Gabriel Macht, who stars as Suits‘ Harvey Specter, one of New York’s best (and best-dressed) legal closers, had an idea that USA would renew the show for a second season even before creator Aaron Korsh announced it on set last week as they were shooting the Sept. 8 season 1 finale. In addition to making USA the most-watched network on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET this summer, “Everybody at USA was constantly telling us how great the show is,” Macht says. “Jeff Wachtel, who co-runs the network, was like, ‘Gabriel, I’m telling you. We pull out our pens to take our notes for each episode, then all the sudden, we put the caps back on the pens and we just watch, and we’re entertained, and we don’t have any real notes.’ That was pretty exciting to hear along the way.”
With four episodes left this season — and 16 episodes ordered for 2012 — it’s officially safe to let ourselves get invested in trying to figure out who the mysterious man who only wears Tom Ford suits is. We asked Macht for some clues. Here’s what he had to say:
• Harvey’s a collector: Exhibit A: The line of autographed basketballs on his window sill. “He represents and is friends with major athletes. He’s got Michael Jordan on his speed dial. He’s got basketballs signed by Jordan and Patrick Ewing. He’s got a baseball signed by Derek Jeter,” Macht says. “He’s got really signature — signature, ba dump-dump — sports memorabilia, which he’s gotten from auctions but also probably from the people themselves. He takes a lot in pride in that. He’s a man of the town. He’s connected.” We’ll learn in tonight’s episode — which features guest star Eric Close as an undefeated Boston lawyer who weens his way into a class action suit just so he can say he defeated Harvey Specter — that Harvey, who Macht suspects has season tickets for the Knicks and Yankees, is a former athlete himself. “Harvey wasn’t even on the case. It was Jessica’s case, but he brings up a high school baseball game where Harvey was the pitcher and his shoulder went out, and the team won without him anyway. Harvey still felt like he lost. I think that’s part of his reason for always wanting to win,” Macht laughs. “His sense of self was demolished at that point. He threw his arm out. Big deal. It happens. It wasn’t his fault. Why’s he got to be so serious all the time? My god.”
Exhibit B: Harvey’s wall of records. “I think he puts his music on when he needs to mellow out and really focus and think,” Macht says. “He’s a jazz man and a blues man, those are his staples. But he’s got so many records there, he must listen to everything … His vast knowledge of obscure music marries well with his mental library of obscure facts.”
• There are no drawers in Harvey’s office. Strange, right, because you’d think a man like Harvey would have things he’d need to hide. “Yes, but you know what, that’s what he’s got Donna for,” Macht says. “Donna has her little area, which is really interesting, because whenever we get the name of the locations we’re shooting, it’s actually called ‘Donna’s Area.’ There’s always some funny sexual innuendo that Sarah Rafferty, who plays Donna, throws out there. ‘Okay, you’re coming into Donna’s area.’ [Sarah] is awesome. She’s been my friend for over 20 years. She’s one of my best friends. Our daughters are best friends.” One thing Harvey does keep in his masculine, streamlined office, besides that furniture Macht describes as “classic, modern, timeless, Eames- and Herman Miller-inspired pieces that cost a mint”: a can opener. “It’s hidden in his office, and it reveals itself in the finale,” he teases.
• Harvey is a movie buff. “There’s always a film reference or two in the episode. Harvey likes to try to stump Mike [Patrick J. Adams] or other characters. He’s playful.”
• If you want to see Harvey’s lighter side, look on his office walls. “His artwork was chosen to show that he has a whimsical side with a truly wicked sense of humor,” Macht says.
• Despite his protests otherwise, Harvey does have a heart. “He’s tough as nails, but he’s fair. He has a huge heart, but displays it behind everybody’s back. So he’ll stand up for Mike, but not to his face. He’ll go to Jessica, and say, ‘You’ve got to give this kid a second chance,’ and he’ll go to Lewis and go, ‘Are you nuts? You’re not gonna take this kid. He’s mine, and there’s no way you’re gettin’ near him.’ He believes that Mike is absolutely his ace in the hole, and that he’s a younger version of who Harvey was. He messes up and makes mistakes and he does things in a rogue way because he thinks he’s being clever, and sometimes he gets caught. That’s what Harvey did early on and still does, but he just gets away with it.”
• Harvey loves Jessica (Gina Torres), but not in the way some fans may be hoping… “Jessica put Harvey through law school. He was in the mailroom. She found him and saw that this guy was an ace of her own and decided that, ‘I’m gonna put him through law school, and I’m gonna get him trial experience,’ and that’s how Harvey became an assistant district attorney in Manhattan,” Macht says. (We’ll meet the DA that mentored Harvey, played by Gary Cole, in the Sept. 1 episode, when his office comes under investigation and he turns to Harvey for help.) “I don’t think there was ever anything physical between Harvey and Jessica,” he continues. “I think Harvey loves Jessica just because she gave him his start and pulled him out of whatever mess he was in — and hopefully we’ll learn about that in season 2. But it’s funny. I was on YouTube the other night, and someone sent me a video, one of those where they cut together their own interpretations of relationships. Obviously, there’s this whole bromance [on Suits], so anyone who wants the homosexual twist between Mike and Harvey [can use] those really awkward moments of delayed, long looks. They’re so funny. But then there was one with Harvey and Jessica, and it just looked like, who knows what’s behind that story,” he laughs. “It was well done. It’s just funny to me, because I’m there everyday going, this is a total business relationship with [Jessica]. He’s the mentor to Mike…“