Ladies and gentlemen, we introduce to you Mr. Mike Ross, Attorney at law. After six years of living as a fraud, hiding his secret until he got caught and served time protecting his boss, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), Mike is legit. In a dramatic hearing, helped by a surprise testimony by Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) who flew in from Chicago, Ross (Patrick J. Adams) got the unanimous vote needed to get his license. He then agreed to rejoin his old firm with a set of conditions: big salary, a fat check for the legal clinic he had been working for, freedom to take on pro-bono cases and bring in anyone from the clinic he would like. He got everything he asked for while Harvey appeared ready to take over the role of a managing partner. But it was not a happy ending for Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), who suffered yet another rejection when his fiancee Tara left him following a row after he confessed to her that he’d known Mike was a fraud and had exploited it. Meanwhile Donna (Sarah Rafferty) was left wanting “something more” after a rude awakening when, looking for investors for her digital personal assistant prototype, she realized she was not being taken seriously because of her status of a secretary, and later had to settle for a buyout after her new product ran into patent issues.
In an interview with Deadline, Suits creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh discusses tonight’s development, the future dynamic at Specter-Litt with Harvey as managing partner and Ross and Rachel as newly-minted lawyers. Also, he answers questions about Donna going for more (more what?), Louis (will he finally get lucky in love?), new cast additions in Season 7 and Jessica possibly coming back. (Korsh and Torres separately are working on a Suits spinoff centered on the Jessica Pearson character, which has taken a step forward with Pearson closing her deal. For more on that, read my story.)
DEADLINE: For six seasons the biggest obstacle that was driving the narrative of the show was the fact that Ross was a fraud. Now that that is finally being eliminated, what are you going to build the show on?
KORSH: We started the show obviously with the premise that Mike was a fraud, and I feel like over the course of the six years we really wrung as much drama as could possibly be wrung out of it. And the good news is that during the course of those six years, so many other things became a part of the show, and it got so many other legs to stand on. Not everyone’s storyline is always emanating from Mike having being a fraud so we’ve got a good base of characters that you care about, people that you love and major things going on in their lives at the end of Season 6.
The big moving forward thing that we try to set up is Mike is coming back to the firm and he’s not just coming back as a fraud or as a consultant. He is now coming back as a full-fledged lawyer, so it gives us a chance to see what life is like in the new phase with him. How are Harvey and Mike going to work together? Our band is back together but they’re different, they’re changed. Mike isn’t a brand new attorney anymore. He’s also not a fraud anymore and how is it going to impact their lives and relationships moving forward under this new dynamic?
Donna, a part of her was awakened and we left her wanting more and that is an open question. Does she mean more work-wise? Does she mean more with Harvey? Season 7 is a platform to explore that a little bit more. We also didn’t get to see what life is going to be like in the firm without Jessica. We got a tease of it, a taste of it over these six (episodes) but because Harvey spent so much time focusing on getting Mike to become legit, this is, okay, now what is the firm like? What is Harvey going to be like with Jessica gone? Is he going to step up and take the reins, and what does that look like? How does Louis react to that? What is Louis going to be like in the aftermath of Tara? As far as Rachel (Meghan Markle) goes, she’s going to be becoming a lawyer.
So it’s like a new start for all of them but it is a launching pad for all of them. That to me is going to be the premise moving forward of Season 7 — what do you do now that you’ve gotten everything you wanted possibly? Harvey’s running the firm. Mike is now a lawyer. Rachel’s a lawyer. What do you do with that?
And then the other thing moving forward is Harvey made a deal with Mike: one for you, one for me, so we definitely explore how does it work being a law firm that serves two masters — pro bono and corporate cases — because we’ve laid some groundwork in the past that a lot of times those things are at odds with each other, and how is that going to play out over the course of Season 7 is another question we deal with.
DEADLINE: Will Mike stick to his promise? Will the clinic be involved in these pro bono cases, and will they go hand in hand with the corporate cases?
KORSH: When we were writing that scene collectively, the idea was that Mike was going to be like, ‘I can include the clinic and bring them in.’ In Mike’s mind he was like, ‘Just in case, if I want to bring the clinic on, I can.’ I don’t know that he is positive he’s going to, but there’s no doubt Mike wants to follow through on this deal. This is a large part of why he was coming back.
Harvey knows you can’t make this deal with Mike and then just expect it to go away. I think what’s going to happen is they didn’t necessarily foresee the consequences of what this deal will mean moving forward, and we definitely explore that with both. We haven’t seen the last of the clinic certainly.
DEADLINE: Mike mentioned that he would like to bring whoever he wants from the clinic, so should we assume that Oliver’s coming over?
KORSH: I don’t think we should assume anything. I don’t know that he is definitely planning on bringing him over but he definitely wants to know that if he wants to bring him over he can. I want to lay the tracks for it. We’re still sort of [on the] early days of Season 7, but there’s no doubt he’s going to ultimately involve them to some degree or another.
DEADLINE: In the last scene in the finale Harvey seemed determined to go for the management partner position, and a few episodes back Louis appeared content with that. Will that still be a source of friction?
KORSH: I don’t think the main source of friction is whether or not Harvey will be managing partner. I agree with you, Louis sort of says he would accept that, even though Harvey said, ‘What do you say we do it together’. I think Louis will be okay with accepting that. He just might not be okay with Harvey’s managing partner style or every decision that Harvey makes in the same way that Louis and Harvey were not okay with every decision Jessica made.
It’s a new role. Harvey has always been a freestyler, he’s been number 2. He’s always had Jessica and the ultimate responsibility of running the firm and keeping it together, which gave Harvey a lot of freedom to behave a certain way. He could be a gunslinger and do wild things because Jessica was always there to rein him in and pick up the slack. Now he’s in that other position, and that’s going to have consequences for him. It’s going to have consequences for Louis, Donna, Mike, Rachel the whole firm. And also he may or may not really want that.
Another thing is, let’s say he’s following in the footsteps of Jessica. Is he going to be worried that he can’t fill her shoes? Because Jessica was a huge force and presence in his life so that’s all going to play out throughout the course of Season 7.
DEADLINE: Speaking of Jessica, how did the decision come together to have her as the final witness at the hearing, as the person who seals the deal, gives Mike his future?
KORSH: For the back six we don’t have a ton of lead time to figure out what we’re going to do. So we wanted to make this premise: the first episode was the aftermath of Jessica leaving and Mike getting out of prison and that led to Harvey reconciling with his mom. And then we got back to the business of the firm in the last four and then it evolved that Harvey had this opportunity to get Mike his law license.
Once we got this idea that he could have this hearing and they could make this somewhat shady deal, the idea was that the last episode was going to be that he’s finally going to have his say in court so to speak or in front of the committee, and the writers’ pitch to me was the surprise entrance of Jessica in the end, and I just loved it.
DEADLINE: Jessica was the grownup keeping Harvey and Louis in check and a larger-than-life character. Will you be bringing a character to fill the void and serve as a counterweight to Harvey and Louis or will you stick with the characters you already have?
KORSH: We talked about bringing someone in — Harvey and Louis deciding to bring in someone above both of them. But I had a hard time wrapping my mind around Harvey bringing in someone to oversee him, so there won’t be that. But the firm towards the end of the season was on an upswing. They hired these new associates and there’s room for them to grow a little bit and bring in a new partner or two, and certainly a new character or two.
So we’re going to be looking into doing that. We haven’t totally landed yet on who those people are going to be, but we have a vague idea of two new significant characters at the firm. In addition to that within the firm, Mike is not a first-year associate anymore; he’s coming in, he’s got Harvey’s office, he’s going to be a counterbalance to the two of them.
Donna is asking for more. What does that mean for her? Is she going to rise in stature as a counterbalance for them? So I feel like what we’re trying to do is bring in new characters to widen the world and bring a different flavor and, in addition, change the dynamics within the firm. Rachel also now a full-fledged attorney so that’s all going on.
The loss of Jessica is not just that she was a force to be reckoned with above them, she also was funny and had humor and could give these guys sh*t and take sh*t from them. We don’t want to lose that, and bringing in a new character that has a sense of humor and can add some fun is always a good thing.
DEADLINE: You mentioned Donna twice. Can you elaborate more on her comments that she doesn’t want the money and wants something. Is being a legal secretary not fulfilling to her any more? What exactly is she after?
KORSH: I had a discussion with Sarah Rafferty about that scene (you can watch it below), and we decided that 10 different people could watch it and come up with 10 different thoughts that were going through Donna’s mind in that moment. I think in that moment it obviously touches on: does she want more with Harvey and, regardless of whether she wants more with Harvey or not, does she want more out of life. And what does she means with ‘I don’t want the money’. I don’t think she means she doesn’t want money, obviously, everybody wants money. I think she got a taste of what she thought was a potentially successful product that she was going to bring to the market and accomplish something. And let’s not forget when she heard those guys laughing at her back in episode 15 about how they would never get into business with a legal secretary. It was a bit of a gut punch. But then she recovered from that, she brought in Stu as an investor and then all of a sudden it turns out they’re getting bought out and she’s not actually going to ever make this product.
So it’s not that she didn’t want the money, it’s that rather than just the money, she wanted to be a business woman and maybe do more and accomplish more. I think she’s gotten a taste of that and that’s what she’s saying. Yes, maybe she’s ready to move beyond being a legal secretary in addition to any other sort of relationship aspects of that conversation that are always going to be there with Harvey. So that’s going to play out in Season 7.
DEADLINE: Louis just can’t catch a break in the romance department. Will things finally start to look up for him next season?
KORSH: Yeah, he can’t catch a break. I don’t know why we keep doing this to Louis, but it just seems to happen that way. I feel like Louis is always two steps forward, one step back type of a character with his growth so this incident with Tara is going to impact him moving forward. But he’s also got a lot of stuff going on at the firm, and we’re trying to make his behavior pattern in Season 7 have a little growth as a result of the whole incident with Tara.
DEADLINE: Will Jessica be popping up again in Season 7?
KORSH: I would never count her out is what I would say. We don’t have specific plans but she’s obviously always a near and dear character of the show and if opportunities arise, we would of course love to bring her back. We’re too early to know yet.