A different format for the show following the events of season three, but it has not lost is signature charm and the new characters are certainly promising.
The events at the end of season 3, which saw Mike (Patrick J. Adams) leave Pearson-Specter and join Jonathan Sidwell (Brandon Firla) at his investment banking firm, suggested the new season would see a big change of direction for the show. Each episode would no longer centre around Mike and Harvey’s (Gabriel Macht) attempts to hide the former’s shady past, Mike and Rachel (Meghan Markle) would no longer have to balance work and home life, and most significantly, the two leads would no longer be working cases together. However, although the changes are certainly significant, they have not changed the format of the show as much as fans may have expected.
As soon as the episode begins we learn that not everything is going to plan for Mike. His tendency to prioritise the client’s well-being over his own potential economic gain is not impressing his boss and he is ordered to shape up or leave. In an attempt to prove a point he decides to go after Gillis Industries, a huge company that is way above what would usually be expected from him. However, he needs help, and this is where Harvey and co come in.
Now that Sidwell’s firm is a client of Pearson-Specter, Mike’s role gives him some pseudo-superiority, something that Harvey does not take well. This means that Mike has the upper hand in arguments about how to approach cases, leaving Harvey little option but to oblige. It is in these exchanges that the familiar witty humour thankfully appears, as it could have been something that was lost amongst the drastic plot changes. However, the high number of scenes that feature the two characters arguing makes the humour feel a little forced, leaving a short amount of time to see how Mike is coping in his new working environment. It would have been refreshing to see Mike and Harvey become involved in this way with new people but it would have been a risk to change the winning formula too much.
The most important change in Suits over the previous three seasons came half way through the third where the focus moved from cases outside the firm to the lives of the main characters. This seems to have continued into season 4. Rachel is now attempting to balance school, work, and her relationship with Mike and it seems to be going well until Logan Sanders (Brendan Hines) returns to her life. Logan is a young man who has inherited his father’s very successful business and he is after the same thing as Mike, Gillis Industries. Also, Rachel has revealed that she once had an affair with Logan when he was married, something that does not seem to bother Mike. However, Rachel is going to be working closely with Logan whilst he fights her other half for control of the same company. The combination of two big egos and their history will surely be a strain on young couple’s relationship. Logan’s introduction is a smart move by the show’s creators as it has the potential to affect the main characters in a number of disasterous ways. Now that they do not have to worry about Mike’s secret, their relationship has to be strained in another way.
A few other new characters have also been introduced for season four. Jeff Malone is a hot-shot lawyer who has effectively hired himself to fight off the S.E.C’s investigations but he is also in a romantic relationship with Jessica. It is great to see that Gina Torres’ character has finally been given a storyline of her own, rather than being a someone who is relegated to the sidelines in cases, despite her position in the firm. It is be interesting to see if they can balance their workplace and home relationships as the show moves forward. Jeff is also a cause of frustration for Louis, who felt he would be the best one to be given the responsibility of protecting the firm. Unfortunately, it feels as if this storyline will play out in the same way as every one involving Louis does. He will inevitably: get his hopes up that he is finally being respected; mess it up for himself or be ignored; and then save the day when all seems lost only to be rewarded with something less that he initially hoped for. This same story arc is starting to become tiresome so hopefully the creators will develop the story to make the best of an excellent character. Mike’s assistant Amy is the final new character that has been introduced for the new season. Disappointingly she is just a younger version of Donna, who knows everything, sees everything and confidently controls her boss. It would have been good to have her bring something new to the show but she is entertaining nevertheless.
In short, it was always going to be interesting to see how the producers dealt with such a huge change to the main plot line. The new episode shows they have successfully changed the dynamic of the characters relationships without losing the show’s signature charm and wit, even if some of the attempts to keep it familiar seem a little forced. However, it is the way that new characters have been woven into the existing characters’ already complex lives that is the most promising elements of the new episode. Hopefully it will take the drama to new heights as the season progresses without losing the lighthearted nature of the show.
Suits is broadcast at 10pm, Thursdays on Dave.