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Suits Takes Place In New York City, But Was The Show Actually Filmed There?

Where was Suits filmed? It turns out that not all of Harvey Specter’s escapades on Suits actually happened in New York City.

By Brian Silliman
Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), and Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) appear in a promotional image for Season 4 of Suits

Are you feeling the urge to take a Suits tour of New York? The courtroom drama/romantic pulse-pounder is set in the big city. So naturally, there must be tours that run all the time. Sex and the City has them, Girls probably has one, and the Seinfeld one could still be going for all we know. Who wouldn’t want to jump on a bus and see all of the classic locations where Mike (Patrick J. Adams) continuously hid the truth from Rachel (Meghan Markle) before coming clean?

Well, we have good news and bad news.

Where Does Suits Take Place?

The series (which ran for nine seasons on USA and is currently streaming on Peacock) takes place in New York, but it didn't always shoot there. The pilot was and so were exterior shots for the title sequence. After that, though, the members of Pearson Hardman (the ever-changing name of the show's central law firm) moved production to Toronto, Ontario.

RELATED: What 'Suits' Stars Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht Have Said Since The Show Ended

Why Is The Suits Filming Location Not In New York?

The reason, which will come as no real surprise, is that Toronto offers tax breaks for shows that are filmed there. If that ensured that we got nine seasons of "Darvey" romance, then we’re glad they made the choice to move production up North.

Is there anywhere in Toronto that fans would want to see if they wanted to pretend (like Mike himself) that they were real lawyers? Absolutely there is. One location above all would probably be of interest to most Suits fans.

Everything on the show is based around the Pearson Hardman law offices, and some of that drama tended to spill out onto the streets where Mike went to get bagels, or enjoyed an outdoor argument with Louis Litt (Richard Hoffman). The exteriors used were appropriately located in Toronto’s financial district. The 51-story Bay Adelaide West building served as the main landmark, to be exact. 

Where Are The Indoor Suits Filming Locations?

As for the interior office sets of Pearson Hardman, there were plenty of murals and backdrops of New York that were used to line the set windows. Thankfully the copy room didn’t have any windows, because Rachel and Mike needed privacy... even from fake New York. If you’ve seen the show, then you know exactly what we’re talking about — Markle's real-life husband sure does.

The decision to simulate New York somewhere else may have broken the verisimilitude for some of the actors. Harvey Specter himself, Gabriel Macht, revealed that he wasn’t thrilled with the choice. He said as much in a 2011 interview with The Hollywood Reporter

“Outsourcing I understand. But it’s better for the artist to shoot where the show takes place. And I think New York City is the greatest city in the world, and hope one day to shoot a season there,” he said.

In the same interview, he pointed out that the production had no shortage of yellow cabs and hot dog stands to make it look like New York. He also praised the Vancouver crew, calling them “terrific.”

Still, something was missing for him.

“There’s a different take, a different sensibility,” he said, adding that he’d spoken with a producer at the time who told him they were “running out of streets in Toronto to make it look like New York City.”

The show ran until 2019, with production staying put in Toronto the whole time. Macht may have never gotten his dream of shooting a full season in New York City, but the producers never ran out of streets. Macht also got to attend Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, and they definitely didn’t shoot that in Toronto.

Where did they film scenes of Louis Litt receiving his beloved treatments of mud? That’s a secret that we are content to know nothing about.

Every season of Suits is streaming on Peacock right now. Grab the can opener and get going.

Originally published Feb 16, 2023.

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