'Suits' Star Patrick J. Adams Teases High-Stakes Midseason Finale: "A Life Is on the Line"

“I never want to overstay a welcome,” leading man Patrick J. Adams tells THR.
Ian Watson/USA Network

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of Suits, “The Hand That Feeds You.”]

Someone has sprung himself out of the slammer a little early. USA Network’s Suits took a huge risk at the end of last season when it sent Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) to jail for fraud, effectively eliminating the character issue that has propelled the storyline forward since Day 1 of the drama and breaking up the dream team of Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and Mike.

For most of its current sixth season, viewers have followed along with Mike’s subsequent incarceration storyline, as he dodged dangerous felon Frank Gallo (Paul Schulze) and attempted to navigate a deal to get himself out early by informing on his roommate, Kevin Miller (Erik Palladino).

It all came to a head during Wednesday's hour when Mike gambled with his deal in order to ensure Kevin’s freedom along with his own. Although it seemed impossible at first, Mike was eventually able to pull a rabbit out of his hat with some unexpected help from Sean Cahill (Neal McDonough) and Harvey’s former mentor Cameron Dennis (Gary Cole). By the end of the episode, Mike, Harvey, Rachel (Meghan Markle) and the rest of the dream team were reunited when Mike got out of jail early — one week before the sixth season’s midseason finale.

To find out how the prison exit impacts the rest of the season, what’s in store for Mike and Rachel and Mike’s future on the show, THR turned to leading man Patrick J. Adams to get the scoop.

Did you always know this would be the episode Mike got out of jail?

I knew it was going to be around this general time, but I didn’t really know until I read the script. I assumed it had to happen around this time. I’m really proud of the story we’ve been telling in the prison and that the show is capable of switching it up like that and trying something new. But it’s also important to get people back together and Mike and Harvey needed to find their way back together so I was pleased we didn’t do it much longer.

What was it like having that world to play in and getting the chance to work with new actors?

It was such a gift. When you’re this deep into a show you very rarely get this great storyline that basically reinvents your story. To take this character and put him in a brand new environment with new characters it was like having a new show all to myself. Creatively it was very fulfilling to suddenly have to figure out what Mike Ross looks like in jail and how he conducts himself. It’s pretty rare to get that kind of level of reimagining this deep into a show.

Did this feel like a big episode to you while you were filming?

I had a great time having this new creative adventure and getting to do that, but ultimately just like Mike, I felt really removed from all the people I’ve grown to love as we’ve been working all these years. That really started to weigh on me. I hadn’t even seen Rick Hoffman or Sarah Rafferty — we hadn’t been on set together. There was this whole other world operating outside of what I was doing. Getting to shoot that final scene, when I walk out of that gate that we shot me walking into last year, and getting to see Rachel and knowing that this particular part of our story is sort of behind us … I’m sure it will come back to haunt Mike and have other ramifications, but for the first time he’s kind of free of the burden of this thing and he can try to get on with his life.

What does that life look like? He can’t practice law unless he goes back to school, does that put him at a crossroads?

It’s definitely an uphill climb to be a lawyer again and that’s kind of what we’re dealing with in the back six — where does he fit and what does he do? Mike made some pretty determined declarations about how he felt he had wasted his time working just for the upper 1 percent and helping rich people get even richer in his closing statement at his trial. So now that he’s out and being faced with a couple of opportunities he’s trying to figure out how to stay true to that. How he can continue to do good for people that need it, but at the same time make a living and start building a family. That will be the next big chapter for him.

What does that mean for Mike and Rachel?

It’s kind of cool how it’s playing out — Mike is free of the secret and obviously has to figure out what he does next, but in a way this secret is really starting to affect Rachel. She’s going to have to deal with that as we’ve already seen in a couple of the episodes. The fact that she knew what was going on and never did anything is very problematic for her as she’s trying to become a lawyer. For her this has now become a burden even though he’s free of it. But ultimately the two of them as a couple are stronger than they’ve ever been before. We’re just getting ready to go back to shoot so I don’t know where they’re going but from my point of view I’d say finally they’re free of this thing. They’ve been apart for so long and they finally have the opportunity to just be a couple without trying to hide something from the world. I’m interested to see what wrenches the writers throw into the mix.

Would you like to see the wedding planning back on?

It was funny … we were supposed to shoot the wedding at the end of last season, it was in the script that they were going to get married before Mike went to prison. But then as we were shooting the episode [creator] Aaron Korsh was wandering around set quietly asking, “Do you think they should get married or they shouldn’t?” And we were all like, “No, they definitely shouldn’t. It would be way more dramatic and interesting.” So we changed it at the last minute, it was literally the day before. It was really an interesting decision, I thought it was really good for the characters and much more heartbreaking to watch Mike put her in front of him and say, “You can’t do this now, you have too many other things on the go.” But now that they’re back together, if nothing gets in the way I’d love to see what these two characters look like being married. I always think of Mike as a little kid sometimes so he’ll find some way to screw it up a little bit, but yeah — I don’t see anything standing in between them.

What can you say about the winter premiere that you’re prepping to direct?

This one I wanted to do just because I thought it would be fun to do more of a premiere episode, coming back and reintroducing the characters and starting the world fresh after this whole prison thing. That to me seemed really exciting. I wanted that opportunity and they said it was a go. In general it’s setting us off on this path of what’s next for everybody. Mike is desperately searching for where he’s going to fit next and realizing that even though he’s paid the price and done his time that it’s still something that’s going to get in the way of him accomplishing his dreams now. He can’t really shake the fact that he was sent to prison. It’s a great episode.

Gabriel is in the same boat in terms of fitting in directing duties; do you two ever lean on each other during those episodes?

Yeah, the both of us directing has sealed the brotherhood more than anything ever has. We both took the opportunity really seriously and right from the start we just made this pact that we’ve got each other’s backs. “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll trust it and do it.” Sometimes you can disagree with a director, but we just agreed to go with it and if something didn’t work we promised to let each other know. It’s been the best part of us working together, having each other’s backs like that.

Could you see yourself playing Mike Ross beyond season seven or does the seven-year itch set in?

The itch is alive and well, it’s normal to have that. I don’t think for actors it’s a totally normal thing to play a character this long. I love this show, I love the character and I would love to see what would happen. But everything to me is dependent on the story and Aaron figuring out where we think this could go and what it would look like and how the characters would continue to change. I’m never interested in just playing the same thing every time and the show has done a nice job of progressing. Mike Ross has matured and changed over the years; he’s a very different person than he was when we started. But I would have to see an avenue in which he was going to continue that growth. I also never want to overstay a welcome, I don’t want to fade out and have people stop watching before it ends. I believe in picking a strong ending. But it would all be about Aaron — he’s the guy I would take my cues from. We’re all living in his head. If he felt passionately about a direction for the show it could definitely be a discussion.

Since Mike’s big jail exit goes down now, what can viewers expect in next week’s finale?

This episode was really a wrap up for Mike and the last episode is about him reintegrating into the world. It’s a nice focus on the case that Jessica (Gina Torres) and Rachel are working on together. That comes to a head and the stakes are pretty high with a life on the line. Mike gets out of prison and he’s just so excited to finally be able to support Rachel in her first case. It’s really about that; a reversal where he gets to be the one sitting in the courtroom watching her and helping her as he quietly readjusts to his life. It’s a great episode though; in typical Suits fashion the world will be inexorably changed by the episode’s end.

Suits airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on USA. Are you happy Mike and Harvey have been reunited? Sound off below.

Twitter: @amber_dowling