Suits is a slick, engaging drama that is essential viewing for anyone who likes great characterisation, witty dialogue and a dynamic duo. The show tells the story of former reprobate turned lawyer Mike Ross. Having dropped out of law school because of finances, Mike makes use of his eidetic memory by taking the LSAT for anyone willing to pay him. In an attempt to avoid a drug sting Mike accidentally bursts into interviews for law firm Pearson Harman. Impressed by Mike’e encyclopaedic legal knowledge Harvey decides to hire him, despite his lack of law degree. What follows is televisual gold.
The show follows Mike (Patrick J. Adams) as he acts as legal associate to Harvey (Gabriel Macht), and his attempts to navigate the harsh legal world. Each episode looks at different cases, each with their own problems for Mike deal with. Alongside this runs his continuing battle to convince of his supposed Harvard law degree, and deal with the vindictive head of associates, Lewis Litt.
Mike and Harvey are a perfect duo. Their witty banter adds a texture to the show, as neither is intellectually superior – instead their verbal sparring is excellent to hear. Mike’s transformation from an out of his depth former criminal (albeit without the record) to a slick associate throughout the series is engaging, but what makes his character is that he retains his heart. Some of the most touching scenes in the show come from moments that Mike spends alone with his grandmother, the woman who raised him after his parents died. He doesn’t turn into the cynical money making machine that Harvey is, instead forging his own path mentored by the older lawyer. That is not to say that Harvey is one dimensional, the deep subtleties in his characterisation, and the softness which is occasionally shown is a credit to the writers, and to Gabriel Macht’s acting ability.
The two men may be central, but the show has a creditable cast of supporting characters, who are mainly women. Legal secretary Donna Paulson and paralegal Rachel Zane both figure prominently throughout the series. Donna, played by Sarah Raffety, is sharp and witty, and is often the person who puts Harvey into his place when he most needs it. A favourite of mine, she constantly reminds of the power of the secretaries in businesses like Pearson Hardman. It is also refreshing to see a woman in charge – Jessica Pearson, played by the fantastic Gina Torres (no stranger to a strong character – she played Zoe in Firefly), is a no holds barred, badass leader who has no qualms in overruling the dominant character of Harvey.
The antagonism in the first series comes chiefly from two places: junior partner Lewis Litt, and Mike’s former friend and drug dealer, Trevor. Each provides a threat to Mike from differing angles. As the partner in charge of associates Lewis objects to the special interest Harvey takes in Mike, and seems set on making his life at Pearson Hardman a misery, while Trevor brings the threat of Mike’s secret being revealed, as he knows Mike’s past dealings.
Suits is a fascinating demonstration of smart TV done well. Nothing is dumbed down, and the audiences engage in the intelligence and wit of all of the characters. Not one to miss, season three will start in the UK next year, so now is the time to catch up on the boxsets of the first two seasons.
Suits is distributed by Universal Pictures UK and is rated 12.