USA has a good history with me, and apart from Fairly Legal, it is the home of some of my favorite shows. The network stands out to me, because they live up to their slogan, “Characters Welcome,” by delivering shows that focus on putting out quality characters, and staying true to those characters no matter what the cost. Moreover, the idea that shows should be fun, whether they are comedy, drama, or something in between, also seems to guide the network as a whole, and while that might not rake in tons of awards, it makes for, I think, great television.
Harvey is a hotshot, arrogant attorney at a major law firm in Manhattan. Mike is a college dropout, who also happens to be a genius. The two run into each other when Mike agrees to make a drop for his drug-dealing friend. Discovering that it’s a setup, Mike ducks into the interview room Harvey is running in order to find a new summer associate. Able to impress Harvey in a matter of minutes, Mike gets the job, despite lacking the law degree one might assume is an absolute must for the job.
Now the pair have to keep the secret, and Harvey has to make sure that keeping the secret is worth something. Mike has to do a lot of adjusting to “regular” life, but believes it will be worth it if he can move on from his “screw up” existence, and help people along the way. Mike soon learns that a photographic memory and high I.Q. only get you so far, and don’t win your case for you, and it’s going to be a lot of actual work if he wants to help the clients he has a tendency to get overly attached to.
The pilot, while slightly overwrought insofar as the “drug friend” angle goes, is among the best I’ve seen in years. The overall presentation is confident, and mixes watchability and likability into the necessary establishment with a precision that is almost beyond compare. Getting to the mid-point of a pilot, and feeling comfortable that you have a hold on the characters is rare. Having it be a positive thing is rarer still. In this case, Harvey is a character that has to temper dislike and still deliver the character honestly, and fleshing that out, in a way that gets viewers attached to him, in one episode is a fairly spectacular feat.
The real hook of the show is that there is more going on in the broad arc than in the episodic casework, something legal shows have tried to balance for as long as they’ve been around. In this case, much as with recent fan and critic favorite, The Good Wife, the character stories inform the play of the cases, and in a way that is interesting and appealing.
A few episodes in, and with some further establishment of the routine and character interplay, this could easily turn into one of the best things out there, and I will definitely be there watching it unfold. If you’re a fan of shows that throw together unique ideas, and fun characters (or anything on USA), you’re going to find this one a real winner. The icing comes by way of the supporting cast, who only get so much time during the pilot, but are sure to impress even more as we keep moving. Rick Hoffman, playing another lawyer at the firm, and one who fires someone in front of Mike on his first day, already shows that he’s a force to be reckoned with when in a supporting role.
Of all the possibilities coming your way, this is the one you don’t want to miss this summer.
From the Producers of Last Summer’s #1 Cable Series COVERT AFFAIRS, Series Stars Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht, Meghan Markle, Gina Torres, Rick Hoffman and Sarah Rafferty
USA Network delivers on its promise to showcase the hottest summer lineup with a special 90 minute premiere of its newest original series SUITS on Thursday, June 23 at 10/9c, followed by eleven one-hour episodes. The series stars Patrick J. Adams (“Lost,” “Friday Night Lights”), Gabriel Macht (“Love and Other Drugs,” “Whiteout”), Meghan Markle (“CSI Miami,” “Fringe”), Gina Torres (“Gossip Girl,” “Huge”), Rick Hoffman (“Samantha Who,” “Knight Rider”) and Sarah Rafferty (“Brothers & Sisters”).
SUITS delves into the fast-paced, high-stakes world of a top Manhattan corporate law firm where hotshot attorney Harvey Specter (Macht) makes a risky move by hiring Mike Ross (Adams), a brilliant but unmotivated college dropout, as his summer associate. As he becomes enmeshed in this unfamiliar world, Mike relies heavily on the firm’s best paralegal Rachel (Markle) and Harvey’s no-nonsense assistant Donna (Rafferty) to help him serve justice. With a photographic memory and the street smarts of a hustler, Mike is a legal prodigy despite the absence of bonafide credentials. Proving to be an irrepressible duo and invaluable to the practice, Mike and Harvey must keep their secret from everyone including managing partner Jessica (Torres) and Harvey’s arch nemesis Louis (Hoffman), who seems intent on making Mike’s life as difficult as possible.
From Universal Cable Productions, SUITS is executive produced Doug Liman (COVERT AFFAIRS, the “Bourne” trilogy, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “The O.C.”) and David Bartis (COVERT AFFAIRS, “The O.C.,” “The Heist”) of Hypnotic. Creator Aaron Korsh (“The Deep End”) wrote the pilot and serves as co-executive producer and Gene Klein (COVERT AFFAIRS) serves as producer. Kevin Bray (WHITE COLLAR, BURN NOTICE, “Walking Tall”) directed the pilot.