'Suits' season finale: Creator Aaron Korsh talks cliffhangers, chemistry, and of course, that can opener

Suits-premiere

Image Credit: Christos Kalohoridis/USA

SPOILER ALERT: USA’s Suits ended its first season last night with more than one cliffhanger: What will Trevor, who found out that Mike was dating Jenny by listening to a pining, drunken voicemail from Rachel on Mike’s phone, tell Jessica about Mike in revenge? At what moment in the past did Donna and/or Harvey think about crossing a line but decide against it because they could never go back? And what the hell do Harvey and Donna do with a can opener before he begins every trial? Let’s see what creator Aaron Korsh has to say about those questions, and where we might be headed in the long-awaited season 2.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The first question is obvious: What do they do with the can opener?
AARON KORSCH: I have some notions as to what they do, but there’s no definitive answer currently. [Laughs] I will tell you the story of coming up with the can opener. Originally, there was no can opener. You were wondering, Were they having sex in the office? What was going on? I wanted to imply that maybe they were, but then answer later when Rachel asked Donna ‘Have you ever?’ and Donna says ‘No’ and it’s truthful, so then you’re wondering, well, then what did they do? There was some thoughts that it should be a little less sexual innuendo in the front, so the can opener just popped into my head. There was a big debate: Do we tell people what they do with the can opener, or do we not tell people what they do with the can opener? It’s kinda my feeling that people want to want to know what the can opener was, they don’t really want to know. It’s gonna drive them crazy in a great way. I watch Twitter. I don’t think it would be ablaze if we said what the can opener was. It’d be a couple of comments. But because you don’t say it, people are like, “What was the can opener?!” I try to gauge what I would want as a viewer. 

And what’s the gymnastics video Mike and Jenny referred to?
[Laughs] The story there is, originally, there was no line of dialogue there. It was Mike talking to Jenny, and she wants a ritual, and he says, “I can get behind that” but you didn’t know what she says, so it’s like the can opener. For some reason, the network, and they were not alone on this, thought it was weird to hear Jenny on the first half of the phone call and not hear her on the second half. So in editing, we were just kind of kickin’ around stuff. Gavin Barclay, our post-producer, actually came up with a different line — “Remember that website you tried to get me to look at?” — that we were gonna use. When they recorded them all, Gavin picked the other one because he thought it sounded better, and it broke his heart. But it showed he put the show’s interest above his own. With both the can opener and the gymnastics reference, the viewer can either think a dirty thought about it or you can think a clean thought about it. It’s like a Rorschach Test.

Was the idea that there could’ve been a moment for Donna (Sarah Rafferty) and Harvey (Gabriel Macht) in the past something that was in your mind from the start of the show, or did it develop over the course of the season?
I always felt like Harvey, to me, would never sleep with anyone in the office because he doesn’t have to. It’s kinda similar to in the beginning of the season when he says he wouldn’t sleep with someone else’s wife, not because of morals but because it’s a pain in the ass. It’s mysterious: Is he really not doing it because of morals and he doesn’t want people to know that he’s an ethical man? But in any case, he doesn’t need to do it because he’s so good-looking he can have any woman, so it’s too big of a problem to do that in the office. So I never thought that Harvey and Donna had actually done anything, but two attractive people who have worked together for a long time, and if it’s 12 years, they would have been in their late 20s or early 30s, so how could they not have had some moment where they were tempted at least? I feel like Sarah brought that in that look.

Was that look scripted?
No. Sarah brought it, and we talked about it a lot, what it meant to her and what it meant to me, and in the end, I thought it was great.

Will you explore what that moment was Harvey and Donna next season?
Most likely, yes. That look is an intriguing thing. There’s a story there. Whether we tell it in season 2 or in the future, I can’t be sure. But I’d love to tell it.

Gabriel and Sarah have actually been friends for more than 20 years, and now their daughters are best friends. Did you know that during casting?
Gabriel kind of recommended Sarah for the role, and we said to him and to her we’ll obviously take a look at her, but we weren’t gonna give her that part just because he recommended her. She had to earn it like everyone did, and she came in, and she was just hands-down the best for the role.

Donna and Louis (Rick Hoffman) have such a fun relationship that as a viewer, you want to see them more. But then you don’t want their awesomeness to be diluted. Is that hard to balance?
It’s always a challenge to do that. You can’t do it every episode, or it’ll feel like too much. What we have yet to do is give them a real story between the two of them. We’ve just given them scenes together. Maybe next season that will be something that would allow you to see them more, but it’s not just a comedic kind of thing. The way it happened was in episode 105, we were a little short and we needed to go back and reshoot a scene. I remembered Harvey asks Louis for a favor and Louis says he’s gonna ask for a favor back, and we never see what that is. Why don’t we add that scene in, and why doesn’t he ask for Donna, because she’s such an amazing secretary? It’s kinda funny that he’s like, “I want Donna” but not in a sexual way. [Exec producer] Sean Jablonski actually wrote those scenes, and they were so good together that you wanted to see these people together more often. I feel like if you love Suits, a large part of what makes it so great is the actors improv particular moments throughout an episode, and those moments are often my favorite moments. From top to bottom, we have no weakness, we only have amazing actors. All the actors are great at improv, in particular, Sarah and Rick are just so good at that.

That scene with Louis demanding to be made senior partner, and Jessica (Gina Torres) shooting him down so quickly it was like she was Indiana Jones pulling out a gun instead of a whip — his reaction was amazing. Was that scripted?
That was not scripted. He added that last bit of comedic capitulation in the end, which to me made the scene. Originally, it was supposed to be Jessica saying, “I don’t respond to threats. I make them. If you ever want to be senior partner, call your cousin. Call your cousin now,” and then cut right to Harvey in the DA’s office slamming the results down. But Rick did it in the rehearsal, and I thought it was just amazing. To me, the character is likely to stew on that — he wants to be partner and he just keeps not getting it. Even though he gave in, it’s definitely a potential seed being laid for next year in terms of how he’s gonna feel about that.

What can you say about the Trevor cliffhanger?
I have notions of what’s gonna happen next year but have not locked it down yet. I think it would be cheating the audience to have Trevor not something say that is of major impact to Mike. The bomb that he’s gonna drop has to be a significant one. We can’t defuse the situation by him just deciding not to say something. We actually filmed him telling her a couple things, just for fun and to have the option — we may not show either one of them.

Could we see the new D.A., played by Chi McBride, return in season 2?
It’s not set in stone either way. I loved him, I loved this character, and if we land on it, I would love to bring him back. When the writers regroup, I have a thousand things I’d love to do next year and there won’t be room for every one of them. There could be an arc in there. He suspects what Harvey did [to get the confession] in the season finale, so you could have him investigating Harvey a little bit, and that would be a recurring role if we decide to go that road. I probably wouldn’t bring him back for just one episode.

What other story lines might we see in season 2?
One of things I had wanted to do this year was see Grammy a little bit more, and somehow we kinda got away from her and we didn’t pick her back up. To me, I’d like to see his relationship with Grammy lead to an impact on his life somehow, be it someone from his past comes back into play or figuring out what exactly happened to his parents, there’s some mystery there. With Harvey, why is Harvey not in a relationship and doesn’t seem to have ever really had a meaningful relationship with a woman? I mean, he may have, but we don’t know that. That’s a question that is often answered by exploring someone’s relationship with their parents or siblings or something. So finding out what his relationship with his father or mother is like seems like a good way to answer the question about his relationship with women, and then we just have to figure out how that story is told so it’s impactful in the present day. And like we talked about, Louis and the partnership and what’s gonna happen with that. A lot of people want to know what happened to Hartman. Who’s Hartman? Where is Hartman of [the firm] Pearson Hartman? I want to definitely meet him and have him have some impact on the firm. I don’t know if that will be in season 2 or the future. Trevor and Jenny, will have to figure out what’s gonna with them. Obviously, Rachel, is Rachel is gonna take the LSATs? Is she gonna start going to law school? What’s her grander scheme? Maybe digging in a little bit to Jessica’s personal life. Maybe Donna’s personal life. Those are all things that are on the table, and we won’t be able to do them all, but I’d love to.

I loved that episode when Harvey found out Jessica had an ex-husband and the scene in the bar when he awkwardly tried to comfort her.
A lot of people love that scene. Harvey’s a tough character: If you played it exactly as written, without what Gabriel brings to the table, I think people would not love Harvey. Gabriel, as a person, is the opposite of Harvey. He’s a sensitive, sweet, gentle, kind man. He brings that to Harvey in subtle ways, like in that touching her hand moment. It was Jon Cowan, the writer’s idea, to have Jessica have a husband and be married and Harvey hadn’t known it. It was a bold move to go into not of one of your two main characters’ personal lives so early in the season, and I was glad he pushed for that.

Where does Harvey’s love of movies come from?
I love quoting movies. All of my friends and I always quote movies, and I always wondered why for a lot of TV shows, it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t quote or talk about TV and movies. Maybe it’s because you’re shining the light on you are a TV show, and you don’t want to make people aware of that in the moment, but to me, real people quote movies, so that’s where that comes from.

Last question: How are we going to make it till next summer for a new episode of Suits? Has there been any talk of webisodes or something like that?
It’s not been talked about. I believe there’ll be a DVD coming out [of season 1]. I don’t know if it will satisfy viewers, but to my knowledge, it will have deleted scenes, a gag reel, and we are scheduled to do commentary. And look, sometimes I get on Twitter or Facebook and say something. [Laughs] You never know, maybe in the next few months I’ll come out with what the can opener really was.

Just FYI: Gabriel will be getting asked that question a lot, so you may want to prep him on how to answer when people are trying to break him.
[Laughs] He doesn’t know. I didn’t tell him.

Read more:
‘Suits’: Gabriel Macht takes us inside the mind and office of Harvey Specter
‘Suits’ star Patrick J. Adams talks love triangle, nails the EW Pop Culture Personality Test

Comments (51 total) Add your comment
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  • MWeyer

    Loved that Louis moment as a nice bit is the character often honestly not getting how snide and slimy he comes off as and can’t get his head around the fact that win-loss isn’t enough, it’s about passion for the clients which is why he loses so much.

    • Emgee

      Rick Hoffman is fantastic. I first saw him in an episode of “Leverage” and he often plays that same type of character: very self-involved and condescending. I imagine that in real life, he is completely the opposite.

    • Steph

      I so agree. It was the best scene of the night. Rick Hoffman is great and has been so as a guest on several tv series in the last few years.

      Does anyone remember him in the short lived The $treet series. He was great.

    • Ava L

      Louis is my favorite character and that scene with Jessica was a classic.

      • gazmo

        Best Supporting Actor Emmy nomination (if there’s any justice).

    • Breanna

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  • Emgee

    Fun interview.

  • sam

    A fun episode to watch, but never bought that Harvey would beat somebody up. That went too far and came out of nowhere. Can’t believe that Mike would come up with the only solution and Harvey was clueless. I know they were trying to show that Harvey is human, but it went way too far. And no lawyer would ever promise success to such a defendant, even Harvey.

    • charles

      I think you are missing the point: because it was personal and losing was not an option, Harvey was off his game.

      • Sparky

        Yeah like Harvey and Gary Cole’s character said its not about caring its about winning. Harvey cared alot about getting this guy out of jail because he felt guilty so he wasn’t thinking clearly and screwed up.

  • mick

    Their whole cast was amazing and I love Aaron Korsh crediting every person for their contribution to the show. I saw that he got promoted to showrunner next season, so good luck to him.

  • Blitz

    I think the can opener is for caviar. And much as I like Mike, he crossed the line by sleeping with Jenny. No matter whether he and Trevor are done, you just don’t do that.

  • Sam

    Really great show, Gabriel Macht is fiiiiiiiiine !

    • Steph

      I know he is my new celebrity crush

  • jill

    i love this show and can’t wait for it to come back. it is the only show my husband and I watch together!

  • commonlogic

    Just a thought on the whole can opener – if it’s a whole pre-trial ritual ‘tween Harvey & Donna, it might be a new take on meaning of whole “open up a can of whoop-ass”. Whatever they open is probably trivial.

    Btw, Sarah Rafferty is freakin’ brilliant but let’s show some love to Gina Torres who plays Jessica Pearson with such authority, strength and wit. Such a great cast overall.

    • Sammy

      I like the ‘opening up can of whoop ass’ analogy. Put me in the category of wanting to know about the can opener – but please don’t tell me. I love little mysteries like that. :) Same with Harvey – LOVE him and want to know more but I think the mystery is the allure. I love Harvey and Mike’s secret too and don’t really want that to be all resolved and done with too early. Hopefully Jessica can work something out. She doesn’t even need a can opener to open HER can of whoop ass. lol Absolutely loved what they did with Harvey/Donna. I’m not a romance junky and finding out they’d never slept together I think adds so much more depth to their relationship being based on trust and loyalty, and obviously a deep love of a platonic kind (even if there may be real feelings there).

      Kudos to Aaron Korsh. He’s created a show that I fell in love with this summer. It was flawless and gave me everything I wanted to see to the point where I sometimes felt it was written just for me. I hope that S2 picks up where we left off with Mike still being taken under Harvey’s wing being his rookie and learning the ropes (sometimes the hard way especially with Louis and wily schemes).

      Harvey and Mike are my two favorite TV characters. I adore their chemistry and I couldn’t wait to tune in each week for the ups and downs and to see their relationship grow. Whatever Aaron decides for S2 I’ll definitely be there and I’ll be keeping my eye out for the S1 DVD when it becomes available. LOVE this show and will miss it till next year!!!

    • Alexm

      I like the opening a can of whoop ass theory.

      • Sammy

        I like the ‘opening up can of whoop-ass’ theory too, but me in the category of wanting to know about the can opener – but please don’t tell me. I love little mysteries like that. :) Same with Harvey – LOVE him – and want to know more, but I think the mystery is the allure so it would be good to receive tidbits while adding even more mysteries to the enigma which is Harvey Specter. I love Harvey and Mike’s secret too and don’t really want that to be all resolved and done with too early. Hopefully Jessica can work something out. She doesn’t even need a can opener to open HER particular can of whoop-@ss. lol Absolutely loved what they did with Harvey/Donna. I’m not a romance junky and finding out they’d never slept together I think adds so much more depth to their relationship being based on trust and loyalty, and obviously a deep love of a platonic kind (even if there may be real feelings there).

        Kudos to Aaron Korsh. He’s created a show that I fell in love with this summer. It was flawless and gave me everything I wanted to see to the point where I sometimes felt it was written just for me. I hope that S2 picks up where we left off with Mike still being taken under Harvey’s wing as his rookie and learning the ropes (sometimes the hard way especially with Louis and wily schemes).

        Harvey and Mike are my two new favorite TV characters. I adore their chemistry and I couldn’t wait to tune in each week for the ups and downs and to see their relationship grow. Whatever Aaron decides for S2 I’ll definitely be there and I’ll be keeping my eye out for the S1 DVD when it becomes available. LOVE this show and will miss it till next year!!!

      • Ashley

        These communications were NOT basic, rdanom issues that may sign up for anybody because so many skeptics may dispute. Alternatively, these folks were extremely particular, very related as well as Remarkably psychological bits of approval that will offered in order to demonstrate that this method to be real obtaining communications readily available those who died.

    • sim

      Agreed. I think Harvey probably keeps cans of whoop ass stacked in his office for just such an occasion.

  • Steph

    BEST SUMMER SERIES. So sad we have to wait til next summer for season 2. what will i do??????

  • Mary

    I think they eat a can of chef boyardee or something before trial. Just my thought b/c they have been together so long, in the beginning when u r that young starting out, it’s what you eat. And even though now they could have caviar, they have to stick to tradition. And Donna does like junk food – she did mention cheetos in the very same episode

  • Em

    Love this summer series. This and Game of thrones where the best series this summer. I love Jenny by the way. I’m glad the writer’s are writing the relationship as one sided like so many other shows where there is a clear unfavorable girl he has now vs the greatest girl he doesn’t have yet. it’s refreshing.

  • Alexm

    I’m disappointed this interview wasn’t more about Harvey and Mike and their bond. Because I’m intrigued as to what will happen when/if Jessica finds out about Mike’s secret – it’s not Mike who will be in the most trouble then! It’s Harvey! And I hate the idea of Jessica feeling betrayed by Harvey over this.

    I also wanted to hear Aaron talk about how they moved the Harvey/Mike relationship on substantially in the season finale. All season, Harvey has been teaching Mike and slapping him down, and ordering him around. He’s called him his ‘puppy’. It was intriguing therefore to see Mike stepping up and coming up with the fix and ideas in the SF. I was a bit surprised, I’ll admit, because Harvey didn’t seem like someone who needed help. But I was interested in what it said about their relationship and where that might go. It’s good that Harvey got some payback for his extraordinary risk taking in hiring Mike in the first place. And now I’m even more intrigued as to WHY he did that. We’ve seen that Harvey usually finds ingenious solutions to problems but taking on Mike seems like a huge risk in terms of his career. The more we find out about Harvey, the more I wonder about that. I thought the comment in the SF about giving people a second chance and how he’d done that for Mike was telling. Did Jessica or someone else once give Harvey a second chance? I’m intrigued by Harvey’s background and can imagine he came from the streets and has worked hard at reinventing himself.

    I love Donna and the can opener line was hilarious. But I am worried this show will stray into “soap opera” territory as Harvey calls it. They are getting the balance just right at the moment but too much personal and it all starts becoming a bit silly. I’m also worried about bringing in more people. I do trust Aaron but I’ve been badly burned by shows that do this in the past and take their eye off the main ball. Sometimes they fall so in love with one of their new characters that they forgot what it is people loved about the show in the beginning. For me, it’s Harvey and Mike, and Harvey and Mike’s relationship that’s at the center – which is why I’m disappointed this interview didn’t focus on that more. Mike barely got a mention!

    I get that EW tends to be obsessed by romance but I hope that doesn’t give Korsh the message that viewers are too. What I’m enjoying about the show is that it’s smart, intelligent and witty and that the relationship between Mike and Harvey is strong and intriguing, based about this secret they share. I don’t want that to change.

    And I don’t want this show to be like every other show out there. What I’m loving about it is that it’s different right now – it’s much more interesting.

    • Sammy

      I understand your fears re the show turning into a romantic soap opera but from what I’ve read throughout the season Aaron seems to have his eye clearly on the ball as to the guys being the center of the show. I agree with you that certain sites seemed to be focused on romantic entanglements based on the questions he’s been asked here, but hopefully the show won’t focus on that. As S1 has proved shippers can still take from the show what they want without losing track of the show’s originality and the fandom-embraced bromance.

      • Alexm

        Yes – Aaron seems like a smart guy so hopefully he gets that we love what he’s doing now and not to change! I’ve noticed that EW and TV Guide don’t seem to know how to talk about a show unless they fixate on the ships. I guess that’s just easier for them than figuring out something interesting to say about the actual show.

    • TheAnswers

      The reason why Harvey took on Mike is because Jessica took on Harvey when he was in the mail room and put him through Harvard to become the best lawyer. Harvey has street smarts and he wanted someone with street smarts like him and Mike is that person. Season 2: Jessica and the show has too much invested into suits to have

  • Alexm

    One more thing! I agree with Aaron about Grammy. I really want to see more of her. I’d love to see Grammy meeting Harvey – I think sparks will fly but she’ll see that Harvey has been good for Mike – much better than Trevor ever was. And Harvey will have a lot of respect for Grammy I think.

    • MKR26

      Yes! I’m dying for Harvey to meet Grammy.

    • taw

      That would be awesome to have Harvey meet Mike’s Grandmother.

      I just love this show!

      • Acim

        Once again its the recruiting cetner of the big 12, everyone in the big 12 recruits there its the best place to get recruits in our region so no we will not stay out of texas lol. Also I live in Texas and there are alot of OU fans here as well so im sure there are plenty of players that want to go to OU.

  • Gail

    In my opinion, best new show of the year, not just the summer! Love, love, love Harvey and the highlight for me was his victory over Travis Tanner, played by Eric Close, whom I would loooove to see make a return appearance. Please? Pretty please with a cherry on top???

  • Lynn

    LOVE this show, it is absolutely the best new show this summer and a perfect addition to the lineup on USA. My favorite of the summer, bummer we have to wait a whole year for more episodes, wish it came back in winter like most of their shows.

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