From the Suits Files: Gabriel Macht on Harvey Specter

In another edition of “From the Suits Files”, based on our recent visit to the set of USA Network’s new series, we shift the focus to Gabriel Macht – who you will meet tonight as Harvey Specter. Macht chatted with us between takes while on the Suits set in Toronto, and here’s a bit of what he shared about his character.

Name: Gabriel Macht
Character: Harvey Specter
Character Assessment: A ballsy, narcissistic yet likeable lawyer known as “the closer” at his firm. He doesn’t always play by the rules, but he gets things done. Despite his reputation as a tough cookie, we might just find a gooey centre!

On his “chemistry” with co-star Patrick J. Adams:

Chemistry is such a funny word, you know. Is it manipulated or is it manifested or is it just authentic? And I think from the second I met Patrick, I feel like we got along and more importantly, we got a nice rapport and if that comes across as being great chemistry, then all the better.

On whether he thinks Suits is a legal drama or more of a character drama:

I think that it’s in the guise of a legal drama, but it’s all about the relationships and how everyone’s dealing with each other. Something that’s great about this show is that the characters and the way it’s been cast – it’s like everyone is so unique. We’re finding more and more about the characters as the episodes continue. I just think that that’s a huge thing, when you get a great ensemble that … are in tune with each other and have a great rapport.

On what inspired Harvey to do something as unethical as hiring Mike:

You know what, it’s funny, I haven’t really thought about that. My character’s definitely layered and comes off as like a read hard ass, real tough, but I think underneath, he’s really fair. And when he’s dealing in a case, or when he’s dealing with Mike, or he’s dealing with any of the other characters, he’s morally in line with what’s right. Now, he made this choice. I think he’s just sort of bored with the young associates all coming out of Harvard … with no street smarts. Nobody’s got any sort of balls, for lack of a better word. But I think great characters take big risks. and that’s part of what works about this show. He (takes) this grand risk of using a guy who’s brilliant and has street smarts, but doesn’t have a law degree, and he just figures, you know what, he’ll figure it out.

I also think like when he opens the door, and sees in that waiting room a bunch of jack-offs, he just figures, why not this kid? I think he sees a younger him sitting there and has run into a bunch of problems early on that we don’t know about. He sees himself in Mike and … there is something about Mike that’s going to bring out a little bit more sensitivity for Harvey, and I think he needs a little bit of that.

On what makes Harvey a sympathetic character when he has a lot of unlikeable qualities:

He is totally a hard ass, sophisticated, cares about his presentation, cares about how slick he is. I think underneath, we’re going to see as the show goes, you’re going to see more vulnerability out of him. You’re going to see that he cares about the ALS victim that’s gotten a bad drug and is having a really bad side effect. You’re going to see that maybe the woman that he’s loved for so long got away, and he’ll be challenged by that. You might see him lose at some point, where you’re going to see, a crack in armour. I think there’s a real mystery about him that is sort of interesting … and like little by little, we’re going to peel the layers. I think he’s really sensitive, in many ways that we just haven’t seen yet, and I think you’ll see those moments along the way with Mike, with Jessica (Gina Torres), with Louis (Rick Hoffman).

On some of the backstory that he has created for Harvey:

I think – and this may be different than the writers and I’m not creating this thing – I think he was, sort of like a scrapper early on, and somehow got into the mail room and wasn’t even a lawyer, didn’t think about going to law school but he was he was really quick on his feet. And he got into the mail room and (Jessica) saw that and she like put him on her desk or something, when she was rising up. I think she started mentoring him, so as she’s mentoring me, it’s sort of a mirror , like I’m mentoring Mike. I think what happened was that she put me through law school. I don’t think there was a sexual thing going on with the two of us but I think I look up to her, I respect her and I’ve got to fall in line with her because she gave me my shot, she basically like took me and believed in me.

Your Assignment: Check out Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter for yourself in the series premiere of Suits, tonight at 10/9c on USA.

Photo Courtesy of USA Network

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