It’s true what they say -- that the more things change, the more they stay the same. And so, to Suitors who’ve been wondering what to expect when their show returns this Wednesday, here’s what we can tell you: yes, there have been a lot of changes with the departure of Meghan Markle and Patrick J. Adams, but Season 8 harkens back to classic Suits in so many ways. But don’t take our word for it! We spoke with showrunner and creator Aaron Korsh about the return of Suits, which he says has a closer sensibility to Season 1 than the show has been in a long time. Here’s what we learned.
Season 8 has a classic Suits vibe.
While recently taking a plane, Korsh noticed that the first three episodes of Suits ever were available as part of the in-flight entertainment.
"I've seen the pilot so many times, I've decided I would watch episodes two and three," Korsh said. "Seven years ago, it was a different show in many ways. And at the time, back then, it was Harvey and Mike -- there was no scenes in either of those first two episodes that Harvey or Mike weren't in. You had scenes where one of them wasn't in it, but not one scene where at least one of them wasn't in it. And then over time, Suits grew to be such an ensemble."
Obviously, over time, the plot widened out to include so many non-Mike and Harvey storylines, with many characters coming and going -- and some who have been around a long time, such as Katrina Bennett (Amanda Schull) and Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce), are going to have thicker storylines this year.
"The show, to me, is the same show with the same sensibility and the same people battling with and against each other for the same things," Korsh added. "It's just got a focus where the weight and the balance is different between the characters, but every year we bring in some fresh new characters, starting with Daniel Hardman in season two!"
Yes, there are still movie quotes in Season 8!
Mike and Harvey weren’t the only characters who could quote movies (although Mike certainly was responsible for some of our favorites). After all, half of the movie-quoting duo remains -- and now he has Robert Zane in on the fun in Season 8.
“We already have people on Suits who have quoted movies with Harvey, so it's just kind of continued,” Korsh explained. “Now Robert Zane and Harvey Specter have a very fun little movie quoting session… in addition to that, there are just many, many references because the people in this world all share the same sensibility and make reference to movies and have fun and banter.”
No, the firm is not under a serious threat this year.
For the first time in a long time, there isn’t a big threat to the firm or its people and this is going to give our heroes room to play!
“Because there is no one for the first time in a while coming after them, trying to take over the entire firm, the stakes are a little bit lower than they have been. They're sort of back to season one. I feel like the show's sensibility is possibly closer to season one than it has been in a while.”
In Season 8, fans can expect episodes to be a bit more self-contained than in seasons past and will enjoy a deeper exploration into familiar characters Robert Zane, Katrina Bennett, and Alex Williams (Dulé Hill). And of course, our original faves -- Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty), and Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) -- will be at the forefront with new stories (not to mention Sheila Sazs and all her nuttiness is back)!
Donna is still the glue of the firm.
As Suits has evolved over seven seasons, one of the most rewarding character evolutions has been seeing Donna emerge as a boss at the firm.
“Last year was her -- not demanding it -- but asserting her desire for a more prominent role in the firm and she got it.” Korsh said of Donna’s rise to COO last year. “But, when you get what you ask for, you might wonder, ‘Am I ready for it? Am I capable of it?’ -- and we have some growing pains rising into the job. Now I feel like, this year, in episode one, she -- basically, out of the gate -- is in command. I think she has a line, literally, where she says, ‘COO is where I'm meant to be,’ and she's really rising to the work.”
Of course, we know Donna has always been in charge -- even if not officially.
“Donna was always the glue of the firm,” Korsh acknowledged. "She was just sort of the unofficial glue and now, to a large degree, she is the official glue… It probably turns out it was Harvey's smartest thing ever to give her that role.”
Katherine Heigl’s new role is going to stir things up!
If there’s one thing we can tell you as you size up Katherine Heigl’s new character, it’s not to assume you have her figured out! Joining the cast this season as Samantha Wheeler, Heigl embodies a role who is going to come in and shake things up -- plus, she’ll illuminate a lot about our existing characters in the push-pull between them.
“She brings excellent comic timing, she knows the role, she knows the show, she fits in perfectly,” Korsh said, “but she also allows us to get to know some of our favorite characters better.”
Expect some interesting dynamics between Samantha and Harvey, Donna, and Alex. And also expect to see Robert Zane in a new light with his loyal protege in tow.
“Robert Zane's been in our world for a long time,” elaborated Korsh, “but we've never really seen the softer side of him and Samantha had this preexisting relationship with him; it really shines a good light on him.”
Don't miss the Season 8 premiere of Suits this Wednesday, July 18, on USA Network and check out the new character posters for the cast of Season 8 below!