Suits Premiere: Creator Aaron Korsh On Shows New Dynamic, Season 8 Clashes, Possible End Date And the Royal Wedding
Photo by: Ian Watson/USA Network
SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonights Suits Season 8 premiere.
Suits 2.0 launched tonight with the season premiere of USA Network series eighth season, the first without original co-stars Patrick J Adams and Meghan Markle. The new opening sequence reflected the new setup — an ensemble legal drama led by Gabriel Macht and a regular cast featuring three original members, Macht, Rick Hoffman and Sarah Rafferty, and three new ones, Katherine Heigl and newly promoted Dule Hill and Amanda Schull.
The Season 8 premiere established the battle lines at the newly merged Zane Specter Litt, with Harvey Specter (Macht) and Heigls Samantha Wheeler going at each other as part of a wager between Harvey and Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce) over who will be managing partner. And while the managing partner question was answered by the end of the premiere, with Harvey handing the reins to Robert, the episode put Alex and Katrina on a collision course as each had been promised — by Harvey and Robert, respectively — that they would become name partner next.
In an interview with Deadline, Suits creator Aaron Korsh talks about the revamp and the impact of Samanthas arrival, Wendell Pierces presence on the show, the conflicts that will be brewing in Season 8, possible new romance (and a baby?), which characters family members will be making an appearance and will Adams Mike, Gina Torres Jessica, who is headlining her own spinoff series, or Abigail Spencers Scottie come back for a visit? Korsh also discusses attending the Royal Wedding between Markle and Prince Harry, the large Suits contingent there and the one guest he was stoked to meet there. Additionally, eight seasons in, Korsh also talks about when the legal series may end.
DEADLINE: Lets start with Robert Zane, who is very prominent in the season premiere and the second episode, and is now managing partner. Will Wendell Pierce be available with his Amazon series Jack Ryan renewed for a second season? Is he in the entire eighth season, at least the summer portion?
KORSH: Wendell, because he is such a great actor, is in tremendously high demand. If I could have Wendell, I would use him in every episode. Unfortunately, I cant because he is in such high demand, but the people at Jack Ryan, Amazon and the production, have been incredibly generous with giving us Wendell as much as they have. So, hes not in every episode, but hes in most episodes.
DEADLINE: I thought that the battle over whos going to be managing partner would go on for a number of episodes. Why did you decide to resolve that right off the bat in the season premiere?
KORSH: In Suits, as it often happens, just because that question is put to bed at the end of the first episode does not mean it will not rear its head again. So Harvey could change his mind and want to be managing partner again, but even in spite of that, even if it is Robert thats going to be managing partner, theyre still going to disagree over the direction of the firm and decisions that need to be made within the firm, and just because Robert is managing partner doesnt mean Harvey isnt going to want to have his way.
DEADLINE: What other conflicts will be dividing the partners for the rest of the season? We have Harveys promise to Alex that his name would go up on the wall next and Roberts identical promise to Samantha.
KORSH: Obviously, they cannot both keep those promises, and that combined with the whos running the firm, whos really got the final say, regardless of who is technically managing partner, those things are going to be brewing throughout the season. But I would also say, unlike in some of the previous seasons, there isnt necessarily just one overarching thing that is going on. This is almost a little bit more like a Season 1, where while all that stuff is going in in the background and definitely is always there, and we do build to a big brouhaha at the end of episode 10, there are a lot of other things that we have room to explore this year, and a lot of that has to do with Robert and Samantha and Alex and Katrina and obviously Harvey, Donna, and Louis.
DEADLINE: You made the comparison to Season 1, and to me, having seen the first two episodes, it seems that the show is a lot more procedural this season, with more self-contained, case of the week episodes, like Season 1. Will that continue?
KORSH: Look, it is possible that our most procedural episodes were in the first season. I would not describe, necessarily, episode 1 and 2 as that much more procedural, but there is, to some degree, more procedure. I would say, yes, there is, but if you look at Louis story in episode 2, its not really procedural. Its a very personal story with Sheila about are they on the same page relationship-wise, and I think even the ones that are a little bit more procedural, they are designed to get to know how, for example, Samantha Wheeler operates. With the procedure in episode 2, Zane is trying to get Harvey to appreciate what he sees in Samantha Wheeler, because hes made this promise to her. So, the procedure is a vehicle for that, which is a little bit of throwback to season 1.
DEADLINE: Speaking of Louis and Sheila, will we have the first Suits baby soon?
KORSH: Well, were trying. Let me put it this way, Nellie, were trying.
DEADLINE: You mentioned Samantha Wheeler. It seems like shes been positioned as Harveys new sparring partner. They dont seem to agree on anything now but will they eventually resemble what Harvey and Mike had as a dynamic?
KORSH: Ive gotten a lot of questions over the last year of “how are you going to replace the bromance with Mike and how are you going to replace the romance of Mike and Rachel with someone or something like that?” To me, I dont think of it as like anybody is replacing the dynamics of someone else, because theyre different. Harvey and Mike were, to me, like brothers, a big brother and a little brother because theres a 10-year age difference. So, to me, Samantha Wheeler in no way can be like a little brother to Harvey. Having said that, their push and pull, I just think its going to be what it is. I hope to just be good. I dont need it to replace something or not replace something, because I think it would be tough to replace Mike.
Its more just like instead of Mike, we have a myriad of other new relationships. I really like Samanthas relationship with Robert Zane and what it does to illuminate his character that obviously they have some sort of history that you dont know that we will reveal over time. I also like her relationship with Donna, over the course of the 10, and with Alex Williams. Were basically setting up a competition between her and Alex, and whos going to get their name up next, and they have a good push-pull. So I love the dynamic she brings.
DEADLINE: Samantha and Alexs rivalry resembles the first season of The Good Wife when Alicia and Cary competed for one opening. Will Samantha and Alex at one point realize that theyre competing for one spot?
KORSH: Yes. They will. Its going to be stages of that happening because I dont think its that difficult for them each to realize that theyre rivals with each other because theyre basically in the same spot. Episode 1s title is Right-Hand Man, my script coordinator came up with that title. I thought it was great because it has a triple meaning. One, Harvey and Alex mistake and assume that Robert Zanes right-hand man Sam is a man, but its actually Samantha, and Alex is sort of Harveys right-hand man, but also Harvey might not want to be a managing partner. He, himself, may prefer to be a right-hand man.
In any event, these two are figuring out theyre going to be rivals, and then theres another thing — will they each find out that a promise has been made on their behalf and figure out, hey, they cant both keep these promises, and what will happen when that happens?
DEADLINE: Was it a coincidence that Samantha is introduced as Harvey just ended his long-term relationship with Paula? So far in Season 8 there has been no romance for him. Is he going to stay away from dating, or is Samantha Wheeler somebody that he might be interested in romantically? Are we headed for another Donna-Harvey triangle, now with Samantha?
KORSH: I will say this. That was certainly not the intention when we brought her on, and it is not currently contemplated for that to happen. Its more just, shes throwing the firm into a new jumble, so to speak, because Samantha and Robert, they came over together. So, even though obviously Katherine Heigl is joining as a series regular and Wendell Pierce isnt because he wasnt available, within the show, Harvey doesnt know that Katherine Heigl is a series regular and that Wendell Pierce isnt.
To him, Robert Zane is now running the firm, and along with him came Samantha Wheeler, and we have to deal with the two of them, and so does Alex and everyone else. Were not, right now, focusing on her as a love interest for anyone. We want her to integrate into the firm and see how it happens on a professional level at the moment.
DEADLINE: And what about Harvey and romance? Is it on ice for now?
KORSH: It is on ice for now. Yeah. Theres a lot of personal dynamics going on in the front 10, but none of them are romantic, with one exception…that Ill tease, and Im not saying who the romance is.
DEADLINE: Besides Samantha, there are no other new characters introduced in the first two episodes. Will we see new faces this season?
KORSH: Yes. First of all, were going to have some old favorites back. Dr. Lipschitz is going to be back, Gretchen is going to be back, obviously Sheila is going to be back, Brian, whos a character we introduced, an associate we introduced who had a baby last year, will be back. Theyre continuing, and thats just something to keep in mind in terms of consistency, but we absolutely will be introducing new characters that will hopefully illuminate and shine some light on our existing characters.
Ill just tease a few things. Louis sister Esther is going to make an appearance. We will see Harveys mom again, Harveys brother again. Were actually going to meet Harveys sister-in-law for a change. Were going to meet a family member of Alexs. These are all in the first 10.
DEADLINE: And no Mike or Jessica?
KORSH: Currently no. I am absolutely open to either one, but as far as Jessica goes, there are some logistical things because once we start shooting the spinoff, Ginas going to be pretty heavy in it, and I dont want to burn her out, and then Patrick, you know when he had left, we both said we were open to it. Its just I think some time needs to pass before we do that, and then if hes up for it and were up for it, and schedules work out, it would be a great idea to have him back.
DEADLINE: I have to ask you, how was the Royal Wedding?
KORSH: It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and everything that happened from the second we left our house to get on the plane to the second we got home, it was just one amazing experience after another, and the memories will last a lifetime. It was so great.
DEADLINE: Did Meghan say if she will be watching? Did she ask about season 8?
KORSH: You know what? I forgot to ask her that. I would be surprised if she didnt catch some of it. Obviously the wedding was so overwhelming. There were so many people. I didnt talk to Meghan too much, a little bit, but I did not remember to ask about Suits, I was too busy congratulating her. Its pretty tough to describe how crazy it was because the atmosphere was so amazing, and seeing these people, there were countless people that had traveled from all over to see this thing. I wrote a little something about it in a tweet, and basically inside that ceremony and inside everything, it felt like a significant thing was happening in the world. In particular where it feels like were not in a great political environment right now, this was like a respite from that.
It was like acceptance and a joyful thing that felt like the world was thirsty for it, and that set the tone for the whole day. Then you come outside, and theres all these incredible people that youve seen from a distance, on TV, your whole life, both political and entertainment people, and it was just amazing. On top of that, we were there with the Suits family. It hits you — weve been together almost 10 years, and all of our producing directors from the first 7 seasons were there, and cast was there, and so many people with their kids were there, and we had so much fun. The kids didnt go to the wedding, but we really made a full vacation out of it, and it was great.
DEADLINE: How many Suits people were there?
KORSH: There were like 600 people at the wedding, and then in the reception, and from Suits, off the top of my head, it was me, Gabriel, Patrick, Sarah, Rick, Gina (Torres), and Kevin (Bray), Anton (Cropper), and Silver (Tree), and all of those people had spouses, and then Abigail Spencer was there, Meghans agent Nick Collins, so I guess we had about 20 people.
Even though you were at this place with 600 people, if you know 20 people, it was just like you would still look around and see all these people that you knew everywhere in addition to all these famous people, all these figures youve seen. I had a 20-minute conversation with John Major, who was the Prime Minister of England for about seven years, around the Clinton era. It was crazy. It was just one kind of amazing interaction after another.
DEADLINE: You mention Abigail Spencer. Her show Timeless is no longer, did you discuss her possibly coming in for a few episodes as Scottie?
KORSH: I didnt. You know, I should call her. Every year, one of us will call the other one and say, do you want to come in, or shell say can I come in, and well figure it out, and the challenge is, unless youre going to pursue something between her and Harvey, because usually shes not available permanently, and I have shied away from wanting to do another, they may be together and then they end up not being together. The challenge is to integrate her in a different way, and weve always figured out a way to do it, but I havent seen her since the wedding, and I havent talked to her yet about coming back this year.
DEADLINE: You just rebooted Suits heading into Season 8. How long do you envision the series going?
KORSH: I dont know how long. Honestly, Nellie, I dont know how long I envision the show going. Its a collective decision, with some degree the actors and me and the network and studio, but to me if they ever said, look, season 7 would be the finale, then we wouldve made that the finale. There may come a point where I say I dont feel good about continuing to tell these stories, but for me, right now, were not at that point. I think the studio and network feel the same way, and I think itll be a sort of a combined feeling of when they think weve done enough is when well pack it up, but Im not sure when that will be. I dont have a prediction.