[Warning: Contains Spoilers for Suits Episode 816]
We love Robert Zane and, of course, we love-love Wendell Pierce, so it was a bittersweet turn of events in the Suits season finale when Zane -- in order to protect Harvey and the firm -- gives himself up as an act of redemption.
USA Network chatted with Suits boss Aaron Korsh about his decision to write Zane out of the firm, which was both logistical in nature and also critical to the plot of Episode 816.
“First and foremost, we did it for a logistical reason,” Korsh explained. “Part of the problem is when you have amazing actors who are not series regulars on your show, they're often series regulars -- or in high demand -- on other shows… and then we were told that he would be unavailable to us next year from March until mid-July or something like that, and that it would not be a situation where sometimes we could fly him up for a day or two.” Without Pierce’s availability, it seemed as though Suits wouldn’t be able to shoot with him with any kind of guaranteed regularity for the final season. “So I thought there was no choice but to write Robert Zane out.”
How to tackle Robert Zane’s story
Next up, Korsh and team had to figure out the best course of action for Zane’s character. When they caught Louis’s mugger in the Season 8 finale, it gave the showrunner an idea.
“I remembered in episode four, the original mugger story,” said Korsh, “Samantha told Louis that when it happened to her, Robert Zane was there for her, and Louis asked how, and she said, ‘It's not important.’ So I thought, ‘How about -- if you're going to bring up the mugger -- it ignites the history of what they had?’”
In the finale, we learn that Zane had set up Samantha’s mugger, which landed the assailant in prison -- and eventually led to his murder. “Zane has been feeling guilty about it ever since,” Korsh explained. “It just reignites these things for him, and then he uses it as an opportunity to redeem himself and take the bullet for Harvey. So, it just all worked out really nicely, and I do think it gave us an opportunity to explore both him and, in particular, Samantha. It's kind of like in episode 810, we explored what she did for him, and then in 816, we explore what he did for her.”
(Speaking of Zane, here's one of our favorite scenes with him and Harvey, trading movie quotes:)
So what does this mean for next season?
When Suits returns for its ninth and final season later this year, fans are going to see the aftermath of Zane’s departure -- especially as it relates to Samantha, who has lost her mentor, and to Donna and Harvey, whose actions essentially caused this.
“Robert Zane just got chucked out of the bar,” noted Korsh, “and he got chucked out of the bar for something that basically Donna did for Harvey. Or something Donna and Harvey did, and Samantha knows that, and by the way, Louis knows it, and Alex knows it, and Katrina, we can say, knows it. So, they're gonna have their challenges of communication within a firm that has taken a hit due to the two of them.”
Speaking of the Season 8 finale, Aaron Korsh shared what led to him finally getting Donna and Harvey together in our exclusive interview here!