USA Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
USA Insider Suits

From Veteran Actors to NBA Legends, Suits Is Full of Incredible Guest Stars

We revisit the most memorable guest stars from the beloved USA Network original series.

By Grace Jidoun
Split image of Charles Barkley, Troian Bellisario, and Michael Phelps

The popular legal drama Suits ran for nine seasons, bringing us the bromance of Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) and Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) — not to mention Megan Markle’s last role before marrying a British Prince. Now streaming on Peacock, Suits is a massive hit all over again, emerging as the binge-watch of the summer. 

A considerable part of its enduring appeal is the cast, and one thing is for certain: Suits has some of the best TV guest stars in recent memory. As we rewatch the series (for the fifth time), we weigh in on the top 10 guest stars who made an impact. 

Amy Acker

Every good show is about relationships, and Ester Edelstein (Amy Acker) stirs up the drama between core characters Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) and interoffice rival Harvey Spector.

Ester is Louis’s little sister, and they appear together in several emotionally charged scenes. Stressed out and pessimistic, Louis is the type of character you love to hate, but Esther humanizes him by bringing out his fiercely protective side. In one touching scene, she says, “I don’t think you’re a buffoon Louis, and I never have. I didn’t realize how good a lawyer you were until I saw it myself.”

Louis replies, “There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell I was going to let someone take advantage of you.”

Awww. Acker is best known for her roles in the supernatural drama Angel and for playing Kelly Peyton on the early 2000s science fiction hit series Alias.

Eric Roberts

Eric Roberts has turned in an impressive array of performances over his forty-year career, encompassing feature films, B-movies, Broadway shows, reality TV, and soap operas. Appearing in '80s cult classics Star 80 (1983) and Pope of Greenwich Village (1984), his performance in Runaway Train (1985) earned him both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. Oh, and he’s also the brother of Julia Roberts. 

In Suits, Roberts brings his trademark gritty charisma to the recurring role of Charles Forstman, a handsome but shady businessman who casually throws around millions of dollars and is a master manipulator behind the scenes. The billionaire banker, who has a history of illegal activity, is ultimately outsmarted by Harvey and arrested by the SEC. When playing Forstman, Roberts perfectly balances charm and villainy, maintaining a cocky nonchalance even while his character is in jail. 

Troian Bellisario

Suits is known for the chemistry between the characters, but there is one duo where the sparks really went flying: Claire Bowden (Troian Bellisario) and Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). It turns out, The Pretty Little Liars actress and Adams were engaged in real life when they filmed two episodes for Season 4. The pair married in 2016 and welcomed two daughters in 2018 and 2021.  

At least on-screen, a romance between the two was not in the cards. Bellisario is first introduced as a legal intern in a flashback scene, where she meets Mike as a bike messenger. Serious flirting ensues, and Mike eventually fibs about attending Columbia University to impress her, making her the first woman in the series he lied to about returning to law school. Fast forward, and in his first case as a partner at Pearson Hardman, the opposing counsel is none other than Claire. 

Bellisario opened up to PEOPLE about their on-screen time in 2015. “It’s a blast,” she said. “It’s just always so much fun to get to play around with your partner, because you have so much in life to draw on, and you have so much trust. When he tells me that something isn’t working in a scene, I trust him to the end of the earth.”

Michelle Fairley

The Northern Irish actress has a penchant for playing strong, complicated characters. You may recognize her as “Lady Stark” from Game of Thrones, where she played a determined and formidable mother as head of the Stark Family. In Suits, she appears in eight episodes of Season 3 as Ava Hessington, the CEO of Hessington Oil and one of Pearson Hardman’s most prominent clients.

Playing another strong woman in a field dominated by men, Fairley exudes a not-to-be-messed-with vibe, even giving managing partner Edward Darby (Conleth Hill) a cold, hard slap to the face at one point. Accused of bribery and murder, she maintains her steely confidence throughout her trial — indeed a force to be reckoned with.

Neal McDonough

Who doesn’t love a good villain? Like Eric Roberts, Neal McDonough is a bad but brilliant antagonist as SEC investigator Sean Cahill. Initially out to destroy the firm at whatever cost, Cahill ultimately swaps sides and becomes an ally of Harvey and Mike. Starring in fifteen episodes across four seasons, many of Sean’s powerful moments came down to a subtle piercing look, a tilt of the head, or simply deadpan sarcasm. 

Playing the “bad guy” is nothing new for McDonough, who has taken on many intriguing, morally questionable characters in his long career. He’s known for films such as Walking Tall, Arrow, Minority Report, Band of Brothers, Flags of Our Fathers, and Captain America: The First Avenger. He’s yet another guest star who brought serious acting chops to Suits.

Michael Phelps

American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, winning 28 medals and a record 23 gold. But we all know what he did in his downtime: watch Suits!

After tweeting about being a fan and calling it one of his favorite shows, he was recruited for a cameo appearance. Watch closely, and you’ll spot the superstar swimmer in the 2014 episode "Buried Secrets" in Season 3. Phelps played himself as one of the sports clients that Harvey was determined to land. After Phelps totally blew off Harvey at a restaurant, the lawyer's girlfriend and new colleague, Dana "Scottie" Scott (Abigail Spencer), jumped in to nab the Olympian. 

Abigail Spencer

“Harvey, shut up!” — we’ve all thought this while watching Suits (OK, some of us have yelled it at the screen), but “Scottie,” a bright and beautiful attorney, is the one character who can say it to Harvey’s face and get away with it (in front of Michael Phelps, no less).

Spencer brings a lot of heart to the character of Dana "Scottie" Scott, Harvey’s sassy ex-classmate and ex-love at Harvard. For many fans, their favorite relationship on the show has been between Harvey and Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty), but this tale of doomed college sweethearts will draw you in. After reconnecting in New York as lawyers, Scottie and Harvey decided to live together but ultimately couldn't make it work. It wasn’t Donna that undid them but rather Harvey’s commitment to keeping Mike’s secret that drove the final wedge. 

Before joining Suits, Spencer made a name for herself as the star of the crime series Angela’s Eyes. Her many acting credits include the 2011 sci-fi Western Cowboys & Aliens directed by Jon Favreau, and a recurring role on Mad Men. 

Stephen Macht

Seeing Gabriel Macht’s real-life father guest star on Suits was a treat for fans. It’s not a stretch to say this was one of the best Dad cameos on TV.

Stephen plays Henry Gerard, a morally flawed ethics professor at Harvard Law School, who is also a gambler harboring a dark secret of his own. He turns to Harvey after being accused of accepting a bribe. Harvey and Professor Gerard have a contentious relationship, and the chemistry between the real-life father and son actors is palpable. Professor Gerard first popped up in Season 3's "Yesterday’s Gone" and has reprised his role four more times through the years. 

The elder Macht plays the complex character with aplomb. This is no doubt thanks to Stephen’s serious acting chops. Once a real-life professor, he has hundreds of film, TV, and stage credits under his belt. Horror fans may remember him as Warwick, the star of Stephen King's Graveyard Shift. He was also nominated for “2007 Villian of the Year” by Soap Opera Digest for his role as Trevor Lasing on General Hospital.

Charles Barkley

The former NBA All-Star might be too obvious as a top guest star, but his appearance in the Season 5 episode "No Refills" was a thrilling surprise for fans.

The path that led this famous Dream Teamer to his TV role has a charming backstory: Suits was Barkley’s favorite show at the time, and once word reached producer Aaron Korsh, a huge fan of Barkley’s, he was offered a cameo. In short, it was a mutual lovefest.

“It’s really cool for me, because when they heard me bragging about the show they invited me and I was like, ‘I gotta make it work,’” Barkley told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “Right now with playoffs we’re in our busy time and the only day we have off is Friday. I was like, ‘I don’t give a s---. My day off, we’re going up there to Toronto.’”

Benjamin Hollingsworth

Throwing it back to Season 1, Benjamin Hollingsworth (Kyle Durant) played a young attorney and worthy rival to Mike Ross in two episodes, "Play the Man" and "Rules of the Game." Though his time on the show was brief, Kyle’s interactions with Mike were memorable, helping to illustrate Mike’s underdog status and photographic memory. 

Facing off before entering the courtroom, Kyle swaggers up with Mike's love interest, paralegal Rachel Zane (Megan Markle) and barks, “What’s your problem, Mike?” Mike retorts, “My problem is you don’t have the balls to make this a fair fight, Kyle.” “Lawyering isn’t about fighting fair, and you better watch your false accusations, or I might just sue you for defamation,” threatens Kyle. With just five minutes to prepare, Mike demolishes this cocky Harvard grad before the judge, and you can’t help but root for him. 

Before playing Kyle in this enjoyable rivalry, Hollingsworth was best known for his role as Mario Savetti on the TV series Code Black. He currently plays Marine vet Dan Brady on the romantic drama Virgin River.

Stream every episode of Suits on Peacock.

Read more about: