Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched Suits‘ season 2 finale, stop reading now. Creator Aaron Korsh talks key scenes below, including the one fans of Mike (Patrick J. Adams) and Rachel (Meghan Markle) will be talking about until the show returns this summer.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: That steamy Mike and Rachel sex scene! I’m surprised that wasn’t trimmed.
AARON KORSH: That’s the trimmed version. (Laughs) When a scene blows me away the first time I watch it, I try not to touch. There’s so much work to be done, if I love a scene, I just say, “Let’s move on.” But I thought maybe it’s just a tiny bit long, like two or three seconds. But I watched it again, and I was like, no it’s perfect. Then I thought let’s let the network see, because they’ll have an opinion and it will influence me. And when we got it back, I think there was some division at the network over whether we should cut it by two or three seconds, and they ended up saying, “Leave it.” Then [NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Chairman] Bonnie Hammer watched it, and she does not often weigh in with notes. She’s working at a higher level. But evidently her thought was that it should be two or three seconds shorter. So we cut about two or three seconds out.
What was cut? Anything juicy?
No. They did not say what two or three seconds. It was what I’d felt, if we cut two or three seconds, it might make it more impactful. When I had written the scene in my head, I thought they would start and you would be on their faces and you would stay on their faces. There’s one shot still in there in particular where you pull back wide and get a long shot of what’s happening. To me, when you pull back superwide, it takes it to feeling like you are being voyeuristic watching them. I don’t like shots that jar you from feeling like you’re in it with them in a scene like that. We had several of those, so when they said to cut a few seconds, I chose to trim all but one of the superwide shots. Director John Scott — he’s done a lot of Nip/Tuck, so he’s done a lot of sex scenes — really helped stage it and walk it through. We all worked on it together, and I will say, as far as her legs going up: That was Meghan. At some point, Meghan was like, “Can I put my leg on the shelf?” And I said, “Well, if you’re gonna put one leg up, you better put the other one up.” It was a team effort. (Laughs)
Was this always the scenario in which you envisioned it happening?
We knew at the beginning of the season that we wanted to go for it and have them have sex in this last episode. And I always had it in my head that Mike tells her his secret, and then they have sex. The writers of Suits are amazing. Most of the time I come into the room and I’m bombarded with great ideas, and it’s just a question of picking and choosing which ones I want to do and helping them come to a cohesive ordering of them. We card all the scenes, with a synopsis. And the card on the board was, “Mike and Rachel tenderly bang.” They pitched me this story where they have sex quietly, and he makes her eggs gently the next morning. But I was like, “No.” (Laughs) I said, “Let’s change the card to ‘Mike and Rachel angrily bang.'” The actors’ execution of that scene was so good. They both worked individually with me on the fight leading up to the sex scene. They added a lot to it.
What kind of discussions did they have with you?
Originally, I had pitched them this, that Mike was gonna tell her the secret about him not going to Harvard. But when I was writing the scene, I was having a little trouble, and I ended up having Rachel having called Harvard and basically knowing he didn’t go to Harvard and forcing him to tell her. And I think they both felt, and definitely Patrick felt, that Rachel can know that there’s some lie but she should not know that he didn’t go to Harvard. The barrier that was between them was the secret, and Patrick really wanted Mike to be the one to take it down. I thought it was much better the way it turned out. Mike takes it down, and it’s gone, and they come together. It’s with this passion that has been building for two years. They kind of tear at each other. After the first very take of it, I thought if somehow someone came down and said, “You’re done, you can’t shoot anymore,” we would have been able to cut a great scene from it. Their intensity was outstanding.
In the sex scene, they do a lot pauses. We’ve heard Mike and Rachel talk before about people not making good choices when they go through something traumatic, which they both have just done. Were the pauses the characters asking themselves if they should do this, and then repeatedly deciding they want it so badly it doesn’t matter?
I’m pretty sure it was the actors’ idea that so many times, they have kissed and then they don’t come together because something stops them. So they wanted to tease the audience and make them think, Oh, one more time they’re not gonna get together. And then, Oh wait, they ARE gonna get together. I liked it, because I was a big fan of Firefly, and sometimes I’d be watching and would think to myself, “That’s ridiculous, how are they gonna do that?” And then one second later, they’d say, “That’s ridiculous,” or they’d answer the question that I had just asked. It was so satisfying to me. That was what we were going for: People being like, Oh man, they’re just not — Oh wait, they are gonna get together.
It’s a bold move to have them get together at the end of season 2. Why now?
We, collectively as a writing staff and probably the actors, too, were a bit tired of having them back-and-forth will-they-won’t-they. I know the fans were tired of it. We were really scared. I’m afraid to do it. It changes their dynamic. But we thought, okay, it’s just time. Let’s see what happens and take the leap.
Will there be a time jump when season 3 picks up, and will they be together?
We’re thinking that happened on a Friday night, and we’re gonna come back on Sunday night. It’s not locked in stone yet, because I haven’t finished writing it. It starts with them dealing with the fact that they slept together and she knows his secret and deciding what they’re gonna do about that moving forward. It’s one thing to have accepted it in a heat of passion, it’s another thing if she’ll accept it moving forward. It’s not dissimilar to Harvey and Jessica’s relationship and Harvey and Mike’s relationship: They’ve all undergone some sort of betrayal of the underlying agreement that they had. There was an underlying agreement between Harvey and Jessica that they wouldn’t be on opposite sides, and if they were, they wouldn’t cross a line, and they’ve both crossed that line. Same with Mike and Harvey, with Mike going against Harvey, even though Mike didn’t feel that he did that because Mike didn’t know that Harvey wouldn’t be made partner. But still, Harvey feels like Mike fractured that relationship with a betrayal of some underlying trust. And I think even though Mike and Rachel end up sleeping together, Mike has still obviously betrayed Rachel’s notion of who he is by his being a fraud.
Take the analogy of a married couple: If there’s an infidelity in the marriage, that’s betrayal of the fundamental bond of marriage. Someone can say, “All right, I found out you cheated on me, and I’m gonna attempt to forgive you.” But it’s one thing to say that, and it’s another to actually forgive them. You didn’t forget that betrayal happened. You’re not gonna never mention it again. You have to deal with it, and it’s gonna keep rearing its ugly head. There are moments when that’s gonna happen. Even if Rachel were to accept Mike’s secret and say, “I can be with you,” the real impact of it is gonna keep hitting her again and again and again. She couldn’t get into Harvard and work there, and he didn’t even go to Harvard and does.
Harvey never wanted Mike to tell Rachel the truth, so Harvey and Mike will have to deal with that — if Harvey finds out.
It’s funny because Harvey fired Mike, right? Mike’s not fired, but Harvey cut Mike out and threw him away. If you look at Harvey and Mike’s relationship, they were on a break. (Laughs) So when he betrayed Harvey by telling Rachel, it’s like, “You fired me. What the hell? I’m bound by that still?” So when that comes out, it’s gonna be a big deal.
NEXT: Harvey and Donna, and the merger