'Suits' postmortem: Creator Aaron Korsh on Harvey's relationship, Louis' 'black hawk down'

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Image Credit: Shane Mahood/USA Network

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched Suits‘ return, “Buried Secrets,” stop reading now. Creator Aaron Korsh talked to EW about the twists and what’s next.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with Jessica asking Scottie, who’s now in a relationship with Harvey and joining the firm, to pay her six-figure buy-in upfront instead of after the typical trial period.
AARON KORSH: We wanted to shine a light on the fact that the name of the firm had changed quite a bit: It went from Pearson Hardman, to Pearson, to Pearson Darby, to Pearson Darby Specter, to Pearson Specter. It’s been made clear that Scottie wants to be a name partner. She’s Harvey-esque. We thought, what would be one of her questions about coming here? Is it possible that ultimately she could get her name on the door? Because that was her goal at Darby International. We thought Jessica would be reluctant to do that currently. We also wanted to somehow cause some conflict between Harvey and Scottie that would come from them working together, not just solely from their relationship — but it would be nice if the problem from work would highlight issues between them personally. So we ended up having Jessica wanting to make sure Scottie was gonna be committed to them and not leave again.

To try to get out of paying the early buy-in, Scottie landed the one client Harvey never could, Michael Phelps (a Suits fan who cameo’d as himself). So what happened in Beijing? Do you actually know, or is this another can opener?
(Laughs) I don’t know. That’s another can opener. Something happened that Harvey was unable to close Michael Phelps.

The Phelps score didn’t sway Jessica, so Harvey pretended Jessica caved and paid Scottie’s buy-in himself. That did not go over well with Scottie.
We thought that would highlight that Harvey sometimes is manipulative and that they keep things from each other, and it would just be a fun little conflict for them to have right off the bat. (Laughs) What’s funny is, when we were doing the rewrite of this episode, I pitched that Harvey pays the buy-in, and Erica Lipez, the writer of the episode, immediately said, “If he does that, Scottie’s a whore.” She got very upset about it. I was defending Harvey, and Jon Cowan, who’s one of our exec producers, was in the room, and Jon kind of agreed with Erica. I said, “Well, I don’t believe that’s true. Scottie doesn’t know he did this. It would make her a whore if she said, ‘Yes.’ But she didn’t say, ‘Yes.’ She doesn’t know he’s doing it!” And then she started saying, “Yeah, but…” The second we started having the argument, Jon and I knew that Erica and I were actually writing the scene. I don’t think Erica knew that we were writing the scene. (Laughs) I said, “Look, I think he’s doing it as a romantic gesture.” And then Erica’s like, “It’s still manipulative.” And I’m like, “Yeah, well, maybe she doesn’t have to believe he did it as a romantic gesture, but maybe it would be nice if she believed that he believed that.” All that stuff is in there. The scene when Harvey and Scottie fight about it is absolutely one of my favorite scenes in the back six [episodes of the season]. It’s one of my favorite scenes of Suits.

How much of Scottie will we see in the remainder of the season? She ends the episode heading back to London to pack up her life to move to New York. Is Harvey really ready for a relationship?
Coming into the back six, we didn’t know how many of the episodes [actress Abigail Spencer] was gonna be able to commit to. Ultimately we got her to commit to four of the six, I think. It made sense that even if she’s moving here, she had to go clean her life up in London. The question of whether Harvey’s ready for a relationship is a complicated one. I think he has been moving toward that since season 1. With Zoe, we saw signs of him being ready for it with her, but circumstances were such that it didn’t work out. And then with Scottie, I think being ready to try, and being ready to succeed are tough to distinguish. It would be one thing to say, is he ready for a relationship. It would be another thing to say, is he ready for a relationship with a woman he has history with, who is also going to be working with him while he has a secret that he can’t tell her about. Those are complicating factors, and that’s what we’re gonna explore in the back six.

Moving on to Mike, through him going up against the lawyer that got his grandmother to settle after his parents were killed, we learned a lot more about the night they died — like that Mike’s father wasn’t legally drunk, but he had consumed two drinks himself.
If we’re going to revisit something, be it in a flashback episode or an issue in the current day, the question is posed in the writers room, what do we learn that is new? If you don’t learn something new, it’s not gonna be that exciting. For example, in last year’s flashback, to learn that Harvey slept with Donna was a huge reason to tell that story. For Mike’s flashback last year, we learned that Mike had gotten into Harvard. That was a big deal to us. If we were gonna have a Round 2 with Rinaldi, what was the new information that not only we were gonna learn, but Mike was gonna learn? What would it do to you to learn that maybe your father, in some small way, contributed to his own death? It really lead to that scene where he says, “The one thing I never wondered was, was my dad partially responsible for his death?” I thought Patrick’s performance in the episode is really outstanding.

Rachel and Mike end this episode in a good place, with her planning the celebration of their first date in the apartment they’re going to eventually share. Will they stay this solid?
I feel like their relationship in the back six continues its progression, which is generally positive but has rockiness in it. I would just say that when we got them together at the end of 216, I was thinking that by the end of 310 they’d be broken up. And here we are in the back six, they’re not only not broken up, they’re now moving forward and moving in together in 311. So you never know what’s gonna happen with their relationship. They are two volatile people when they’re in love, but they also have a real strong connection and love each other, and it’s gonna take a lot to rip them apart.

After Louis discovered that Mike’s name wasn’t on Harvey’s list of Harvard interviewees the day he was hired, Donna warned Louis that Sheila would be even more upset than she was if Sheila were to learn that her files had been violated. That bed scene was great: Sheila thought Louis was temporarily impotent because he considers her a “good girl” now that they’re in a relationship, so she started slapping him. Rachael Harris really seemed to be slapping Rick Hoffman hard.
Yes. (Laughs) I wasn’t there, but ohmygod. We took some of the sound effects of the slaps that are at the end of the scene out because it was so loud. There was real slapping going on. When I watched it, I couldn’t believe how committed they were. I thought it was awesome.

I loved the “black hawk down” line.
I was just about to say, I’m gonna give Rick Hoffman credit. Sometimes I call the actors on my way into work or on the way home, and I’ll just tell them what’s coming up when I’m excited about whatever. I told him that this scene was coming, and he said, “Can I say, ‘black hawk down?’” And I’m like, “You sure can!” So he gets full credit for that line.

Donna also told Louis that he should just request Mike’s Harvard transcript to ease his mind, and the episode ends with him seeing that Mike got an A+ from a Prof. Gerard, who’s notorious for never giving that grade. What happens next?
He’s not gonna give up on it. Episode 12 is very much about dealing with the fallout of Louis finding that A+. You could make the case that it’s somewhat all hands on deck in terms of trying to get Mike out of that situation. It results in a scene between Gabriel Macht and his real-life father, Stephen Macht — another one of my favorite scenes we’ve done in Suits — where Harvey goes and tries to solve the problem at its roots.

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