In a gleaming high-rise over a glittering skyline, an elevator swoops the unassailable litigators of Specter Litt to their perch over Manhattan ... right? Sorry, but if you're not one for dispelling the magic of show business, you might not want to keep reading this article because, no, Suits -- and much as we want to believe it -- is not real. And Specter Litt is not a real law firm. And guess what? Mike Ross wasn't the only phony lawyer, because they are all actors! But we'll be damned if Suits doesn't have one of the biggest, coolest, most impressive, most immersive, most totally freaking awesome sets in TV history!
In our recent visit to the Suits set in Toronto (sorry, not really New York either...), we were completely blown away by the many interesting, surprising, and hilarious discoveries we made there, such as ...
1. It’s Really, REALLY huge!
Suits may not be shot in Manhattan, but it's about the size of an island! The set doesn't only contain Pearson Specter offices (which comprise three separate sets of their own); it's also where you'll find many other notable places, such as the courtroom and various characters' apartments. "Thing after thing exists," showrunner Aaron Korsh remarked. "It's astonishing."
Gabriel Macht, who plays Harvey Specter, still gets lost. "It's funny," the actor noted. "I've been here now for eight years and there are still times where I look over at one of the ADs and I'd say, 'Where am I going? How do I get there? Do I go through the shop? Do I go the back route?'
2. You'd never believe you were entering the world of Suits from outside.
From the outside of a low, sprawling soundstage in a quiet part of Toronto, you’d never suspect that you’re entering into the sleek world of Specter Litt.
Newcomer Katherine Heigl, who was a Suits superfan before joining the cast as Samantha Wheeler this year, recalled her first visit to the set (and geeking out a little about it).
"I remember coming onto set to do the camera testing, and looked up and was like, 'Oh my God, it's Specter Litt!" Heigl told USA, acknowledging that the outside of the actual building could not be any less Suits-y. "You look outside the building and it doesn't look like it," the actress recalled. "I didn't know where I was walking into; they could be bringing me here to kill me," she joked.
3. The level of detail is incredible.
Everywhere you look, the Suits set has highly detailed rooms and props. We half-expected to open the fridge and find it fully stocked with prunies. (We didn't actually check, so who knows?)
One of the most insanely detailed sets is the Specter Litt file room. "You go into the file room, open up a box, and It will be filled with files that say 'Specter Litt' on them!" Korsh told USA. Now, that's just excessive...
4. They've recreated NYC out the window (and it's kinda mindblowing)!
Similarly, once inside, it doesn't take long for you to forget that you're not really in midtown Manhattan! Outside the fake windows of the firm is an enormous backdrop of the New York City skyline on a huge wraparound curtain. "The shower curtain, as I like to call it," quipped Sarah Rafferty, who stars as Donna Paulsen. "The most incredible shower curtain that transforms us, transports us."
Rick Hoffman, the actor who plays Louis Litt, warns that if you get too close to the skyline, you might be "a little let down," because geographically, it doesn't exactly match up to real life (we're pretty sure we saw the same building twice) and everything's a little scrunched together to avoid showing any gaps. But, still, it's enough to make you believe you're really in the Big Apple!
5. It seriously feels like a real office.
"It's really crazy," said Heigl. "I think I always assumed they were filming in an actual building; I didn't think it was a set." And it certainly doesn't feel like a set. The hallway is a long circular walk that's close in scale to a real Manhattan office building.
Hoffman explained how everything about the office feels real, "aside from the elevators not really working -- but you feel like they almost do when you're in them."
6. The phony degrees are hysterical!
Guess what? Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) wasn’t the only person with a phony Harvard degree. Upon scrutiny, none of the degrees on the walls of Specter Litt look even remotely legit -- most don’t even say “Harvard!”
For Dulé Hill, it was a trip to see Alex Williams' law degree on the wall. “I really enjoyed seeing all the different Harvard phony degrees," Hill shared. "That was probably one of the first things I took a picture of -- a picture of my Harvard degree!”
7. There are some hilarious entries in Harvey’s record collection.
We know Harvey Specter is the king of cool -- and he's got the record collection to prove it. Heck, his father was a famous bluesman! So we were tickled pick to pull out some of the more ... surprising items from the collection.
"You can have endless fun with those albums in there," Rafferty laughed. "I mean, what estate sale were these at? I'm like, 'whose basement got raided?'"
8. Those glass walls move out of the way!
Ever wonder how Suits pulls off those tricky shots where the camera seems to go right through a glass wall and into someone's office? Turns out, those glass walls are all modular and can be moved around. "It's really amazing," remarked Amanda Schull, who plays Katrina Bennett. "They have their work cut out for themselves because they have the glass surrounding every single office on both sides."
9. Each office has little Easter eggs about its character.
Harvey’s office is the most detailed, but the others are also highly specific -- not to mention fun little reflections of the characters who inhabit them.
In addition to Norma’s urn in Louis Litt’s office, you’ll find pictures around the room -- and all of them are of Louis!
In Donna's new office, you'll be sure to find nods to her personal life, including collected works of various playwrights that harken back to her theater days.
"I have a fun plaque on my desk," said Rafferty, "which is from Shakespeare and makes total sense for Donna. It says, 'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.' I kind of love that. It's been on her desk since she was in the cubicle."
10. There are names on doors of people you’ve never heard of.
Walking through the halls of Specter Litt, you notice a lot of unfamiliar names printed on glass doors not belonging to our partners or beloved COO. It's as though they're only there for the benefit of the cast and crew. "You don't really get a chance to see them on the show," Hill shared, "but there are all these names on the outside of each office. Who are these partners?!"
11. Harvey’s basketballs are decoys!
One thing we heard on set (though we haven't corroborate it with Aaron Korsh...yet) is that Harvey Specter's office used to contain basketballs with real autographs from celebrity players, but the star balls have since been moved to a new locale. Now, there are decoy basketballs in Harvey's office while the valuables live with Korsh. Like everything else on the Suits set, you coulda fooled us!
Season 8 of Suits airs Wednesdays at 9/8c. Watch the season premiere here!