There’s a lot to look forward to in the third season of USA’s Suits, which premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET. After the merger with the British law firm headed by Edward Darby (Conleth Hill), Harvey (Gabriel Macht) still feels betrayed by both boss Jessica (Gina Torres) and associate Mike (Patrick J. Adams). That has him conspiring against Jessica and freezing out Mike — who’s also getting the cold shoulder from paralegal Rachel (Meghan Markle), who’s dealing with Mike’s foreplay admission that he’s neither a Harvard Law alum nor a real lawyer.
The July 30 episode will introduce “British Harvey,” Stephen Huntley (Max Beesley), who’ll try to work his magic on Harvey’s assistant, Donna (Sarah Rafferty), which could ruffle Harvey’s feathers to tease Harvey-Donna shippers. And the Aug. 20 episode will flashback 10 years to when Harvey and Donna were working in the DA’s office and Mike initially derailed in college. Earlier this summer, when EW sat down with Macht and Adams for our annual Must List issue, they chatted about those story lines and more. Spoiler alert!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Mike and Harvey start the season at a place we’ve never seen them before.
Patrick J. Adams: For Harvey, loyalty is everything, and Mike’s broken that, but there’s a reason he broke it — he thought he was doing the right thing. So we find ourselves in a really difficult position where Mike obviously wants to get back in the good graces of Harvey, but he can’t. There’s no right way to apologize to have Harvey take Mike back, which leads to, from my point of view, some of Mike’s biggest maturing yet. He knows he’s got to man-up about it, and I think that’s part of the process of these two coming back together — Harvey really seeing that Mike has grown up a little bit more. He realizes that Mike’s not the puppy. Though he’s still the puppy compared to the bulldog.
Gabriel Macht: But this is all after Louis [Rick Hoffman] has asked for Mike’s hand. There’s a great courtship episode. I mean it’s fully, like, “Can I please take your son’s hand?” Louis needs an associate, and Harvey says, “Take him. I don’t need him. I’m done with him.”
So we won’t have to wait all season to see Mike and Harvey together again, right?
Adams: For Harvey and Mike, it’s not a long-term breakup. They can’t be away from each other for that long.
Macht: They love each other too much. Well, Mike loves Harvey too much.
Adams: And Harvey loves himself too much.
Macht: [Laughs] Yes. Can’t leave that one out.
Adams: After going through what they go through, you find a much stronger bond between these two guys. The trust, it’s like a bone. After you break it, it gets stronger in the healing.
Macht: I think what’s also interesting is that Harvey and Jessica are also at massive odds. There’s a great deal that’s been made — that I won’t spoil — between Harvey and Darby, and when Harvey feels like it’s time to really be on the same page as Mike, he lets him in on the plan. So, there’s that power struggle. It’s not, “Let’s take the firm away from Hardman,” but it’s as big.
Adams: It’s fun to watch a lot of this stuff, because it’s a version of Harvey that’s really jilted. [To Macht] You feel really double-crossed by everybody. There’s a lot of negative energy there for Jessica. It’s like gunpowder, it just can kinda blow at any moment.
In a similar way, I felt like we saw a different side to Harvey in that finale scene with Louis — fear. For the first time, he looked worried he would lose.
Macht: Harvey talks a huge game about winning all the time. But if you look at most of the episodes, he’s losing constantly.
Adams: I heard you say this the other day. Where? Where is he losing?
Macht: He’s losing along the way.
Adams: WHERE? Maybe personally. For me, Harvey is the guy who’s always losing in the emotional realm because he sacrifices it to always win professionally. You’re not losing cases.
Macht: Where have we won? We won by kicking Hardman out.
Adams: You win every case.
Macht: Not every single case.
Adams: So far, you do.
Adams: I think so. You’re the best closer in New York City.
Macht: That’s what they said in the pilot. [Laughs] I forgot. I’m Harvey. I’m the best closer.
Adams: I think the only time you’ve lost is when you lost to actually win at the end of last season. Remember that whole argument about, “It’s not really a win, it’s a loss.” “Yeah, but you lost that to win the bigger battle.” Do you watch the show? Have you read the scripts?
Macht: [Laughs] I don’t read the scripts. I just read my lines. Everybody else is, “Bulls—, bulls—, bulls—, bulls—.” I feel like maybe it’s just moment-to-moment that I’m losing. I don’t feel like I’m winning. You know those scenes where the camera pushes in at the end, I always feel like I’m losing in every one of those! That’s what I’m talking about.
Adams: I get that. You’re losing moments along the way. You always win the case, but on our show, that doesn’t really matter, because the case is not the thing, right? [To EW] You have no idea how often this happens on the set. Cameras will turn on, and we’re supposed to be the most confident guys in the world, but we’re always like, [Whispers] “What’s happening? We have to defend her because…” We’re figuring it out every step of the way.
Macht: [Whispers] “Are you sure they know what they’re writing? What are we saying?” “We just have to trust the writers.” [Both laugh]
Let’s talk about that finale sex scene between Mike and Rachel. When I first saw it on a screener, I assumed some of it would have to be trimmed. Were you surprised how much of it made it to air, Patrick?
Adams: Each stage of that scene was written and rewritten and rewritten. It took us so long to shoot because we really wanted to get it right. Then we got to the end, and we were like, “God, we shot so much, there’s no way it’s all getting in there.” [Creator Aaron Korsh] said that he loved it, but that it would never be able to all make it in there. Then he said he found a way to get most of it in there — one shot in particular, which still keeps my mother up at night.
Macht: How much did you really get in there? [Laughs]
Adams: A lot got in there… Damn it.
Macht: Just the tip of the iceberg, Patrick. [Both laugh]
Adams: The sex part of it, that’s the part that people are gonna talk about. We knew that. But what I loved about that scene was what came right before it. It wasn’t just another moment where Rachel and Mike were alone, and passion rises, and this time it just goes too far. This is the ultimate moment of somebody trusting somebody with something that has been tearing them apart. For me, that was the passion. That was the spark. And then the fact that the slap happened right after it, and that that could become something else — I thought it did a really good job of dealing with what that passion can be in any one of its forms, and what a release it is… sorry to use that word.
Gabriel’s sleepy. He didn’t catch that one.
Adams: What a release it is, Gabriel, to be able to be honest about something that he’s been holding on to for two seasons. So for us, we were worried about the sex scene and getting it right. We wanted to make sure it was satisfying. [Macht laughs] It’s almost like I’m doing it on purpose. But satisfying to the people who’ve been waiting to see Mike and Rachel take it to the next level. We knew that to get that right, we had to get the first part of the scene right. So we spent a lot of time making sure we hit all the emotional steps along the way.
Now that Mike and Rachel have a shot at being a couple, let’s talk about Harvey and Donna. The show is so good at simultaneously shooting down the idea of them getting together and teasing what might have (almost?) happened with them in the past. Will we get more of that this season?
Macht: I’ll tell you what happens. You want me to tell you what happens?
Adams: Don’t do that.
Patrick, don’t you need to go get something… over there?
Macht: Get me a bagel, will you?
Adams: I’ll eat the last piece of carrot cake and shut my mouth.
Macht: No. I’ll tell you this: In the flashback episode, there’s an origin story about Harvey and Cameron Dennis, who is the DA played by Gary Cole. It’s how Harvey found that there was evidence that was buried, and how Donna was his secretary at the time. We know Harvey doesn’t want to sleep with anybody he works with — we learn where that comes from, who inspired that. There’s also “British Harvey” coming into our world. I don’t want to give too much away…
Adams: He looked at me. [To Macht] You told me to leave.
Macht: There’s a potential relationship going on between Stephen Huntley and Donna.
Adams: As you can imagine, Harvey Specter with a British accent — it’s kind of a pantydropper. Imagine if he [looks at Macht] had a British accent. Over. That’s the only thing he’s missing.
Macht: [Laughs] There’s a bit of a weird sort of triangle, maybe. I don’t want to give it away. It’s too good.
What does that flashback episode reveal about Mike, Patrick?
Adams: You’re gonna see that initial flying off of the tracks and where everything goes wrong. It’s a much younger, Mike. We flashed back five years last season, and Mike was the biggest stoner. Some people would expect we’d go further in that direction. I think we’ll surprise people a little bit and definitely reveal a key piece of information about what was going on with him in college that has not yet been talked about.
Macht: So are you 20-years-old or are you 15-years-old in the flashback?
Adams: Let’s not talk about that. [Both laugh] The funny part of the story is that no one’s ever said what my age is on the show. But I’d been told what they sorta thought my age was, and I was operating under the assumption that this was my age this whole time. And then this year with the flashback, they’re like, “We’re gonna flashback 10 years and you’re still in college.” They told me I was 25 in the first season. “So I’m 15 in the 10-year flashback?” [Macht laughs] They all look at me and go, “I guess you were 28 when the show started.” I’m like, “You didn’t tell me I was 28! You watch that first season, and if Mike’s 28, that’s a dumb 28-year-old.” [Both laugh] So it’s a young Mike, and an old friend of Mike’s returns yet again to disturb –
Ugh. Trevor [Tom Lipinski]?
[Pretends to throw tape recorder]
Adams: “Godd— it, I’m done with this interview!”
Macht: He’s great. I love him.
Adams: He’s so much fun to have on the show. He’s a good foil for me. You’ll also learn a little bit about why Mike sticks by this guy so hard. And I think that’s an important piece of information for people to know. I get why people are so frustrated by this friend that just gets him in so much trouble. But when there’s a bond that’s formed when people are really, really, really young — it’s strong. Even though it’s broken in present day, we get a little bit of an insight that this guy was not bad. He really served a purpose for Mike as a young kid.