USA Network’s ‘Suits’ Is The Best Show that Smart People Aren’t Talking About This Summer

By: 08.07.12

Macht plays Harvey Specter, a senior partner at Pearson & Hardman. Suits is not a courtroom drama; most of it takes place in conference rooms and is focused on the gamesmanship of settlements. Harvey is considered the best closer in New York City, a guy that turns cases into high-stakes poker games that he always wins. The first season is largely centered on his relationship with Mike Ross (Patrick Adams), whose high-concept hook is that he can remember everything he’s ever read, a skill that allowed him to pass the bar despite never having gone to law school. Harvey brings him into the firm, and the two build an elaborate fabricated backstory about his years at Harvard Law to keep him on as an associate.

Much of the first season tension revolved around whether Harvey and Mike would get away with it, but as its settled into the second season, the fact that Mike doesn’t have a law degree has become an afterthought. Instead, the focus has shifted to the office dynamics and the relationships between the characters. Harvey and Mike’s relationship is not exactly a Franklin-and-Bash bromance: It’s a mentor/mentee relationship with a lot of built in respect and admiration. Meanwhile, Mike wants to be involved with a (superf—inghot) paralegal (Meghan Markle), but their working relationship keeps them apart. There’s some sexual tension between Harvey and his secretary, Donna (Sarah Rafferty), but most of the stress in their relationship centers on Donna’s ability to keep Harvey in check and protect him from his own ego.

In fact, the fulcrum upon which this season rests is a very simple one: In an earlier case, Donna failed to spot a document that the plaintiff should have been privy to. Harvey is sued by an nemesis for covering up the document. Donna discovers the document and shreds it without Harvey’s knowledge. Harvey thus faces disbarment, which puts the position of his mentor, the firm’s managing partner, Jessica Pearson (Firefly’s Gina Torres) at risk from Daniel Hardman, who is trying to dethrone Pearson in an office coup d’état. Meanwhile the firm’s Littlefinger, Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), is playing all sides in an effort to promote his own interests.

Amidst all of this, showrunner Aaron Korsh still manages to squeeze in a few monster-of-the-week cases, so to speak, to keep those not immediately involved with the firm’s power dynamic occupied and the viewer entertained.

Nothing about Suits, of course, is altering the television landscape, and the show is certainly not any threat to television’s heavier dramas. However, over the course of the series, it’s become a rock-solid show, one that’s willing to challenge the ADHD of the typical USA Network viewer. It’s not a show that’s going to turn heads or win awards, but it’s a confident show with strong characters, compelling storylines, and enough suspense to ensure that episodes won’t pile up in your DVRs. Truthfully, I kind of love it.

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