'Suits' Villain Speaks: "The Stakes Definitely Rise" After Episode 2

'The Sopranos' alum Paul Schulze talks about stepping into Frank's "psychopathic" shoes and that close call with Mike.
Ian Watson/USA Network

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Wednesday's episode of Suits, "Accounts Payable."]

Things are looking pretty dire for Mike (Patrick J. Adams) behind bars these days. In the second episode of Suits’ sixth season, Frank Gallo (Paul Schulze) made good on his promise to get back at Harvey (Gabriel Macht) by targeting Mike and even pulling out a shank to get his point across.

Luckily, Mike was saved by his cellmate and the guards in the nick of time when they appeared to break up the fight before Frank could do any real damage. But with both men incarcerated at Danbury and neither one appearing to go anywhere anytime soon, it seems as though it’s a matter of time before someone’s blood hits the floor.

Coming off the intense episode, THR caught up with Schulze to find out just how bad things for Mike could possibly get and to pick the character actor’s brain on his latest string of roles.

What’s Frank’s endgame – was he looking to hurt or kill Mike with that knife?

I felt like he pulled the knife to really scare Mike but not kill him. He’s enjoying the cat-and-mouse game; trying to get to Harvey through Mike. If he shanks and kills Mike then he’s played his card. Sure Harvey’s hurt, but there’s nothing else to go for. So he just wanted to really shake Mike (and Harvey) up.

What kind of threat will Frank pose to Mike going forward?

They spend a lot of time talking about how dangerous Frank is; Harvey reminds Mike of that and different people in the prison are scared of him. He certainly has power in the prison and I think he is a very dangerous guy overall. On the other hand, he has an agenda, and his main priority is not to scare people, it’s to try to better his situation and ultimately get out of the joint. As angry and sociopathic, or psychopathic, or homicidal as Frank is, he’s also trying to further his own cause, which is getting the hell out of Danbury.

Can viewers look forward to more interactions with Frank and Harvey?

I do shoot scenes with him and I enjoyed them very much. Most of my stuff is with Mike, we’re locked down together, but Harvey is around. He makes his presence known, that’s for sure. And Gabriel is very fun to work with.

How dangerous is Frank, really, now that he has Mike in his sights?

The stakes definitely rise after this episode and things become a little more tense. Frank is absolutely willing and able to kill Mike. That’s something that has to be dealt with by Mike and Harvey and guards and whoever else.

What kind of role were you looking for coming off of Nurse Jackie?

I don’t know that I really thought that specifically about it. I’ve been doing this long enough that it doesn’t behoove me to take the time to think about what I want as much as what is coming my way and then deciding if that’s something that I’d be interested. When this came, I was very happy to do it because for years I played kind of tough guys or characters with checkered pasts. It’s been a while since I’ve done that, so it was nice to be able to get my scowl on again.

Suits is known for having its guest stars pop in and out over the seasons. Was being a recurring player of interest to you after this season?

I assumed I wouldn’t be one of those, because it’s kind of a pretty specific part with Mike. If Mike eventually gets out of prison, it feels like my fate on the show is tied to that. But one never knows and this whole cast and crew is has been wonderful to spend time with, so if they were to have me I’m sure I would enjoy accepting their invitation. But I think this is probably done after this arc.

You’ve been a character actor forever -- what’s your key to getting along with established casts?

Forever I made my bread and butter being a guest and coming in for just one or two episodes on shows, but then I’ve had some recurring characters on some pretty meaty shows like The Sopranos and 24. It’s just a lot of fun. You come and people in our business tend to understand how lucky we are, so usually the workplace is a happy place and it’s very welcoming. I certainly love to just be on the set. I love to be working and so I don’t have to act like I’m enjoying it; I really am. I guess that’s something people pick up on and it’s a nice place to start.

Is there an allure to shooting in Toronto?

I shot a movie here once called Don’t say A Word with Michael Douglas. I’ve also shot a couple of TV shows here over the years. I love Toronto; it’s a great town. It reminds me of my hometown of New York a little bit. It’s as varied and international as New York but it’s small enough that people are a little gentler with each other. I like it very much.

Overall do you prefer playing good guys or bad guys?

My preference would be whichever guy works the most consistently with the most fun writers. That would be my brutally honest answer. But I’ve always maintained that I like playing bad guys. When I would tell my mom what I was about to play and she would say, “Oh dear,” I would remind her that I am not confessing to being a killer, I’m acting like a killer. And then all you had to do was act like a nice person in real life and people think you’re talented.

Suits airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on USA Network.

Thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.

Twitter: @amber_dowling

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