Suits, Season One (2011)

Monday, June 4, 2012

USA Network shows are not only well produced but they have “something” that is missing from the majority of primetime television. They make us sit up and take notice. The scripts are not “just” funny, the seasons are actually collectively intelligent shows that wage battles of wills and as a bonus, some truly fantastic wit.

Life is one big party for Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). He has a brilliant mind that can read something once and retain the entire text. Instead of putting that to good use, he squanders it on taking college tests for a price and spending the money on drugs. A college drop-out, Mike is about to do a “favor” for his drug-dealing friend when he realizes it was a set up. This leads him straight into interviews for Harvard graduates applying for an associate position at Pearson Hardman law firm – one of the most prestigious law firms in New York. Mistaken for an applicant, Mike uses the opportunity (or perhaps it was the drugs spilling out of his briefcase) to his advantage in order to escape custody.

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is the city’s most sought after attorney. He is good at his job and not only does he know it but his boss, Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) is too aware of it. She knows she needs him. His call-it-like-it-is attitude may annoy yet, he always provides results. Giving him the promotion of Senior Partner over Harvey’s rival Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) means Harvey is in need of an associate. Bored stiff by the carbon-copy Harvard grads he is interviewing, Harvey tells his assistant, Donna (Sarah Rafferty) as much when in walks Mike. Through a series of events, Mike confesses everything and t going against protocol, Harvey hires the man… with stipulations.

Superficially, this show might suggest it is an airhead premise that features a lot of clean-cut men sporting 500-hundred dollar haircuts and 800-hundred dollar suits. In reality it is a whole lot more than that. In all honestly, the pilot is… mediocre. I liked it well enough to be compelled to continue, but didn’t see the show as having reached its full potential. (Ironically, Burn Notice’s premiere was much the same and now each season leaves me breathless for the next installment.) To be fair, you have to give this show at least two to three episodes before passing final judgment. Once you become engrossed in the series there is little to stop us from being caught up in the lives of these characters – despite the fact that we are too often disappointed in their choices, choices that they do not seem to “get” creates irreversible trouble for them.

This network has built a reputation on being a “clean-cut,” sharp storyteller.  Suits has such fabulous banter between characters that it is not easy to resist the fast pace and its purpose which has just a hint of blackmail backing it. Some of the legal jargon that is spouted goes over my head because it is not my forte but that shouldn’t keep viewers from checking this one out. All of the characters are likable but… their propensity to engage in immoral activities may cause some conservative audiences to cringe at their stupidity (sometimes that is the only word appropriate). At their best, the characters are some of the funniest, most humanly flawed I’ve encountered yet. (Donna in particular is hilarious.) Also rounding out the supporting cast is the pretty paralegal, Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), the girl who has the smarts to be a lawyer, but she remains one test away from fulfilling that dream.

At its heart, the show is really abut learning how to lay the past to rest and if given the opportunity, a person can right the wrongs of a sordid past. Mike was given a second chance by Harvey, who saw a lot of himself in the young man. It demonstrates how the people we surround ourselves with do matter. It matters who we hang out with. The bad drags us down a lot quicker than the good. Various episodes surprise with the story-telling and ability to allow us a glimpse of the good in characters who mask their feelings but a drive to always win. There are unanswered questions in season one’s cliffhanger but I suspect that the second season will investigate other character’s pasts, giving them a back-story and secretes of their own. For now, season one was a strong beginning to a show that if it were to use a touch more discretion has a whole lot of potential.

(Content: Mike uses drugs [off-camera] and remarks that he needs to stop getting “stoned.” [He disposes of drugs once.] There is social drinking. In 12 episodes, there are probably three-five sexual scenes; one has two lawyers undressing one another before getting to work on what their respective clients hired them for, another sees two people undressing each  other before fading out. [There is an implied one-night stand.] There are multiple innuendoes. Profanity consists of sh*t, da*n, etc but the most used expression is GD [especially in the pilot and usually needlessly]. The show is rated TV14.) 


  1. Hey, Rissi! Just wanted to tell you I am so thankful for the time you've put into reviewing shows like Suits and Bunheads. Movies like This Means War (I'm mourning over my lack of clear-play) and the Lucky One. As well as books. I really really appreciate them. :-)


  2. Thank you, Rosie. I appreciate readers like you a great deal - it means a lot to know that there are readers who find these reviews helpful.

    I do have more books planned for future but for now, I am still getting into the groove of actually writing the reviews. LOL!

    Again thanks. And for the follow! I greatly appreciate that and hope you stop in often - off to check out your blog. :-)

  3. You're welcome! And thank you for checking out my blog. :-D

  4. Suits is, for me, one of USA network's rare mis-steps. I tried to like this show...I wanted to...but these characters, bah! They just didn't work for me at all. For one thing, the pot use -- I have no patience at all for that type of behavior. One of many reasons I thought Mike was essentially an idiot. That said...I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the show, and I'm glad it worked for you! :)

  5. Rosie - my pleasure. :-)

    Ruth - I get where you are coming from, and believe me, I am not fond of that misstep either (it is the whole "past" subplot that every character has and will, no doubt haunt Mike - a lot). Seriously, I was shouting at the television about the idiotic choices Mike was making - Harvey was right to be so harsh with him and constantly tell him to leave his ex best friend, etc. (We are - or become who we hand out with.) I think the show gets better as it furthers plus we see that Harvey has a lot more empathy than his cold personality would suggest.

    It is a show that grows on you... I think. :-)

  6. amazing post :)
    I love your blog!!

  7. Thank you so much! I appreciate you stopping by - please do so again sometime. :-)


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