March 7, 2014

THE SKED Midseason Premiere Review: “Suits”


SUITS:  Thursday 9PM on USA

SUITS has returned from its lengthy fall/winter hiatus for the short 6-episode back “half” of its third season, and for a series usually in love with byzantine complications, reversals and twists, it was an unusually straightforward episode.

The hour, written by Story Editor Erica Lipez and directed by Cherie Nowlan, picked up with September’s cliffhanger, as Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) moved closer to discovering Mike Ross’s (Patrick J. Adams) great secret:  that he never attended Harvard or any other law school, never took the bar exam, and is practicing law illegally–a fact, admittedly, that every other series regular has been let in on, with mentor Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), Harvey’s assistant Donna (Sarah Rafferty), the firm’s managing partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), and Mike’s girlfriend, paralegal Rachel (Meghan Markle) all knowing or finding out over the course of 2 1/2 seasons.  Louis, though, is the series troublemaker, with longheld grudges against both Harvey and Mike, so his knowledge would be different.  The episode kicked the can of his suspicions along in a start-and-stop way, with Donna doing what she could to push him off the scent more than once, but it ended with him doggedly noticing that Mike had supposedly received an A+ from a professor famous for never giving them.

That storyline will eventually go someplace, but Louis is more fun when he’s smart than when he’s dumb, and the hour mostly had him on the dumb side, as Donna manipulated him with little effort and we found out more about how arousing he finds it to be slapped in bed than we needed to know.  The Harvey and Mike plots were more emotional.  The show is pushing forward (for now) with Harvey’s entering into a serious relationship with Scottie (Abigail Spencer), his former ex, who’s now slated to be a partner at Pearson Specter, and the two continued to test each other’s level of commitment in scenes that gave Macht and Spencer plenty to play.  Mike, for his part, had a case involving the lawyer who’d talked his grandmother into a low settlement after his parents had died in a car accident years earlier, which made Mike take it very personally–especially when the lawyer revealed that Mike’s father had been drinking on the night of the accident–until Mike did the right thing by, if not forgiving the other lawyer, helping guide his suit toward a more liable party.  Mike also had a B story that traced his and Rachel’s moderately charming steps toward moving in together.

None of this was Suits at its sometimes-dazzling best, but it was for the most part sharply written and enjoyable, and it put the season’s pieces back into motion for the remaining episodes that will air over the next month or so.  From USA’s point of view, Suits‘ most important task (it’s already been renewed for Season 4) will be to serve as lead-in for the first several weeks of the network’s Sirens, the first half-hour show USA has launched in some time.  As we noted earlier, the new series is clearly outclassed by its lead-in.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."