'Suits': Dule Hill Talks "New Challenge" of Secretive Season 7 Role

'The West Wing' veteran on joining the series in season seven, tackling a more confident character and Alex's past with Harvey.
Courtesy of USA Network

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of Suits, "The Statue."]

Looks like there’s going to be a new face roaming the halls of Pearson Specter Litt in Suits’s seventh season now that Harvey (Gabriel Macht) has officially brought his buddy Alex Williams (Dule Hill) onto the roster.

Not that the firm is going to be called Pearson Specter Litt for that much longer.

“The Statue” picked up from the season seven premiere, with Harvey taking charge of the firm and trying to get it back on its feet, all while filling the seemingly impossible shoes Jessica (Gina Torres) left behind.

At first, the lawyer tried to lead the way he thought Jessica would, and that included letting go of his former mentor’s biggest client and bringing on brand new business via Alex in exchange for a name partner role at the firm. But, thanks to some harsh words from Jessica (Torres reprised her role for the episode), Mike (Patrick J. Adams) and some kinder ones from Katrina (Amanda Schull), Harvey eventually realized that giving out partnerships like candy wasn’t the way to establish credibility.

And so he reneged on his deal with Donna (Sarah Rafferty) and made her a chief operating officer instead of partner, and brought on Alex in a more senior role — much to Louis’ (Rick Hoffman) relief.

To find out more about the secretive, season-long role and what kind of part Alex plays in Harvey’s past, THR caught up with Hill. Here, the former West Wing and Psych star breaks down Alex’s motivations, tackling a character with a little more confidence and how Suits represented a "new challenge."

Why this role?

I’m a fan of the show itself. I enjoy the stakes and high drama that’s always going on, and when I sat down with [creator] Aaron Korsh and he told me where he wanted to go, I thought it was interesting and fun. This was the first time that I’ve joined a cast that’s been in motion for years. That was a new challenge for me and I always like trying to do something new and different in terms of these roles. And in terms of Alex himself, I like that he’s not a pushover. I like that he came in with this long-term friendship with Harvey and he could go toe-to-toe with him. Other characters I’ve played over the years — especially The West Wing and Psych — they weren’t as confident with themselves. And I also like the idea that things aren’t always as they seem. He’s coming to the firm under one guise, but as the season goes on we see there’s other things going on.

Did you have any concerns about going from one legal drama to another?

The characters are different, but being that CBS canceled Doubt so quickly and now they’re burning them off in the summer, I’m interested to see if I can see a difference between the two characters. I thought it would be fun to see how they’re different. On paper, they’re drastically different. One was a defense attorney that came from a more heartfelt place. Alex Williams is in the rough and tumble world of corporate law where he’s not as concerned about doing the right thing. I wanted to see how I could twist the character on the side just to see the differences. Plus, when you have different creative minds writing these characters there’s going to be a different feeling, different experience and different rhythms.

Is Alex a nice guy or does he fall into that corporate law world?

He’s in the gray area. He’s not just a nice guy, but he’s also not a bad guy. He’s a good guy who spurs some lines and things can get grayish. You can’t really be in that world without having a little bit of that self-serving mentality in there. You don’t enter that world trying to heal the world or stand up for the principles of what our founding fathers had, the pursuit of liberty and happiness and all that stuff. That’s not what comes to Alex’s mind when he wakes up in the morning. He’s a shark and he’s trying to handle his business.

Now that he’s part of the firm, how does he settle in and how do people react to him?

There are a lot of changes going on at PSL and the other characters are trying to figure out who he is and why he’s there. They’ve been a team for so long and Harvey is now just taking over and bringing in this person. Why? Even though Harvey and Alex have been friends no one else knows him. So people will be trying to read him and figure out whether he’s a friend or foe. Alex is aware of that. Harvey and Alex are friends from playing poker over the years and Alex is a very good poker player. Maybe not as good as Harvey but he’s very good. He knows how to not show his hand too quickly. That’s what you’ll see Alex doing — finding his way and figuring out how to play his cards, because there’s definitely something he’s trying to accomplish.

What’s his relationship with Louis like?

Alex knows that Louis does not want him there, so there’s a push and pull. They’re trying to figure out if there’s a way to work together at all. Even though they know they have to work together they’re trying to figure out if they can work together now that they’re on the same team. They’re not friends … but I do think they will find common ground where they can relate and understand each other.

Suits is known for its flashback sequences. Does Alex feature into any of them this season?

Yes, over the arc of the season you will get more of Alex and Harvey’s backstory and how they became friends; what happened in their yesterday that has kind of kept them bonding and tight over the years and how that plays into what’s happening today.

Do you have anything to add?

Things aren’t always as they seem and that’s what Alex Williams brings to the table with this season of Suits. People always have something else going on. He’s a poker player — let’s play some poker.

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

Thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.

Twitter: @amber_dowling