Why 'Suits' Is My Favorite Summer Series
Yes, this is another column about Suits. I've written several of them over the past week. Yet I still feel like writing another one. That's what happens when a show is ridiculously good.
As a TV writer, I'm constantly trying to feed an addiction. I'm looking for the next show, hopefully more than one, that's going to excite me so much that I absolutely have to watch it live. Even if it means rearranging my schedule or skipping a night out. Maybe it's because I've been doing this awhile now, but despite there being more channels than ever before, there are less shows that move me like that. Fewer if you talk about just scripted shows. I can count those on one hand.
Suits is one of those shows. I have gotten in trouble with editors for writing too much about it. I have watched reruns just because they're on. I have hung up on family members who have called during it. And to me, when you're so passionate about something that you blow off your own mother, the least you can do is get out and write a few articles about it.
But you see, I'm also a TV nerd. I can't just love a show. I always have to ask myself "Why? Why do I like this one over all the others? Why is this fictional program making me want to be a fake lawyer?"
There are lots of reasons. The first one that comes to mind is the actors. As previously mentioned, I became a Gabriel Macht fan seven years ago, with the film Archangel. I knew something was up when he played a character I originally wanted to punch in the face, and instead I was crying over him. When I heard Macht was doing TV, I knew I had to watch. A season later my respect for his talent has only deepened, because I've gotten to see him work over thirteen hours, instead of an hour and a half, and it's been one of those times where I've thought, "I'm really lucky to get to write about this person."
The only other member of the Suits cast I knew about before the show was Gina Torres, and it's so great that she's landed a part that's going better for her than the boss role she had on Standoff. But now, there isn't one of them I don't enjoy watching. Kudos to the casting director who found Patrick J. Adams, because he's another name I'm not going to forget any time soon. He's going to go on to a fantastic career. Sarah Rafferty is wonderful in her own right (she was marvelous in How The World Began on stage last fall) plus there's something to be said for casting an actress who's got two decades of history with your leading man - that's something that cannot be faked or taught. Meghan Markle has matched so well with Adams. And I absolutely hate Louis Litt, but that's because Rick Hoffman has made him someone I love to hate, rather than someone I just hate and can't stand to watch.
Even the guest stars have been pleasant surprises: there was Julie Ann Emery as private investigator Vanessa, whom we absolutely should see again, Eric Close playing against his recent type as smarmy attorney Travis Tilden, and Gary Cole as Harvey's mentor Cameron Dennis...someone I did just hate, but that was the point. I can't wait to see this season's guests, including the underappreciated Scott Grimes and John Finn, and Macht's real-life spouse, Jacinda Barrett. (Now, can we please get his brother Jesse to play Harvey's brother? I would plead for that.)
When I see a cast of talented actors, however, the next thing I turn to is the writing. There is nothing more frustrating and saddening than to see really great actors squandered because the writers don't give them enough to work with. Here I say, thank you, Aaron Korsh and crack writing staff. Thank you for coming up with these characters that are so much deeper than the stereotypical roles. Thank you for having them continue to grow every episode. Thank you for the callbacks to earllier episodes and pop culture references that make me an active viewer, rather than a passive one. Thank you for writing television for those of us who want television to be more than just forgettable entertainment.
I often watch television wondering what I would do in the writer's place. Sometimes I spot things and think that I would do them differently. With Suits I rarely thought that. The one major concern I had was with the first season's cliffhanger, and here I swallow my words on that, because in the second season premiere it could not have been resolved any better. Like the acting, I feel like I'm learning things from the writing, too.
And then there's the style: yes, everyone wants to talk about it and I understand why. Watching Suits makes me feel like I need a new wardrobe. It reminds me of the thrill and self-confidence I used to get in putting on a good suit and going to court as an aspiring lawyer years ago. Now, the TV geek in me loves the cinematography, the vibrance of the colors in every frame, and how Pearson Hardman totally feels like someplace I want to go to and get lost in. I would love, someday, to go to the set and shake the hand of every crew member and say thanks, because they deserve it for the hard work that must go into making this fictional law firm feel not fictional at all.
This is a series that excites me on every level: as a critic looking for a show that I can happily dig into with every review, as a writer who's looking for inspiration, and as a fan of television who believes that this medium can do amazing things. There's very little more I could ask from Suits, and that's why I'll keep talking about it, because it deserves every word I can come up with.
If you're not already, please do yourself a favor and watch this show. Then you'll understand why I can't stop writing columns about it.
Suits premieres tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on USA.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.