A Preview of Suits

USA Network’s new legal drama Suits premieres tonight, and I watched an early version of the pilot so I could let you know whether it’s worth your time. The short version: It is! I think you should give it a try, especially if you like USA’s other shows. (Note: The pilot I saw was not final – it still had the show’s old name on it, even – so any of the details I mention are definitely subject to change.)

The longer version: Suits is about a self-centered hot shot lawyer, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), who recruits a brilliant young man named Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) to join his prestigious New York law firm – even though Mike hasn’t gone to law school and doesn’t even have a college degree. We see them work on their cases while trying to keep the deception – and Mike’s criminal past – a secret. Meanwhile, Harvey teaches Mike how to be a lawyer, and Mike tries to teach Harvey to care about someone other than himself. This exchange from the pilot encapsulates this dynamic: “I’m not about caring. I’m about winning,” Harvey says. Mike’s reply: “Why can’t you be about both?”

Any USA Network fan knows that their shows tend to rise or fall on the characters, rather than the cases of the week, and the chemistry between the main characters is paramount. Suits is no exception, and Harvey and Mike already have one of my favorite love/hate reluctant bromances on TV. And again, since this is a USA show, they’re both brilliant, experts on practically everything, and not at all hard on the eyes. Harvey is lovably arrogant, Mike is lovably conflicted, and their banter is just lovable. They’re backed up by a strong supporting cast led by Gina Torres as the head of the firm, and it’s refreshing to see a woman of color matter-of-factly in a position of power without having it be a big belabored thing.

Executive producer Doug Liman promised that most of the cases Mike and Harvey took on would be on behalf of rich, privileged clients, but they were working a pro bono case in the pilot, so we’ll have to wait and see what the typical cases of the week actually look like. I’m not too concerned, though; this isn’t a show you watch for the case of the week. The one subplot that I hope gets dropped or substantially altered soon is that of Mike and his childhood best friend, Trevor, who had pulled him into a criminal lifestyle. Much of the tension in the pilot revolved around a suitcase of marijuana that Mike wound up with when one of Trevor’s drug deals went bad, and I found it to be an unnecessary and somewhat fake-feeling layer of suspense. I think the cases, the saga of Mike’s deception and his attempt to go straight, and the developing relationships between the characters will provide plenty of plot without throwing Trevor’s drug dealing in the mix too.

All in all, Suits feels exactly like a USA Network show – and honestly, that’s what I’m looking for from it. It’s nice to know that, especially during the summer when the networks barely try, I can turn on any show from USA to watch pretty people being smart and clever but also dealing with real problems that have real stakes. Suits fits perfectly into this stable of shows, and I’m eager to see where Harvey and Mike take us. (And, it must be said, to ogle their very nice suits.)

Suits premieres tonight at 10/9c.

Photo Courtesy of USA Network

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