'Suits' postmortem: Rick Hoffman talks key Louis scenes in 'Blood in the Water'

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Image Credit: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen this week’s episode of Suits, stop reading now. With Pearson Hardman losing clients and associates, Jessica (Gina Torres) wanted to institute a Louis Litt Rehabilitation program while Harvey (Gabriel Macht) essentially told Louis (Rick Hoffman) he was dead to him. We asked Hoffman to take us inside the key scenes that determined Louis’ fate at the firm.

• Harvey accused Louis of helping Allison Holt (Diane Neal, pictured with Hoffman) poach associates. Louis tearfully told Harvey that Pearson Hardman is his life. Harvey said that while he can’t fire Louis, to him, it’s like Louis doesn’t even work there anymore.

Rick Hoffman: There was that bathroom scene in episode 207 when I blow up at Gabriel. In a similar way, with this scene, we were both there for each other to be like, “Maybe try this, try that.” There’s a lot of talking going on between Gabriel and I. We are always concerned with levels and dimension: “Hey, do you think that was all up here?” And I, of course say, “Are you out of your mind? No, that was ridiculously fantastic.” It’s kind of like a workshop. Specifically when he throws the stuff off the desk and goes at me then, I’d say there were about 15 different takes. They picked the one that they preferred — the editor knows the tone, and [creator] Aaron Korsh is obviously in there and knows what he wants exactly — but there were so many different ways that we did that scene. Roger Kumble is an actor’s director: He let Gabriel go as if we were riffing — not stopping the camera and just repeating the scene so we kept in that mode. Roger had the patience of a freakin’ monk. [Laughs] I am so proud of that scene, and any of the scenes, really, that I do with Gabriel. We just always take it so seriously, and it’s kinda nice to have five other actors who are so passionate about putting in their best work. And by the way, I’m not bulls–ting you. I’ve had experiences when certain actors don’t give a s–t. Everybody gives a s–t in this cast, and I think that’s what makes it so fun, and I think that’s why the chemistry’s there with everybody.

• Louis told Jessica he’d accepted an offer at Holt’s firm. Jessica told him Daniel Hardman was right about one thing — he deserves a senior partnership — so she agreed to let him go.

Rick Hoffman: I wanted to concentrate on the fact that she told him, for the first time, that she accepts him. I’m always scared as hell when there’s some vulnerability involved in scenes because for me it’s always the hardest as an actor. But in this particular scene, it was a long time coming that she told him what she told him, so I was just right there. And Gina, of course, did such a wonderful job of giving me different levels of softness. I usually get the most neurotic in those scenes with the director, constantly asking questions like, “Is that acceptable? Is that acceptable?” Because you just want to make sure you get all the nooks and crannies of the emotion in those scenes. And, of course, me being Jewish, the gene of neuroses, there’s just no shortage. [Laughs]

After Mike got beat up by Tess’ husband, Louis patched him up in the bathroom and told him he was leaving because Harvey hated him. That’s not how it used to be, Louis said. They used to be like Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog.

Rick Hoffman: [Laughs] Whenever we’re in the bathroom filming, it takes like an additional three hours to get things done because of the reflections of the mirrors. But as far the content and the heart of that scene, once again, it’s another fantastically written scene and another fantastically fun scene to play with Patrick. All I can say is that when I read that for the first time — Louis starting to talk about that old cartoon — I have to pinch myself that I’m doing this.

After Louis worked all night to help Mike so Harvey wouldn’t lose a client, Harvey entered Louis’ office, pulled out his resignation letter, and tore it up without saying a word.

Rick Hoffman: It was always gonna be silent. There was nothing to say, so I wanted to make sure everything that was going through Louis’ mind was expressed [physically]. I’m so proud of this entire episode. It was written by Genevieve Sparling, and she’s written two powerhouse episodes in the second season, man. [She also wrote 207, "Sucker Punch."] She’s one helluva writer.

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