'Suits': Max Beesley talks Stephen's bathroom brawl with Harvey, 'legitimate feelings' for Donna

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Image Credit: Ian Watson/USA Network

While fans await the courtroom fireworks on tonight’s episode of Suits (USA, 10 p.m. ET), now that Harvey (Gabriel Macht) knows Stephen (Max Beesley) orchestrated the murders that oil tycoon Ava (Michelle Fairley) stands accused of ordering, we’re still obsessed with last week’s bathroom brawl between Harvey and Stephen.

“Stephen’s referenced quite a few times as being a rugby player and someone who could be dangerous, so obviously he couldn’t be a complete walkover. However, Harvey is Harvey. There can only be one winner physically,” Beesley says, chuckling. “So the old ego had to take a backseat there.”

While they filmed Stephen throwing a few more punches than he ended up landing in the final cut, Huntley was happy with the way the scene turned out: “The audience has always got Harvey’s back. It made sense story-wise for him to come out on top. And it was really good to do something [physical] like that, because I don’t think the show shows a lot of that. It ups all the tension between Harvey and Stephen for the next episode.”

Unlike most of his previous roles, Beesley didn’t know “fixer” Stephen’s full arc when he signed on to Suits.

“There was something unnerving, refreshing, edgy, and quite different about this process,” he says. “We were shooting, and I was not really aware of where things were going, but that then forces you to just be real to the moment. If you don’t know where it’s going, just like the audience doesn’t, it’s very, very believable. The sign of a good actor, I’m sure, is also knowing and playing that you don’t. But I was just playing what was on the page. The writing on Suits is so good, you can do that.” And how did he feel when he read that Stephen was essentially a killer? “I was like, ‘Oh no, that means that’s probably not going to be a huge arc,’” he says, laughing again. “It was always pitched to me as ‘British Harvey.’ I was like, ‘Okay, it’s gonna be difficult because people love Gabriel’s character, but that’s great.’ But with that intensity, I knew I’m not gonna be in this for three seasons. He’s gonna be volcanic, and cheeky, and multifaceted, and then probably out.”

If tonight is Stephen’s swan song — and it may not be — he’ll go out in style. “We’re in the courtroom, and Stephen’s experience shines through,” he says. But will we get closure between Stephen and Donna (Sarah Rafferty)? “Donna is in there, and there are moments between them,” he says. “What was vital is for the audience to understand that actually, [his relationship with Donna] wasn’t a play. It wasn’t a move on Stephen’s part whatsoever. He had his strategy formed, but the Donna situation was an added bonus. They are legitimate feelings. He’s not a douchebag that’s just pulling her along so he can manipulate. So it is quite painful, in a way.”

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