Let’s talk about Harvey and Donna. I liked that she convincingly told Scotty that she is not in love with Harvey, and yet, we’re still curious about Harvey and Donna’s past thanks to him questioning if Donna was talking about herself when she said he had to fight for what’s in his heart.
Gabriel Macht says I never use his adlibs. He gives me good-natured grief about that. And that was a Gabriel Macht adlib, and I’ll tell you why. We had written that scene, and there was a line that we ended up cutting that ended on Donna saying, “Can’t you see what’s staring you right in the face?” What happened was Sarah Rafferty did a couple of versions of the scene: One where it was so clear that she was talking about herself and not Scotty, and one where it was kind of medium. Gabriel said he feels like Harvey would call her out on that, that their relationship is solid enough that he would say, “Listen, is this about them or is this about you?” And I said, “Look, we can try one that way, but the truth is I don’t think Harvey would do that.” And he said, “I think they’re close enough to do it.” And I said, “Yeah, but all you’re doing is basically forcing her to admit that she loves you, and what good does that do you? It’s just humiliating her.” But we tried it, and he did it, and it worked. Her “no” was so definitive that we ended up using his adlib. I was really glad he did it, and I want him to recognize that it got in the final episode. (Laughs) I want to be able to send him the article. But in all seriousness, it was a great addition to the scene and it took it to another level.
I’ve said this before: I think Donna, in her conscious mind, she knows that she had feelings for Harvey in the past, and that maybe in a perfect world she wishes they could be together. But she recognizes that Harvey is not in a position to want to be with her and a relationship with him is not in the cards, so she mentally thinks she’s moved on from him. But there are moments that peek through subconsciously where that is not the case. Like in 214, when he said, “Look at you, you look beautiful,” that kinda got past her conscious mind and it was a flicker of something.
We never got Harvey’s answer about whether he wants Scotty in New York or London. Should we plan on seeing her in season 3?
We answer that question in 301, obviously, what his answer was. I can say this: Whatever decision he makes, it doesn’t necessarily have to be permanent, and it will definitely have ramifications. Whether he decides to have her work in New York or London, it won’t be the end of Scotty’s impact on Harvey.
So what’s the status of the merger when we return?
They’re going to continue moving forward with the merger. Since it’s only a couple of days later, what that means remains to be seen.
Should we be nervous that we never heard what Darby’s terms were for Harvey? Could he spring those on him at a later date?
That is a good question. Maybe I should pose that to the writers room. We kinda felt like Darby is above needing to give terms. In our minds, when Darby has that conversations with Jessica and says, “If I don’t beat him, he won’t respect me,” I think that was his point. And really, Jessica became the proxy for Darby’s terms: you stay, extend your non-compete, and welcome Darby with open arms. That’s the pill that Harvey has to swallow, and we’ll see if he’s able to swallow it or not next season.
Some of Jessica’s lines this episode had me saying, “WHOA!” Like when she told Harvey, “You’re gonna stay here, be humble, and learn your godd— place.” Were you nervous about taking her that far, or just excited to go there?
Well, I always have concerns when we do things that are far and impactful. A perfect example is Mike and Rachel. If we’re pushing it far, I’m always worried, “What are we gonna do after this?” But my feeling is, if we don’t take chances, we’re definitely going to fail. In that scene, [Gina] added the “boy” in there. The line was, “I just kicked your ass,” and she made it, “Boy, I just kicked your ass.” And I was like, “WHOA. Keep doing that.” I thought it was great. I think there were even harsher takes of her on some of that stuff.
The experience of watching Harvey’s scene with Louis, seeing the fear on Harvey’s face, was interesting. I know you’re a fellow Justified fan, and on that show, our hero Raylan isn’t perfect. In a similar way, I know this defeat gave, and will continue to give, Gabriel new layers to play. But there was a part of me that was like, No, I want Harvey to win.
(Laughs) As that scene was written, there were some lines in there where Harvey talked about being afraid a little bit. The staff had come up with them collectively, and I was onboard with them, but when I read them, I took them out. I was like, “I don’t want to hear my hero say he’s afraid.” He can be a little bit afraid. Like you said, he can play it a little bit, but I don’t want to hear him say that and certainly not to Louis. It’s good that Louis is speaking Louis’ fears and Harvey’s having the same fears, but we get to see it and the characters in the Suits world don’t. His back is to Louis for most of that piece. The other thing is Harvey loses, but he lost because Jessica really had to go out-of-bounds. If you watch Raylan, people have gotten the drop on him in certain cases, but he’s never lost a fair straight-up gunfight. You never want them to be beaten just flat-out.
What more can you say about Harvey and Jessica’s relationship in season 3?
Let’s just say Harvey is a super-competitive person, and he didn’t just lose to Jessica, she stuck it to him. He did not lose with grace, and she did not win with grace. That is gonna have impact. He’s gonna struggle to deal with that scene in the bathroom and the aftermath of this whole episode. He’s caught a little bit between a rock and a hard place, because he made this bet and he’s basically a man of his word. On the other hand, he lost to her and that’s gonna stick in his throat for a while.
Scotty told a story about Harvey’s brother. Will we meet him in season 3?
I imagine we will meet Harvey’s brother, and possibly someday his mother. But we don’t have those definitely in the works yet, and we’ve probably broken through about episode 6 of season 3 so far. So, I don’t know when or if it’ll be season 3.
What’s the story behind Louis’ mudding?
(Laughs) The story is Louis, evidently, at some point in the past, got into a “mud off” of sorts with someone else and had lost that time because both Harvey and Donna know it. (Laughs) We were trying to break the story, and the [writing] staff had come up with a great one that Louis meets British Louis, and they had them bonding over “mudding.” I don’t know whose idea it was, I don’t even know if “mudding” is a real thing that people take pride in, but there are definitely places that you go to take mad baths, so that’s real. But the twist I put on it was I didn’t want them to bond over their mudding, I wanted them to fight over their mudding and then bond over something else. One of the things I realize we like to do on the show is start out with ridiculousness — they’re fighting about mudding, it’s insane — and get to a real place. We really learn about how Louis became who he is when he tells that story about being bullied, and then he bullied back, and then they didn’t bully him anymore, and then they didn’t even talk to him anymore. It’s like he became a bully in that moment. Nigel sees it and recognizes the same thing in himself.
Mike’s Downton Abbey conversations with Darby were great.
Patrick called and said, “Listen, if we’re gonna have Conleth Hill, I’ve got to have a scene with him.” And I’m like, “Okay.” So we wrote that. Let’s have some fun with it. I am a Downton fan, but I’ve only seen season 1, because I just haven’t gotten my act together to see after that. Our writer’s assistant gave me a DVD copy of season 2 to watch, but it didn’t work in my DVD player.
I’ll be curious to see if you hear from anyone about the Lady Mary spoiler.
We feel like it’s season 1, and they’re in season 3 now, so you can’t get upset about spoilers from two seasons ago I hope. But Darby saying he abhors spoilers is me. I hate spoilers. I don’t want to hear ‘em, and I don’t want to give ‘em out. I never watch the “next week on” for Justified or whatever show. I want to be surprised.