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Who Plays Jessica Pearson on Suits? A Guide to Gina Torres' Career

The actress behind the namesake of Pearson Hardman, Gina Torres, has also starred in an acclaimed cult sci-fi series and much more in addition to Suits

By James Grebey
Gina Torres holds a glass of wine during a scene in Suits

Perhaps it’s fitting that one of the namesakes of Pearson Hardman, the firm where most of the action in Suits takes place, is also played by an actress who is one of the bigger names among the cast of the USA Network legal drama. Gina Torres plays Jessica Pearson, a co-founder and managing partner of the prestige law firm, in the first seven of the series’ nine seasons and the one-season spin-off show, Pearson. Jessica is talented and well-respected, but she can be a bit overbearing and frequently is something of a foil to more risk-taking characters like Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams).

Torres, who has been acting since the ‘90s, has a lengthy and impressive filmography outside of her work in the Suits world. In fact, Suits might not even be her best-known role. 

Gina Torres poses while sitting on top of an old table

How Did Gina Torres Get Her Start?

Torres was born on April 25, 1969 in New York City, where she grew up in the Bronx with her parents, both of whom were Cuban immigrants. Originally, it seemed like Torres, who is a gifted mezzo-soprano singer, was going to pursue a career in music, but she turned to acting when she could not afford to attend any of the schools she was accepted to.  

RELATED: What Other Movies, Shows Has Suits Star (and Duchess of Sussex) Meghan Markle Been In?

Torress got some work on TV in the ‘90s, appearing on Law & Order, 17 episodes of the soap opera One Life to Live, 9 episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, where she played Cleopatra. Her first leading role came in 2000, in a show called, ironically enough Cleopatra 2525, though it had no connection to Torres’ Xena character or, even, the historical figure. Torres was one of the stars of the sci-fi show about a woman (Jennifer Sky) who wakes up after suspended animation to a dystopia where humans live underground and fight against machines.

Gina Torres poses for a photo in a purple one shoulder dress

What Else Has Gina Torres Been In?

Torres played the assassin Anna Espinosa in six episodes of Alias and was in seven episodes of Any Day Now. Perhaps her most beloved role — at least for the fans of the cult classic sci-fi series — was that of Zoe Washburne in the short-lived Firefly series. She reprised her role as second-in-command of the Serenity in the 2005 film, too. 

Torres has had main roles in many other TV shows, too, including Standoff, Huge, and most recently the ongoing series 9-1-1: Lone Star, where she plays Tommy Vega.

Some of her other TV credits include 24, Angel, Hannibal, Final Space, The Catch, and Westworld. She’s lent her voice to TV as well, playing characters in animated series such as The Boondocks, Justice League: Unlimited, Star Wars Rebels, and The Legend of Vox Machina.

Torres has some notable credits on the big screen, too. She was in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions as Cas, the widow of one of the pilots from the first Matrix who becomes involved in the fight against the machines. She was also in the comedies Hair Show and Fair Game, and starred opposite Chris Rock in the 2007 rom-com I Think I Love My Wife.

Fans can catch Torres as Jessica Pearson on Suits on Peacock, the exclusive home to all episodes of the series.

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