April 12, 2014

THE SKED Season Finale Review: “Suits”


The short back “half” of SUITS’ Season 3 was surprisingly intense.  With only 6 episodes in play, the show stepped away from its usual super-complex litigations where everyone double-bluffs and triple-crosses everyone else on a weekly basis, and instead focused more deeply than usual on its central characters.  In particular, the series returned to the ramifications of its central storyline:  the fact that hero Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) was hired by mentor Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) as a lawyer without ever having attended law school or passed the bar.

That decision, apart from setting the series in motion, has led to a succession of cover-ups and scams, and a variety of secrets kept and disclosed, troubling the relationships among the show’s characters.  It culminated in the season 3 finale, written by series creator Aaron Korsh and Co-Executive Producer Daniel Arkin, and directed by Michael Smith, which–unless Korsh swiftly undoes it at the start of Season 4–constituted a genuine game-changer:  Mike quitting the practice of law and Pearson Specter to become an investment banker.  As the final scene made clear, in his new capacity, Mike will now be a client of the firm, so Suits will still exist, but it will be a somewhat different animal when it resumes next summer.

All of this was good for the actors, who were able to move beyond what can sometimes become a monotony of You think you’re a step ahead of me, but really I’ve been three steps ahead of you all along dialogue.  Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), often relegated to comedy relief, had a particularly strong run of hours, with a heart attack, an engagement (swiftly broken, and not in a joking way) and an increasingly close approach to Mike’s secret giving him more substance and even gravity.  When the finale episode put Mike into federal custody because of a contrived (and thus potentially fraudulent) settlement in the lawsuit from the first half of the season–it was presumably unintentionally humorous that the fed who arrested Mike was played by Zeljko Ivanek, recently an obsessed fed on Banshee–Louis was the one who ultimately rode to the rescue.

The relationship between Mike and Harvey was also deepened, a reminder of how the series had veered off-course early in the season when the two of them were at loggerheads.  Although Suits is in the end about its men, there were strong scenes for senior partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), Mike’s girlfriend and firm paralegal Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) and Harvey’s all-knowing secretary Donna (Sarah Rafferty).  The writing staff’s commitment to the saga of Harvey’s romance with old flame and recent partner (and now ex-partner, in both senses) Dana Scott (Abigail Spencer) always seemed ambivalent at best, and it was no surprise to see her exit by the finale.

After a fall mini-season that was relatively weak, taking episodes to bring Harvey and Mike back together and then heaping on enough plot machinations in the major lawsuit to fuel a season of Game of Thrones (well, an episode or two), Suits showed its strength in these winter hours, with characters who are stingingly smart but not necessarily wise, and an enormously talented cast capable of delivering the repartee.

Suits‘ ratings have been merely OK this season, but still as good or better than just about all of USA’s other originals, and Season 4 is already underway.  It’s reinforced its place as the class of the network’s original line-up.


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."