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When the sixth season of USA Network’s Suits returns on Wednesday, it will be a very different show than viewers have become accustomed to. Thanks to Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) taking a two-year plea deal in last season’s finale, he will finally have to answer for his fraudulent decision to become a fake lawyer all those years ago. The repercussions won’t stop there, either. Harvey (Gabriel Macht), Jessica (Gina Torres) and Louis (Rick Hoffman) have a tough road ahead of them now that everyone has ditched their firm, while Rachel (Meghan Markle) will be forced to figure out life while her fiancé is behind bars.
It’s a leap of faith creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh felt was necessary to continue telling the story he first set out to tell, but hopes viewers will recognize the same pillars of storytelling that has kept the series one of the network’s hit series for six seasons now. Here he previews eight things to expect in the new season with THR.
1. There Will Be No Time Jumps
Despite being known for some telling flashback episodes, Suits rarely makes use of the time-jump model in order to progress a storyline — especially in between seasons. With Mike heading off to prison and Pearson Specter Litt in a precarious position, season six is no exception.
“We considered a time jump, but ultimately thought that if we’re going to do this, if we’re going to have Mike get caught, the natural conclusion is that he gets found guilty or he cuts a deal and then he’s going to go to prison,” Korsh says. “Let’s see what his time in prison is like. Let’s see if we can figure out some interesting stories to tell while he’s in prison. And I hope we have.”
2. Prison Will Factor Heavily Into the Season
In order to come up with the look and feel of the prison, Korsh and the other producers looked at plenty of photos of actual prisons. According to the creator, they landed on a sweet spot that felt “intimidating, not too run down but not too new.”
The resulting product is an impressive set on the Toronto lot — one that will be around for a while. For those keeping track, that kind of budgetary commitment means that Mike won’t be leaving the system anytime soon.
3. Mike Won’t Get Off as Easy as He Thought
As viewers can see from the exclusive video below, prison isn’t the white-collar haven he was perhaps hoping for. Instead, it’s about as intimidating and scary as the average viewer might imagine, with some extra twists thrown in for dramatic effect.
“When Clifford Danner’s mother said there’s no such thing as white-collar prison once they close those doors, that was a guideline,” Korsh says. “It’s not a maximum-security prison, but there’s some menace there. It’s a scary place.”
4. The Dream Team Won’t Be Together Right Away
With Mike locked away and Harvey busy trying to salvage his firm, it may take some time for the dynamic duo to reunite. That means Mike won’t be doing any immediate professional work from prison a la Shawshank Redemption, and Harvey won’t exactly be chomping at the bit for a visit. At least not right away.
“Now that Mike is in prison, it’s difficult to have him integrated with our people,” Korsh explains. “So we’ve come up with a sort of framework to incorporate throughout the course of the season.”
5. Look for Some Heavyweight Guest-Stars
As previously announced, the likes of Paul Schulze (The Sopranos) and Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The People v. O.J. Simpson) are set to guest-star in season six, and their characters will come into contact with Mike right away. Other guests to look forward to this season include Erik Palladino (ER), Alan Rosenberg (L.A. Law), Malcolm Gets (Caroline in the City) and David Hewlett (Stargate: Atlantis).
6. Pearson Specter Litt Is in Trouble
Audiences already know the firm suffered a pretty big blow in the fifth season finale when it lost all of its employees — from partners to clerks and support staff. But things are about to get a lot worse for the company when the show returns. In fact, there may be no coming back from the aftermath of Mike taking a plea deal. And that will have a major impact on the leading characters.
“They all change from this in different ways; they’re all different people than they were in the pilot,” Korsh teases. “But just because they’ve changed doesn’t mean they won’t make cousins of the mistakes they made before.”
7. Romance is on the Backburner, But It’s Still Burning
Between Mike being in jail and the name partners attempting to save their firm from ruin, there is plenty of story to explore in the first 10 episodes of the season. That means romance is taking a hit, but it won’t go away altogether.
“There’s probably a little bit less romance than we’ve had in the past — these things tend to wax and wane, and this is one of the periods where there’s a little bit less than there has been,” Korsh hints. “But we have some things we haven’t seen before happening in the romance department too.”
8. Viewers Will Get Litt Up
The back half of Suits’ fifth season was a dark one that many say detracted from the fun, light tone the show is typically known for. It was a move that Korsh was well aware of. Despite the fact that he and the other writers wanted to explore the repercussions of Mike and Harvey’s actions, he promises a return to the lighter stuff too.
“We took a chance. We hope fans stick with us, and we think there’s a lot of compelling stuff on the other side of what happened at the end of season five,” he says. “Not all of it is grim. There is a lot of humor to be had in the first 10 episodes.”
Watch THR‘s exclusive sneak peek from the season six premiere:
Suits returns Wednesday at 9 p.m. on USA Network.
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