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Forget Mike And Rachel — Harvey And Donna Were The Best 'Suits' Couple

Meghan Markle and Patrick J. Adams' characters might have started out as the show's will-they-won't-they, but it was another couple on "Suits" that won our hearts.

By Tyler McCarthy
Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty) and Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) appear in Season 8 Episode 3 of Suits

Everyone is familiar with the love story between Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) and Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), which is at the heart of “Suits.” However, throughout the show’s nine-season run, the fiery romance between Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) and Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty) was the real best love story on the show. 

Unlike Mike and Rachel, their love story began before Episode 1 even aired. As a result, the audience isn’t privy to their first meet-cute except through flashbacks, where it’s revealed it was far from cute. Donna is a no-nonsense legal secretary who is exceptional at her job, and her style of fixing problems before they even happen works perfectly with Harvey’s ready, fire, aim work style

There was an immediate sexual attraction between them, but Donna has a strict rule not to get involved with co-workers that she maintains throughout the series — with a few huge exceptions, of course. She keeps him at arm's length despite his flirtations until they finally broke that tension one wild night after Harvey left his position at the District Attorney’s Office. 

RELATED: Where Is The Cast Of 'Suits' Now? What The Actors Have Been Doing Since The Show's Finale

That’s when their love story truly began. 

After sleeping together, Harvey realized his entire career doesn’t work without Donna beside him as a counterbalance. So, he brought her in at Pearson Hardman, where the series finds them having agreed to never speak about their wild night ever again. 

Still, the love between them was there. Harvey trusts Donna with personal things he doesn’t let any other human being know. She's one of the only people whose opinion he cares about. Meanwhile, she goes out of her way to protect him before he even knows he’s in trouble. Unfortunately, that sometimes causes big rifts between them and likely set back their eventual marriage by years. 

When Cameron Dennis poses a threat to Harvey, Donna takes it upon herself to give Jessica Pearson some dirt on Dennis. Harvey doesn’t like having someone else fight his battles but agrees it was a life-saving move. However, that behavior rears its head again in a way Harvey is significantly less on board with. 

When she discovers a mistake in Harvey’s past that now implicates her in the present, she takes steps to hide the evidence not only from investigators but from her boss and oldest friend. When Harvey finds out, he’s furious. Although he won’t fire her over what she did, he doesn’t put up a huge fight to avoid Jessica firing her. 

That separates them for the first real chunk of time since they met and, frankly, neither of them thrives without the other. Eventually, they find their way back to each other personally and professionally and Harvey gets the chance to repay the illegal favor, committing a crime just to keep her out of jail. It’s at that time they both admit they love each other but still don’t get together.

It’s not until the end of Season 8 that they both feel free and empowered to pursue this unspoken thing between them that was always there from even before the beginning of “Suits.” So, why are they the real best couple on the show? Simply put, theirs is a complicated romance in which both have to recognize the hard way how much they make each other better. One doesn't work without the other. 

Sure Mike and Rachel get married before the end of the series, but it’s that moment when Harvey finally pops the question to Donna that real “Suits” fans know as the dramatic and happy ending to a story that felt inevitable since the premiere. 

Find out for yourself by catching up on all of the USA Network original “Suits,” currently streaming on Peacock

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