[Warning: Contains Spoilers for the Season Six Premiere of Suits, "To Trouble"]
Time to get Litt up! Suits is back, baby! And season six kicked off with an episode that had the perfect mix of drama, laughs, and shocking twists. And if you're a regular Suits viewer, you noticed that this week's premiere did something the show has never tried before -- the entire episode took place during a single night (it was a continuation of the season five finale, which showed Harvey dropping Mike off at the gates of the Danbury Penitentiary). And so while Mike was settling with his new "cell mate" Frank Gallo, the partners were having a night to remember in their own right.
USA Network chatted with Suits creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh about the season premiere, including this interesting narrative choice, the episode's comedic moments, and why Louis is still clutch.
USA Network: We’ve never seen a Suits episode that takes place all in one night in a single episode. Was that something you had wanted to do for a while?
Aaron Korsh: No, we come back every year and we just kinda brainstorm what we're going to do for the season and I didn't want to skip over Mike entering into prison. I thought it was something we wanted to see visually and then somehow I was like, "Well, if we can't skip over that moment, what's happening with the rest of the people? Everybody just left the firm, and we're in big trouble. This firm is going to live or die tonight." So that notion of making it all take place in one night sort of just gathered steam as we started thinking more and more specifically about it.
It was a risk and we could have skipped over this episode easily and done everything we're going to do this season starting with episode two, but once we decided that Mike was in prison with the guy Harvey put away, that's a huge twist. So that started to develop, and the idea of the first episode being like two different plays going on at the same time just started to emerge and took shape.
USA Network: I love that Louis is the one who comes up with the ultimate solution to the firm’s dilemma at the end of the episode. We always see Louis being silly but you reminded us that he’s a brilliant lawyer and can come up with brilliant solutions -- even after smoking a joint.
Aaron Korsh: It's very funny that you say that and I think the network and studio are good at reminding us that Louis can be very buffoonish -- or certainly comedic -- in a lot of ways. What we try to do is make him buffoonish or comedic in his emotions -- not tactically or in his ability to think intelligently as a lawyer. So, it's really his emotions that get in the way of him, not his legal savvy. And sometimes his emotions can override his legal savvy, but he's not an idiot. And so we always try to remind ourselves that if he were just a buffoon, he wouldn't be where he is.
We tend to think of Louis as the finance guy, so I think when we were talking about, "We don't need to move it, we need to use it," that sort of intersection of money and law is one of Louis’ best things. We didn't really think we needed to give this to Louis; it just seems like it would be Louis who would come up with that.
USA Network: You remind me that Louis is also doing the best financially of the three main partners, so even though the reveal that Louis has the most money is a funny moment, it also comes from a real place of him being financially savvy.
Aaron Korsh: Well, as I was answering your question, I was thinking the same thing. They do tie in together. Yes, Louis is cheap. But, look, part of being cheap when you make a lot of money is probably you're going to have a lot of money, right? He understands investing and business, and we just thought it would be hysterical. If you were to think who of the three of these people would have more money. You'd think it would be Harvey and/or Jessica. I would probably think Jessica first, then Harvey, then Louis. Harvey maybe spends his money a little more freely. But it is an interesting character reveal to be like A) he's cheap, he probably invests his money rather than spends it, and B) probably invests very well.
I love Louis so much because he's the only character who has these sort of elements to him. To be able to, in the same breath, be buffoonish and intelligent is a rare gift to have in a character.
USA Network: One of the best scenes of the episode is with Jessica and Rachel, where Jessica's sitting in her old cube. It's very poignant as Jessica says to Rachel, "For women, the rules are different.” Jessica usually doesn't talk like that in the show, so what was the decision to have her walls break down with Rachel in that moment?
Aaron Korsh: Well, part of it had to go with the impetus of the episode. The firm had collapsed and tonight is basically the night that they need to decide if they're going to come together as a family and try to re-inflate this collapsed life raft -- or are they going to let the firm disappear? Look, if Harvey, Louis, Jessica, Rachel, Donna had said, "You know what? Let's fold up this firm, let's move on with our lives, and go”... none of their lives would be ruined.
It's really a question of, “Are they going to choose to stick together as a family tonight?" So I think, after the blow-up that Harvey and Louis had in front of Jessica when Rachel gives them all big dose of reality, Louis still comes to Jessica and gets upset with her. She reveals, "I'm not sure if I want to fight this fight anymore." So Louis takes Jessica’s reaction very personally and says, "I knew it. You like Harvey more than me." And it just leads her to this place, like, "How did I get here? Why did this firm disappear?"
Obviously, they hired a fraud and everybody left. But I think she thinks a large part of it is that people maybe aren’t as allegiant to her because she is a woman. And as woman you can't be warm because you will be weak. You have to be strong, but if you are strong then it means you're cold. So when the chips are down, people are going to leave you. I think it's the interactions with Louis and Harvey, Louis individually, plus everybody leaving, that lead her to be vulnerable here. Because she's really deciding, "Do I want to do this anymore with these guys?"
Rachel just happens to catch her when she's in that moment. We definitely, already in the past, built up a little bit of a burgeoning mentor-mentee relationship between them and this continued it.
USA Network: So is it safe to assume that, going forward in the next few episodes, their personal differences have been pretty much resolved?
Aaron Korsh: I do think they're all on the same page in the end. I do not think that means they're not going to have any conflicts for the year. It's just how it is. Sometimes, you have to have these things out. Even with an NBA team, every once in awhile, they have conflict, but the players meet and work things out. That's what this is. It doesn't mean you never have it again. But I do believe that moving forward, we're not getting into battle for control of the firm anymore.
USA Network: It’s great to have so much humor in this episode also -- and one of the biggest sources is the IT guy Benjamin. At what point did you realize you were going to write him into this episode?
Aaron Korsh: When we were doing this, the tough part was that, at least for me, I wanted it to have some plot twist and turns that would keep us compelled. I didn't want it to solely be emotional themes. You need a spine and some bones. The emotional scenes that you show are your flesh and muscle, but you need some structure.
So that's why we brought in the delivery guy and we had them served with the lawsuits. You needed some information to be brought in to move things forward. That's where the idea of needing some plot injections came from.
I love Benjamin as a character. When we first came up with him, he was going to be a one-off thing and then we just loved him as an character and actor. We all discussed it like, "Benjamin wouldn't leave, right? Louis just must have missed him and is sort of going through the firm. Maybe he was just outside getting some bacon or something like that, whatever it was."
In my mind Benjamin is as loyal to the firm as Louis is, so we were just like, "Wow, what if it was Benjamin, then?" A) Comedically shows up and B) later can tell them they're being hacked. So, it was just a happy circumstance of events. It's always good to remember the people who inhabit your world.
If my life was the star of a TV show, you would sometimes see me interacting with the props people in Canada -- not on a regular basis because most of the time, I'm in Los Angeles -- and sometimes you'll see me talking to the set designers up there or the wardrobe. I don't have a lot of "scenes" with them? But they're real people who exist and work on this show and they pour their hearts into it, be it the casting director, whoever they is. So, sometimes to revive those people it keeps your world seeming real because the truth is that's how it works.
Suits is back with a new episode next Wednesday, July 20, at 9/8c. See a preview here!