Suits - Gina Torres

USA Network’s Suits is officially a franchise with two shows. The network has given a series order to a spinoff from the long-running legal drama, which is toplined by the mothership series’ alumna Gina Torres and centers on her character, powerhouse lawyer Jessica Pearson, as she enters the dirty world of Chicago politics.

“Gina’s portrayal of Jessica Pearson as one of television’s strongest, most successful businesswomen has made a huge impact with fans,” said Chris McCumber, President of Entertainment Networks at NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “We can’t wait to explore this next chapter in the Suits legacy – and a brand-new world for Jessica.”

The pickup comes ahead of the airing of the the Season 7 finale of Suits, which serves as a backdoor pilot for the spinoff.  The pilot was written by Suits creator and executive producer Aaron Korsh and executive producer Daniel Arkin, and was directed by Suits alum Anton Cropper  The new series, which hails from Universal Cable Prods., is executive produced by Korsh, showrunner Arkin, Torres and Suits executive producers Doug Liman, David Bartis and Gene Klein of Hypnotic.

“It was an extraordinary pleasure working with Gina on Suits for six years,” said Korsh. “Beyond her undeniable talent, she is an incredible partner and collaborator, and I always hoped we would work together again. I am sincerely grateful to USA and UCP for giving Dan Arkin, my producing partners at Hypnotic and me the opportunity to continue Jessica Pearson’s journey in this new series that will encapsulate all that our fans love about her and Suits – but with its own distinct story that will be unique to the franchise.”

Suits and its spinoff will co-exist as the mothership series recently was renewed for an eighth season without two of its original stars, Patrick J. Adams and future British royal Meghan Markle. Returning cast members Gabriel Macht, Rick Hoffman and Sarah Rafferty will be joined by Dulé Hill, who is being promoted to a series regular after recurring this season, and new addition Katherine Heigl.

“What’s wonderful about USA is how they have brought all this together and have really embraced me not just an an actress but also as a producer,” Torres said, noting the big responsibility the team of the spinoff is taking on. “The audience that is watching [Suits] holds us to a golden standard that we hope to meet and, in our wildest dreams, maybe push the envelope up.”

Jessica Pearson, originally introduced as managing partner of one of New York City’s top corporate law firms, left to follow her heart to Chicago in Season 6’s midseason finale. In the Season 7 finale airing April 25, Harvey Specter (Macht), Mike Ross (Adams), Louis Litt (Hoffman), Donna Paulsen (Rafferty) and Rachel Zane (Markle) with reunite with their old boss and friend Pearson as she adjusts to her new life in the Windy City. When she is forced to enter the dirty world of Chicago politics, Pearson must rely on her legal wits and valiant relationships from Pearson Specter Litt to navigate this unknown territory

“Fans of Suits have come to know Jessica as this confident, kick-ass attorney who is always five steps ahead of everyone, but that’s only 5-10% of the entirety of this woman,” Torres said. “What is wonderful is that the audience will be treated to not just the great television expected of Suits but also peek into Jessica’s world.”

Torres called the backdoor pilot “is a setup, a recipe not just for entertaining but interesting, thought-provoking television.” “We want to talk today’s topics and really go in and do some commentary and entertain at the same time.”

Torres is repped by Framework Entertainment, Domain Talent and Schreck Rose.