Suits is back for one final round, and it is the most highly anticipated season of the USA drama ever. That is in very large part due to TV’s longest running will-they/won’t-they couple of Donna (Sarah Rafferty) and Harvey (Gabriel Macht) — better known to the internet as #Darvey — finally getting over themselves and getting together.
The final season, which kicks off Wednesday, will resume moments after Darvey’s steamy union in the Season 8 finale and continue into the next morning, which will find the firm facing yet another crisis in the wake of Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce) taking the blame for Harvey breaking attorney-client privilege. While Donna and Harvey have finally reached the pinnacle of their personal lives, will that newfound happiness help or hinder their ability to save the firm from yet another ethical scandal?
With only 10 episodes left to wrap up the story of Suits, TV Guide talked to executive producer Aaron Korsh about what to expect from the final run, and of course, what all of that drama means for Harvey and Donna in this new chapter.
When you decided this was going to be the last season, what was the top thing on your bullet list of what you wanted to accomplish before saying goodbye to these characters?
Aaron Korsh: We had some huge things happen at the end of last year. The second biggest was Zane getting disbarred and a little bit disgraced, and the biggest was obviously Harvey and Donna getting together. So, that sort of dictated what we’re doing, and that’s how we did it. We kind of picked it up right from there and took it from there, and thought, “What would the consequences of those things be?”
Then we talked about what a good season would look like within those confines, and then we ended with how does it end for these characters? So, it wasn’t so much like “What do I want to accomplish?” as much as “Where do we start from where we left off?” And then maybe “How do we want to end it?” Then, the next question would be, “Are there any things we’re dying to tell in the middle?” and there turned out to be a few things.
How many times is this firm going to have to buy new stationary and send out a press release about the firm name changes in the final season?
Korsh: Excellent question. By the way, we’re right now, literally today, putting the beginnings of the finishing touches on [Episodes] 9 and 10. Not writing them — we call it “breaking a story,” on kind of dictating what’s going to happen in 9 and 10. From a month or two ago, or maybe even more, we did put a comment, and I hope it makes it in — obviously I’m the one to decide, but sometimes it fits and sometimes it doesn’t — but a comment on how many times the firm has changed its name. I’ll say, in true Suits fashion, at least one time is the firm going to change its name, from what it was at the end of last season to what it is at the end of this season.
As you said, the biggest thing that happened last season was obviously Darvey finally happening. What does this mean for the show to finally have these two together and actually being on the same page about their feelings, rather than having to deal with that tension?
Korsh: We talked about it and what we wanted to do was service their relationship moving forward throughout the season without it just turning into a complete every-scene-is-Harvey-and-Donna. Which I know some fans would like, but I’m sorry about that. What we wanted to do was talk about, what would it be like? What would life be like with them together?… In early seasons of the show, Harvey and Donna had a lot more fun and flirtation. The tension of how they felt about each other caused some stress in their relationship, tension that they wouldn’t just drop their facades and let their feelings come through. So, what it allows for this year — I know a lot of the fans will love some of the intimate moments. We do have a scene, I think we open right up with them the very same night. We have a lot of intimacy and some romance.
They have a lot of fun together this year. There’s a lot of fun Harvey and Donna scenes, and they’re largely on the same page this year. There’s a lot of comedy with them, a lot of lightness, a lot of banter, and then, in addition, obviously fans get the romance that they’ve been waiting for.
Is everyone else at the firm going to be OK with this, or are there going to be of very serious problems with the two of them being together?
Korsh: The two of them being together caused some, I would say, complications more than problems, but there are a couple of instances where it does — yeah, there’s a little bit of problem with it. … It definitely causes some problems and it causes some complications. Nothing Earth-shattering, but it has consequences. It has consequences throughout the firm for different reasons for different people.
Later on this season, we also have Patrick J. Adams coming back for one last battle. Why did you feel like it was really necessary to have Mike back and have him go toe-to-toe with Harvey for their last adventure together?
Korsh: When we sat down for the season the question was, are we bringing Mike back, or are we not bringing Mike back? It was one of the first questions we asked, and it was unanimous: Everybody wanted to bring Mike back. I think the reason is sort of obvious. He was a cornerstone of the show, the show was originally the Mike and Harvey show. … We all felt like we missed him, we wanted to see him again.
[Patrick] and I had discussed it when he left, that if the circumstances were right, we’d both be up for it. So Patrick and I went out for dinner, we talked about it, we both had thoughts, and it turns out he was game for coming back. We did discuss, should they come back and do a case together? Should they come back and be against each other? And it just felt more organic, at the time, to have them end up going against each other. Both things would have challenges, but we like how it turned out. A lot of the consequences of what happens from that episode play out in the second half of the season. I will tease: Mike may or may not come back at the end of the season.
Obviously Meghan Markle is a little busy to come back for the final season, but do you guys have any plans to honor Rachel even though she physically can’t be there?
Korsh: Even last year, Harvey left Mike a message after Mike was gone. We have a scene or two where that’s written in. Where someone is leaving Rachel a message and obviously when Mike comes back, they’ll ask him about Rachel. Yes, we definitely [honor her]. Rachel is still alive in our world, even though we’re not currently planning on seeing her.
Suits’ final season premieres Wednesday, July 17 at 9/8c on USA.