USA Network shows are not only well produced but they have that “something” that is missing from the majority of primetime television. 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 that entire text, holding it for future reference. Instead of putting that to good use, he squanders it on taking college tests for a price and blowing the money on drugs instead of bettering himself. 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 Hartman law firm – one of the most prestigious there is. Mistaken for another applicant, Mike uses the opportunity (or perhaps it was the drugs spilling out of his briefcase while in Harvey’s presence) to his advantage in order to escape the police.
Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is the city’s most sought after attorney – there is a reason he is a “closer.” 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 but his call-it-like-it-is attitude has annoyed more than one client, and yet, he always provides results. Giving him the promotion of Senior Partner over Harvey’s rival Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) – a man who is more concerned about looking good to his boss than being friends with co-workers – 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) to look out for someone more like him, and in walks Mike. Through a series of event, Mike shares everything; the drugs, not having a law degree – everything and despite it going against protocol, Harvey hires the man… with stipulations. Now the game is on to keep one step ahead of their boss discovering Mike’s dirty little secret – or secrets.
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. Like most shows, this was promoted prior to Covert Affairs and I got a good laugh out of the trailer spot, fortunately for me, my local video store just happened to have it available for rent. In all honestly, the pilot is… mediocre. I liked it well enough that it compelled me to continue with it but didn’t see the show as having reached its full potential, like it would be something I’d care to ever watch more than once through. (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 as a “clean-cut” one, and I know that may sound idiotic to some but in comparison, their shows are relatively clean – to such a degree that it is easy to notice. 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 is unable to take the one test that would fulfill that dream.
At its heart, the show is really abut learning how to lay the past to rest and how 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 – only problem was, Mike messes up continually without realizing that eventually, he may waste even the second chance fate handed him. It demonstrates how the people we surround ourselves with do matter. It matters who we hang out with – it is a lot harder to stand apart; to say “no” at the risk of being un-cool than it is to go along for the sake of being accepted. 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.
(Themes of concern: 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.)