February 22, 2013



SUITS didn’t have a winter season this year so much as it had the stub of its fall season, just 6 episodes that seemed to be what was left over from the real season after an overlong holiday break.  That scheduling glitch may have contributed to the general feeling of letdown that accompanied the second part of Season 2, but the show itself was responsible as well.  And unfortunately, tonight’s season finale, written by series creator Aaron Korsh and directed by John Scott, may have been the weakest of the season.

One problem was a sudden shift in villains.  After an enthralling season spent vying against the evil, ingenious Daniel Hardman (wonderfully played by Dave Constabile), he was abruptly snuffed out as a threat last week, and all at once we were supposed to care about Pearson Hardman’s merger with an oh-so-politely mean-spirited British firm, a plotline that only lacked Jared Harris as the late great Lane Pryce to feel like full-fledged outtakes from Mad Men.  There was so much double, triple and quadruple crossing going on between Harvey (Gabriel Macht), Jessica (Gina Torres), British firm head Edward Darby (Conleth Hill) and his junior partner (and Harvey’s ex) Dana Scott (Abigail Spencer)–with our hero Mike (Patrick J. Adams) in the middle of it all–that it was all more exhausting than entertaining.  You could barely even keep track of who was out-maneuvering who and why.  This was particularly true because the story was irritatingly vague, revolving around suits Harvey brought against Darby’s clients that were never explained (nor was it clear how Jessica could possibly be representing Darby’s clients against Harvey, when they both work at the same firm), as well as the unspecified contents of two crucial files that were like the mysteriously glowing briefcase in Pulp Fiction.  Also, the emotional stakes were supposed to be enriched by Harvey’s trust issues vis a vis Dana (they trace back to his adulterous mother), but since we barely knew Dana, we couldn’t tell when she was telling the truth or why we were supposed to care.  Everything in the episode was three times as complicated as it needed to be, with what seemed like a loop of characters furiously accusing other characters of not trusting them (usually when they were in the midst of lying or scheming against those characters).

It all felt like Korsh frantically trying to force his pieces into a maximum state of tumult for next season, and he more or less accomplished that, what with all the major characters in an unsettled state and mostly pissed off with each other, and the effects of the merger yet to be felt, but none of it was very satisfying as a finale.

Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) and his journey to full characterhood also took a step back, as he spent most of the episode engaging in silly banter with his British counterpart over the qualities of global mud (no, really), while Donna (the invaluable Sarah Rafferty) had to insist yet again that no, she’s really truly not in love with Harvey.  The only story arc that had some satisfying resolution was the relationship between Mike and Rachel (Meghan Markle), which had a bang-up (so to speak) finale as he finally confessed that he was a fraud, followed by some angry sex that really pushed the USA Network boundaries.

Suits is easily the best, smartest, most irresistibly watchable show on USA, and for that matter one of the best on non-AMC, non-FX basic cable, and it proved that fact for most of its second season.   (Pleasantly enough, it’s also USA’s biggest hit.)  Even in its faltering last couple of hours, it was always impeccably performed, and individual scenes were often sharply written.  Hopefully these last episodes were the result of Korsh and his team fumbling to accomplish too much too quickly as the season neared its end.  With several months to plan for Season 3 (scheduled to begin next summer), there should be ample opportunity to calm things down and come up with a satisfying plan going forward.  Season finales are never the best time for blips in quality, but Suits has earned a bit of disarray.


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."