The Suits season 6 premiere raised a lot of questions for the new season. Who is Frank (Paul Schulze) and how worried should we be about Mike’s (Patrick J. Adams) safety behind bars? Will Harvey (Gabriel Macht), Jessica (Gina Torres) and Louis (Rick Hoffman) be able to beat the lawsuit filed against them for every case Mike ever worked on? And, most importantly, since when does the Jessica Pearson smoke pot?
EW caught up with showrunner Aaron Korsh to talk about the big moments in the episode and what we can expect from the rest of the season. (Read our entire recap here.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I thought there was going to be a time jump in between the season finale and the new season. Why did you decide to not have a time jump?
AARON KORSH: I wanted to pick up right where we left off. I just had this vision of, it’s the first night, everybody’s gone and how are we going to deal with that? Mike’s in prison, how are we going to deal with that? What image do I want to come back to? The image of Mike getting his hair cut or Mike being processed in prison, I didn’t want to skip over that. I didn’t want to do a time jump and I didn’t want to miss his first night. It was also sort of a notion in my head of a sort of sedentary episode, for lack of a better word. It was almost like a play. You’ve got one small play in the prison and another small play in the office.
The season premiere was also very funny, whereas season six was missing Suits’ usual humor. Going into this season, how did you decide to bring back the humor?
I’ve done a lot of thinking about it over the years. Because of the nature of the storylines that we were doing in the back six episodes of last year — the stakes of everything were just so huge — it was tough to find [humor]. It was just essentially, for lack of a better word, like when someone has cancer. It’s hard to laugh too much. It just didn’t seem to tonally go with what we were doing in the back six. Ironically, Mike is now in prison; the bad thing happened already, and even though you’re dealing with that, it allows you to have emotional space for humor again. It’s part of the show. I don’t regret losing it in the back six ’cause I didn’t think it fit, but I definitely think we wanted to get back to it.
Louis, Harvey, and Jessica smoking together was one of the funniest moments of the episode. How did you conceive of that scene to help them reconcile?
I don’t remember when we exactly landed on them getting high, but it was like a way for them to put down their [guards]. I think I might’ve been thinking about the scene in Young Guns where they all do [peyote] because there’s no way out of their situation, and they just decide the only way to get out is to visit the spirit world, so to speak, and get their bearings and figure out what they’re going to do. (Also, I think they smoke pot in The Breakfast Club). But, basically, Jessica decides as a leader, “We need to do something we’ve never done before. We need to come together and we need to smoke pot.” That was sort of how they came to it in the show. I think, for us, we were always dying to have Louis smoke pot, because just imagine Louis smoking pot. It was really a way for them to take the edge off and get through the issues they have to get through to move on. It was also a way for us as writers to have an incredibly fun scene, to have them laugh.
How did you decide that it would be in character for Jessica to have her own pot stash?
I don’t know if you know this, but we used to do these webisodes. (We stopped doing them for budgetary reasons). But, we did one a few years ago where basically Harvey and Jessica are just having a little bit of an odd conversation and it turns out they’re high. We reveal at the end that they’re high, and I think we reveal it was Jessica’s pot. I know it wasn’t the real show, but to use those things that actually took place — we thought it was already established that Jessica got high. We also thought it was just like, sometimes you have a vision of people, of how they are, and you really don’t realize that you have no idea what they do on their off-hours. Most people do something in their character that you would not get if you didn’t know it. I think it’s one of those character revelatory moments about Jessica that’s interesting and fun.
Will Harvey and Louis’ reconciliation last for the rest of the season? Or, will Louis continue to be Louis?
[Laughs.] Look, Louis is never not going to be Louis to some degree, but I would say their relationship is probably on better terms this season so far than it’s ever been. That doesn’t mean they don’t have conflict and it doesn’t mean they don’t have their issues, but there is not a lot of Harvey and Louis conflict going on. There’s probably more moments of them being on the same page relative to their conflict. That ratio is probably better than it has ever been before.
On Mike’s first night in prison, we met Frank, who wants to use Mike to get revenge on Harvey. What kind of threat does Frank pose to Mike?
Obviously, the guy is intelligent, devious, cunning, able to act very sincere when he’s not being sincere, and we’re going to find out more about what his crime was and what he’s capable of as the season progresses. I think we’ll find that he’s capable of physical and mental intimidation and harassment. Mike is going to have to deal with that. It’s the primary driving force of the season and somewhat for Harvey.
At the end of the episode, Harvey, Louis, and Jessica decide to use the partners’ buy-ins to settle the lawsuit and to stop the partners from getting their money back. Solving the lawsuit can’t be that easy, right?
Nothing ever goes according to plan, and there’s definitely going to be some wrinkles in that plan that they’ve hatched moving forward. But, the next episode is about trying to implement their plan to use the partner buy-ins to pay off the class-action lawsuit. In the premiere, Harvey finally does apologize to Louis and Jessica for actually hiring Mike, and there’s going to be another moment where Harvey sort of falls on his sword.
Suits airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on USA.