Warning: Spoilers ahead for the season five summer finale of Suits
After focusing most of the fifth season around Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and the impeding threat of Daniel Hardman (David Costible) taking over the firm, Suits changed the game during the final few scenes of its midseason finale. In order to save the firm from its takeover Harvey handed in his resignation, while Mike (Patrick J. Adams) made an exit of his own in order to focus on living a law-abiding life with Rachel (Meghan Markle) and their future children. Unfortunately, it was too little too late, as in the closing moments Mike Ross was arrested for fraud anyhow.
To find out what comes next after this game-changing twist and how this arrest will affect the rest of the crew at Pearson Specter Litt, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh.
Why was now the right creative time for Mike to be arrested?
We decided either at the end of season four or maybe the beginning of season five. Enough people have found out Mike’s secret, we go to that well a lot to keep people from finding out. At some point we thought that instead of having another person find out, we wanted him to be found out. It felt like the right thing to do; you can only keep this thing under wraps for so long. When we started Suits I had no idea how long it would go or how it would end. But in retrospect I probably thought its ending would be Mike being discovered, maybe five years in. So we’re five years in. Let’s have him be discovered and push on through and figure out what happens after that.
How far have you planned ahead now and could the show live past next season?
We have not planned. Every year we think we have enough story to last for 16 episodes and by the time we get to episode 10 we’ve done every single thing we thought we were going to do. By the back six we scramble, but often that’s when we’ve come up with some of our best stuff. I can say that over the last couple of years I have been very confident that Suits would go seven seasons. We’re strong enough in the ratings and they make money off us, and even if we had a decline, I thought they would give us that. This year when we got our renewal for [season] six I was not surprised, I was not sweating it and I’m not sweating season seven. I feel like we’ll probably go at least eight, but I don’t know for sure.
Will learning who turned Mike in become an arching story in the back six episodes?
I was an anomaly, because it seems like when everybody found out that Mike was going to be discovered — writers, reporters, the editor of the episode — the first question is, “Who did it?” The only person that didn’t ask that question first was me. In real life you might never know who did it. The bigger question is: what are we going to do about it? But after being presented that question by a hundred different people it’s like, OK. I guess we need to explore this thing. We’re not going to find out in [episode] 511, but we will find out down the line.
How did you go about coming up with that person?
I don’t have at the top of my head the amount of people who know the secret so it could have been any one of them. Or, it could have been someone who found out who hadn’t known before. It could have been a friend, foe, a neutral party or someone who has never even met Mike. We went through the whole gamut and landed on someone I liked. It’s not necessarily poetic, but we’ve seen a lot of different reactions to people discovering Mike’s secret and this is a new reaction.
Should viewers have seen this coming, given the flashbacks?
I didn’t want you to see it coming, I can say that. I don’t believe in life you would see it coming. They’re not going to send a letter or a signal flare saying they’re coming; they’re just going to catch up. It was ironic that the day he’s decided to stop perpetuating this crime he’s committing is the day he gets caught. There are certain days in most people’s lives where there was “before that day” and an “after that day.” Everything changed that day. For Mike, we’re actually seeing two of those days in the same episode, because we see the day he discovered his parents died, which obviously altered the trajectory of his life forever, and then we also see the day he gets arrested, which is going to alter this trajectory of his life forever.
Where will things pick up when Suits returns?
We wrestled with that quite a bit, whether to jump forward six months, two years or a few weeks. And it turns out we landed on where we usually land (but not always), which is where we pick up pretty much right away.
What kinds of repercussions will Mike’s arrest have on the rest of the firm?
Once Mike gets arrested every single thing that happens in the episode before that minute is up for grabs. It’s to be reconsidered. Harvey may have just resigned, but he’s going to question whether he should still go forward with that in light of this new thing. Mike just resigned. He may or may not question whether he should still do that in light of this thing. Everything that has happened up until this moment, once Mike gets arrested it’s like you’re circling the wagons and figuring out what’s the next order of business. Previous decisions are back on the table to be revisited. And not just in [episode] 511, but I would say the back six in general.
Harvey dealt with his parental issues before that reveal. Has that thread now been sewn up?
Mike getting arrested trumps everything. If you were in therapy and you walked out with some amazing realization and somebody shot you in the leg, you’d be worried about the fact that you just got shot in the leg. you wouldn’t be celebrating your growth. Metaphorically, Harvey has been shot in the leg. They’ve all been shot in the leg. We’re not going to have a chance to really know what the ramifications of Harvey in therapy were for a while because right now he’s tending to that bullet wound. In real life though, had Mike not been arrested, I don’t know if Harvey would suddenly be a changed man either. Revelations tend to have an impact on you and then you go back to being yourself. Two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. But it’s certainly a huge step in that direction.
How will all this affect Mike and Rachel?
We’re going to tackle what we think are some of the consequences that this thing would have on their relationship. The whole back six are about what this this is going to do to every single person at the firm. For Mike and Rachel, what is the revelation that Mike was a fraud going to do to them? Her mom and dad are going to find out, so what’s that going to do? What is the reaction going to be like? What kind of toll will that pressure put on their relationship? Obviously it’s this huge thing, and it remains to be seen how they will respond to it. It will give them an opportunity to understand conflict but also to be there for each other. Ultimately, it will have a big impact on their relationship. The truth of the matter is I am not 100 percent sure what the ultimate fate of their relationship in these last six is going to be.
What’s the back story to the episode being dedicated to Elaine Zane?
Elaine Zane is Bonnie Zane’s mom. She is our casting director and a beloved member of the Suits family. Her mother passed away unexpectedly very recently. It was Gabriel Macht’s idea to put it up there. Bonnie did not know about it, but she’s a huge part of the show. In the original pilot I named the Rachel Zane character Rachel Lane because I used names of people that I’d known. But it didn’t clear because it was too similar to someone’s name. So we changed it to Rachel Zane because of Bonnie Zane.
Anything you’d like to add?
A lot of the first half of the season focused on Harvey. Obviously there were other things going on but it was largely about Harvey and what he was dealing with in terms of being in therapy after the loss of Donna. The last six are going to be a little bit more focused on Mike and what he’s going through in the wake of being arrested. There’s no doubt that will affect every single one of our six from top to bottom. But put yourself in Mike’s shoes and imagine what life is going to be like for him right now. We’re going to get some more insights into him on how he handles this from hereon in.
Are you happy Mike’s secret has finally been exposed? Who do you think was the one who sold him out? Sound off in the comments below.
Suits returns to USA Network in early 2016.