By Mandi Bierly
January 11, 2013 at 06:34 PM EST
Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network
  • TV Show

USA’s summer hit Suits returns for season 2.5 on Jan. 17 (10 p.m. ET), and while the series’ entire 21-episode run remains On Demand for your marathoning pleasure — that’s what’s the weekend/flu are for — we spoke to creator Aaron Korsh for a look at what’s ahead.

• The first two episodes back are about Mike (Patrick J. Adams) and Louis (Rick Hoffman) dealing with the consequences of their actions. Spoiler alert for the newcomers: When we last saw Pearson Hardman law firm’s brilliant-albeit-fake associate Mike, he was using sex with a married ex, Tess, to comfort himself after the loss of his beloved Grammy. His will-they-or-won’t-they love interest Rachel (Meghan Markle), the firm’s top paralegal, showed up at his apartment to be his shoulder to sleep with and saw Tess wearing a sheet. “Mike has taken the week off, and now he’s gotta go back and face the music of what happened at that door,” Korsh says. “He’s chosen to sleep with a married woman. He’s started smoking pot again. So he’s a little off-kilter, and he’s trying to get back and get his s— together, and he gets hit with this case that hits him on a personal level and maybe makes him [make more bad choices].” In short, neither Rachel nor Harvey will be all that happy with him, though Korsh will say Rachel and Mike “come a really long way” by the time the season ends.

Louis, meanwhile, sided with the firm’s founding partner Daniel Hardman (David Costabile) in his civil war against managing partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) and her trusted closer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), and tried to get rid of Harvey. Though Louis, who Hardman made a senior partner for his efforts, ultimately voted to oust Hardman when it mattered, Harvey in particular isn’t one to forgive and forget. Before Louis’ arc takes a serious turn in episode 2, he’ll have some fun with the return of Rachael Harris’ “female Louis” character, Sheila Sazs, who returns in the Jan. 17 episode and again later in the season.

• The fighting isn’t over. The civil war left Pearson Hardman weakened in the eyes of the New York law community, and the arc of the season’s remaining six episodes is Jessica and Harvey being under attack again — from the outside. “They have to do something about this onslaught of attacks from firm and firm, and that creates conflict between Harvey and Jessica,” Korsh says. “Whenever you feel that pressure, it’s gonna squeeze your relationship and bring out sometimes the best and sometimes the worst,” Korsh says. “If the firm is under siege, it’s Jessica who is feeling under siege. How is she gonna handle it? What’s she gonna do in the wake of it?”

The situation builds to a tense finale and puts Mike in the middle, but it also paves the way for guest stars along the way: Diane Neal returns as Allison Holt in the Jan. 24 episode, appropriately titled “Blood in the Water.” “They’ll wonder if she’s in cahoots with Hardman, or is she just coming after us on her own — and does it really matter, ’cause she’s coming after us in any case.” In the third episode, we’ll meet Rachel’s father, played by The Wire‘s Wendell Pierce. “He happens to be kind of a big time attorney in New York and may have some feelings with respect to Pearson Hardman,” Korsh says. “It also gives insight into Rachel, and explains maybe a little bit why she wants to be a lawyer.” We’ll also see Hardman return at some point, and, look for Game of Thrones‘ Conleth Hill to do a two-episode arc as “a potential answer to the problems of the constant attacks Pearson Hardman is under,” Korsh teases.

Other guest stars to look out for: Center Stage‘s Amanda Schull will recur, making her first appearance as an assistant district attorney involved in that case that hits Mike close to home in the Jan. 17 episode. “I don’t want to give too much away, but she has heard of Harvey and sets out to beat him. Ultimately, you realize she has a little bit of a different motive or agenda, and neither Mike nor Harvey are big fans of that — but in particular, Mike,” Korsh says. And character actor Adam Godley (Love, Actually), who “plays British Louis to some degree.”

• Harvey’s personal life comes into play — and gives Donna (Sarah Rafferty) some good scenes. The Jan. 17 episode brings the return of Zoe (Jacinda Barrett, Macht’s real-life wife), and we’ll also see Scotty (Abigail Spencer) again as well at some point in the remaining six eps. “Since Donna cares about Harvey, Donna’s gonna have things to say about the reemergence of those two women in Harvey’s life,” Korsh says. “Donna has just a fascinating relationship with Harvey. I know a lot of the fans are dying to have them be together and think they’re ultimately destined to be together. To me, I would say, that at best remains to be seen. But, it’s fascinating to me how, like, in Season 1, Donna was a fan of Scotty, right. When Scotty comes back though, Donna knows kinda what happened last time and she’s a little bit more cautious with Scotty. She gets a little bit involved in their interaction, I would say.” Donna has other things to contend with as well: “Donna has some unfinished business with Louis, and Donna has some unfinished business with Daniel Hardman,” Korsh says.

Come back to Inside TV on Thursday, for more scoop from Patrick J. Adams.

Read more:

‘Suits’ creator talks the summer finale twists — and where we’re headed

‘Suits’ renewed for third season

‘Suits’ Who’s Who: A primer for Season 2

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