I am a person who does not give up on a show, no matter how many off seasons it might have (see also: Five seasons of Fear the Walking Dead, eight seasons of Dexter, and seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy, for example). If I make it through the second season, I am invariably in for the long haul, and I rarely go for those “I Quit” posts because a television writer cannot write about a series he no longer watches.
That brings us to Suits, a television show that really had no business airing for nine seasons, but as one of the highest rated shows on the network, it has the honor of outliving all of the other series from USA Network’s “Characters Are Welcome” era. The series, however, limps into its final season down three series regulars from the early years — Gina Torres (now on a Suits spin-off, Pearson; Patrick J. Adams (who will be returning for an arc in the final season); and Meghan Markle, who married a Royal — and a popular recurring character played by Wendell Pierce, written out of the final season due to scheduling issues.
Meanwhile, the series itself barely clings to the case-of-the-week procedural framework that motored the first several seasons, instead opting to create a sort of law-firm Game of Thrones: Who will lead the firm? Who will become partner? How will they stave off takeovers? There have been extended storylines about who would be the managing partner of the firm (and at this point, there have been at least five managing partners), and last season was devoted almost entirely to who would become a name partner: Alex Williams (Dulé Hill) or Samantha Wheeler (Katherine Heigl), and after all the conflict over which character would get her name on the door, Suits ended up giving it to them both, which would have been a really frustrating season finale if we actually cared about whose name was on the door.
This final season sees a sort of battle over whether Harvey, Donna, and Louis Litt can even keep the firm alive. In the opening episode, the partners all wrestled with whether to keep Robert Zane’s name on the door after he was disbarred for taking the fall over an ethical violation committed by Harvey and Donna. However, the decision was ultimately taken out of their hands when the New York bar handed control of the firm to Faye Richardson (Denise Crosby), who is given the power to make all the decisions for the firm (this is not a practice I have ever heard of, but then again, Donna used to be the secretary of the law firm and now she’s the COO and partner and Rachel somehow managed to get her law degree from Columbia in a year while working as a paralegal, so it’s not like Suits is based in legal reality). Richardson is cold and controlling, and so far this season has been almost entirely about trying to wrest control away from her, even if it requires using unethical means. There are also clients, but they’re mostly MacGuffins. The lawyers in Suits do not exist to argue cases, they exist to argue with each other over the right to argue those cases.
And yet, even in its final season as it runs through the sixth or seventh variation of the same storyline, Suits still manages to be infinitely watchable. It’s like a Fast & Furious movie: The writing is bad and the storylines are illogical, but “it’s all about the family.” Every episode sees a different pairing of lawyers squabble and yell at each other, engage in jurisdictional pissing matches, and try to one up one another, but at the end of every episode. they always make up and come back “to the family.” This season finally also sees Donna and Harvey as a couple, but it’s not that different from previous seasons, because even when they weren’t a “romantic” couple, the two have always been a couple. Ultimately, it may not be great television, but when you’ve been watching a show for nine years, you sort of feel like part of that dysfunctional, yelling, argumentative family of lawyers who have no idea how to actually practice the law.