall order! That leads us to shining the light on certain personal dynamics in the firm. And in 416 there's a reemergence of the Forstman (Eric Roberts) case. We wanted him to come back and have problems putting him away. It's the perfect place to tell the story of what went down between Harvey and Forstman, and make it have resonance to the current day.
Adams' fiancee, Troian Bellisario, is in a flashback. What did it take to have her finally come on the show?
We have two episodes with flashbacks, 413 with Troian and 416 with Eric. Troian always said she'd love to be on Suits, and I've always said I'd love to have her. I don't tend to write episodes based on someone saying they want to be in it; we want to come up with the right character. When they came up with the idea for a love interest in the past for Mike, the writers were thinking Troian, and I thought it was great. Then it was the matter of coordinating with her schedule. The producers of her show (ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars) were very generous in letting us use her for a period of time.
Has Tatiana Maslany expressed an interest? Is she in the back of your mind?
I have not heard specifically from her that she's expressed an interest. We would love to have her. I talked to Patrick about it when he was on Orphan Black. Part of the problem with her is that she's in almost every scene of her show, so would she have time? We wondered about her when we were casting Amy in the beginning of the season last year. But we realized there were just too many scenes for her to commit to, and I was very happy with Melanie Papalia in that role in the end.
Suits relies on a lot of recurring guest stars like Amanda Schull, who is now on Syfy's 12 Monkeys, and Wendell Pierce, who now has CBS' The Odd Couple. Does it affect how you go about writing the new season when it comes to arcs?
It's tough. It's a good problem to have, actors so good that they're on other things. I wouldn't want to trade that; I often cast someone that I'm a fan of already. I was on the phone with Wendell Pierce the other day because we are trying to get him in some episodes for season five and figure out if it will work with The Odd Couple. We'd never spoken before because we film in Toronto and I was just never there with him. But yes, it's a challenge. Amanda is a lead in Monkeys and we were trying to be respectful to not work her into the ground for that show, and it's our sister network. So we didn't use too much of her in the back six. It's a challenge with Abigail Spencer, who plays Scotty; Eric Close, who plays Travis; all of them. You try and work around it, but sometimes it means you can't do an arc because you're not sure you'll have them for enough time.
Tricia Helfer is coming on board as a potential love interest for Harvey. Does that mean he's officially over Scotty?
Scotty always will be in the picture in some sense. … I know there's a huge Harvey and Donna contingency out there, but whoever Harvey ends up with I feel like it's always fun to bring Scotty back whenever the story fits and Abigail is available. She's been really good about trying to give us windows of opportunity to use her. She emerges as the lawyer on the other side of the case and there's always an opportunity for tension with her and Harvey.
Things with Rachel and Mike seem to have settled down. Will they have smooth sailing as a couple for the next little while?
My wife and I were watching another show that we're both big fans of, and at the end of the episode my wife was like, "Can't a couple ever just be happy on TV?" And I thought about that in respect to Mike and Rachel. It turns out the effects of Louis' rampage in 411 serves to bring Mike and Rachel a little closer in the wake of what they went through in the first 10. We kind of give them somewhat of an easy road in the back six. We try not to let them have too much trouble.
Any final teasers in regards to the last six?
We tried to focus a little less on the firm power dynamics and more on the core relationships in the last six, and I feel in all of the back six and in part the last three we tried to shine a light on things that we haven't necessarily shined a light on before. And I feel like we end the season with a major shakeup that you may or may not see coming.
Suits returns Wednesday at 10 p.m. on USA Network. What are you looking forward to seeing? Sound off in the comments below.