At the time Suits was renewed for a ninth and final season in January, creator Aaron Korsh predicted that the series will “probably end with some happiness and some sadness.” And that is the series finale he delivered.
It was a packed, Two Weddings and a Birth closer, which featured Louis & Sheila and Harvey & Donna tying the knot on the same day, plus Louis and Sheila welcoming a baby girl just hours later.
The happy developments in the finale also included Harvey, Louis, Donna and Alex defeating Faye and getting their firm back, with Samantha and Katrina reinstated. And Harvey and Mike partnering again as Harvey and Donna leave to join Mike and Rachel in Seattle.
The sadness in the finale involved the rough patch Louis had to go through with his wife and child in danger. While Mike and Harvey reuniting is sweet, “the bitter thing is that they’re leaving Louis,” Korsh said. “It’s bittersweet for Louis. It’s bittersweet for Harvey and Donna. It’s bittersweet for everyone, And also just the fact that it’s ending. It’s the end of an era both for the show and within the show.”
In an interview with Deadline, Korsh discussed when and how he decided how Suits will end, did he consider alternate endings, were Harvey and Donna always going to end up together, does he know what’s next for the characters, did he make last-minute changes to the closer, and what reaction he expects from fans. Korsh also revealed which Suits alums he wanted to get back for the final season but couldn’t make it happen and whether Meghan Markle was approached about making a cameo. He shared a sweet personal story that inspired Harvey’s red-herring comment to Donna that they were not getting married anytime soon just before he proposed and his thoughts about the Gina Torres-starring Suits spinoff Pearson, which is heavily on the bubble.
DEADLINE: When did you come up with the ending for the series?
KORSH: Sometime around the end of season eight was when I decided if Mike comes back, Harvey and Donna will leave and work with Mike. Then early in Season 9 we decided what was going to happen was Louis was going to be getting married and there was going to be problems with the baby, and they were going to go to the hospital.
DEADLINE: How contingent was this ending? It only works if Patrick J. Adams, who plays Mike, comes back. What if he hadn’t come back?
KORSH: Usually when I get something I want to do in my head I just assume it’s going to work out even though a lot of times there is a lot of pain in the butt or a lot of effort required to make it work out that way, but it was very contingent. Obviously Harvey’s not going to go and leave and work with Mike if Patrick doesn’t come back. It was so early in the season that we talked to him about it and he was onboard that we never really contemplated a backup plan. I don’t like to think of backup plans until we about have to, so it was highly contingent on it but Patrick was on board pretty early.
DEADLINE: So there was no alternate ending you considered?
KORSH: I never just think of something and land on it immediately. So I’m sure there were times when I was open to considering it. There was never a different ending that was seriously contemplated, no.
DEADLINE: Did you have an original ending in mind when you first conceived Suits? Obviously there were cast changes you couldn’t have anticipated, with the departures of Gina Torres, Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle.
KORSH: No. When I wrote the first script I had no intention of even attempting to sell it. I never contemplated even what would happen in episode two let alone episode 134. Then, even if I had, we went so much farther. Mike went to prison. That could have been an ending. I had no idea what the ending was going to be, and there were times when I thought maybe the ending would be Harvey and Donna getting together but we ended up doing that last year.
DEADLINE: But Harvey and Donna ending together was never in question, that it will happen eventually?
KORSH: It was in question. I thought maybe if they ever get together, it’ll be in the last episode. But no, I never was sure they were going to get together. That evolved over the years and we decided to do it. Starting around season four or five is probably when I thought they’re probably going to get back together but I didn’t know how, and I didn’t know when. Certainly, Seasons 1 through 4 was not a foregone conclusion that they were going to get together.
DEADLINE: A few days ago you tweeted that you had made some big last-minute changes to the finale. What were they?
KORSH: That was really because our promo department made a mistake and they spoiled both Donna and Harvey getting engaged and Donna and Harvey getting married, and one of our extras to some degree spoiled Harvey leaving the firm with the final name of the firm. So, so many things in my mind had been spoiled that I decided to say, I made some big last-minute changes just to throw some doubts into some fans’ minds but I didn’t make any big last-minute changes.
DEADLINE: Speaking of Harvey and Donna getting engaged, in the last season finale, you had Robert encourage Samantha to get closer with Harvey as a mislead to fans before Harvey and Donna got together at the end of the episode. Was Harvey’s comment to Donna as they were walking down the aisle at Louis’ wedding that there was no wedding in the cards for them anytime soon also a way to get fans riled up before he proposed and the two tied the knot shortly thereafter?
KORSH: Yes, it was part of that because that was definitely the idea of it. And then having the voiceover as they walk down the aisle, talking about them was to some degree designed to make fans irate and have them think oh, my God, he’s just doing the same thing again. He’s not going to give us a wedding, and they’re not even going to get engaged. And then give them the big surprise that they didn’t just get engaged, they also got married. Unfortunately that ending got spoiled for at least some amount of fans but that was the purpose for that.
Part of it was, when I actually asked my wife to marry me, we were going away for the weekend. I had planned a very special weekend to ask her to marry me, and I was worried she was going to see it coming. So I told her the night before we were going away not to expect me to ask her to marry her. It was a stupid thing to do. She got upset, and I ended up asking her to marry me that very night because it upset her. I didn’t want to have a terrible weekend with her in a bad mood. So we ended up getting engaged that night instead. It was a little bit of that when Harvey says don’t expect it to happen any time soon. I was, in my own mind, making fun of myself a little bit.
DEADLINE: The finale went full circle with Harvey and Mike working together again. Obviously the dynamic is different now. Mike is the boss, and they are in Seattle. In your mind, how long will Harvey last being out of the big leagues?
KORSH: First of all, we say new boss. I think they’re really going to be working side by side. Some fan asked me a couple nights ago on Twitter, ‘Are you going to think about what’s going to happen to them afterwards’, and I’m like, I’ve decided they cancelled the show, and I’m going to embrace that, and I’m kind of enjoying not thinking about that stuff anymore even for the huge amount of money they pay me. I’m not going to think about it, and I’m like, I’m certainly not just going to think about it for free. I have no idea how long Harvey’s going to last there. I leave that to fans. I think that’s for everybody to contemplate in their own brain.
DEADLINE: So you have no idea what happens with the firm next?
KORSH: I have no idea. I could think about it and come up with something but I have not spent one second thinking about it.
DEADLINE: The final season featured a lot of fan favorites. You had said that you had a list of characters you wanted to bring back. Were there any actors whom you wanted but couldn’t make it happen?
KORSH: Abigail Spencer and I are always in contact every year. She had a tough scheduling road to hoe but in the end, it wasn’t really her scheduling. It was hard to figure out a way to fit Scottie in seamlessly. So that was more from a storytelling standpoint. I would have liked to have gotten her in but I couldn’t figure out a way to do it. Gina Torres, Jessica, she was worn out from the shooting of Pearson. We did have a scene for her. With her schedule we couldn’t make it work. That’s really probably the one I would have liked to have had.
DEADLINE: Was there any possibility for Meghan to do even a small cameo?
KORSH: Now that we already did it, I will tell you. I thought about asking, and I thought about even using audio footage that we have to come up with something, and in the end I didn’t ask, and I just thought, I’m going to respect her new life and not put her in the position of having to ask. We decided not to put her in that position so I never asked.
DEADLINE: Meghan’s Rachel was still featured prominently in the montage towards the end of the finale. How did that come about? Did you just get a little nostalgic when you were editing the finale?
KORSH: I wrote that thing into the script. I am a nostalgic person. We talked about it. We weren’t sure it would work, and we weren’t sure how much to put in. There were certain people that thought we shouldn’t do it. I was open to hearing that maybe we shouldn’t do it because we did have a lot of endings. All those people, when they actually saw it, decided they wanted it in, they liked it. Even though Harvey was not present for every single scene in this flashback, the idea is that Harvey is in his office, thinking about his time in the firm, about all that he has been through over all of the years. For me it adds to the good vibe of the show.
DEADLINE: Are you bracing for fans’ reaction to the finale? Series closers tend to divide people. What is your expectation?
KORSH: Look, I make the best show that I can. When I’m in the edit bay making decisions, I’m thinking about, am I going to be proud of what I’ve done. The fans are going to react the way the fans are going to react. They may be happy. They could love it, they could hate it. There’s never a universal reaction. On a given night, I’ll get one tweet after an episode saying it’s the best episode they’ve ever seen, and right next to it I’ll get another tweet saying that’s the episode that ruined the series. I can’t really control what fans are going to think or say. Having said all that, I would think fans are going to be pretty happy. I just would, but I have no idea.
DEADLINE: We’d talked about idea for a Suits prequel centered on young Robert Zane. Anything happening with that?
KORSH: I believe I had a conversation with (USA and Peacock head of programming) Bill McGoldrick about it. USA and the streamer did not seem interested in pursuing it. I suppose that could change at some point but I did ask, and they did not seem interested in it.
DEADLINE: Speaking of Suits spinoffs, what is your take on Pearson? What do you think about that show’s future?
KORSH: What I would say about Pearson is very similar to what I just said about the Suits finale. What I focus on ever when making a show is, am I proud of what I did because I can never control what people are going to think about it or whether people watch it or what the decisions of the network or the studio are going to be. I am tremendously proud of the first season of Pearson. I think (exec producers) Dan Arkin, Kevin Bray, Gina Torres, Gene Klein and Dave Bartis did an amazing job, the writers, the cast, everybody. It’s an amazing show. So I don’t know what the future holds for it but I know that I’m incredibly proud of what we did in season one. I’m hoping for a season two but I don’t know.
DEADLINE: Any final thoughts as you close the Suits chapter in your life?
KORSH: When I wrote Suits, it was an untitled Wall Street project. Ironically, the title of the first episode I ever wrote was “Loyalty Is a Two-Way Street”. That’s how long Harvey had thought that. I feel like for nine years, it was a show about loyalty and family. On screen they were a family that struggled with loyalty but in the end, usually came through for each other. Behind the scenes was no different. We were a family for nine years. The cast, the crew, even the network and the studio, the producers and the fans. They were all part of that family. I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of two shows in my life that were like that. Everybody Loves Raymond was a family. You see someone that you worked with on that show, you never forget them, they’ll always be a part of your family. I feel the same way about Suits.
It is a sad thing to move on from such a long run, but also we have the body of work and the memories and nobody can ever take that away. I’m incredibly proud to have been involved with all those people for all those years. I would say thank you to everyone involved. Cast, crew, fans, everybody.