“Suits” has never been afraid to take risks — its fearlessness has made it one of USA’s flagship series, and helped raise the bar for summertime fare. The cliffhangers and gamechangers we’ve come to expect with each finale have a reputation for keeping us asking questions all through the hiatus. The show’s never cheated us on the return by skipping over timejump problems, or ignoring plot holes.
That said, Season 6 has been its weakest yet, and Wednesday night’s (Sept. 14) summer finale has us hoping “Suits” hasn’t officially lost its stuff.
With a show that’s been on for six seasons, it’s easy to gloss over the show’s recent stumbles out of affection or respect. “Suits” used to tackle such interesting cases, but now when they go to court, the cases are so jumbled, with details so confusing, audiences have begun simply to tune out during jargon-filled scenes. But like many shows in this stage of their lives, “Suits” can feel like it’s fallen into a repetitive cycle of motion: The episode’s major issue gets resolved by episode’s end, and then right before the credits roll… Oh, wait! One loose thread brings on an entirely new problem to tackle.
Plenty of shows try to balance their arcs that way, but they depend on the new issues being just as exciting as those before. More and more often, the cliffhanger problem seems just as befuddling as the one that came before.
The saving grace has been the characters: So fleshed out, and so well acted, that we still care, even when we’re not quite clear on what they’re doing or why it matters. During this mid-season finale, it was the personal moments that made us actually feel something.
Watching Rachel (Meghan Markle) have her day in court was incredibly moving. And the gift Mike (Patrick J. Adams) gave her afterwards left us in tears. Merely seeing Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and Donna (Sarah Rafferty) holding hands, at the end, made for a picture-perfect moment: The silence spoke all the lines the characters could not. It’s moments like these that have always made “Suits” so great.
But then the episode took a turn. Whether it was the actress’s decision or the writers’, we don’t yet know — but for now, it doesn’t matter. The end result remains devastatingly the same.
The only way we ever saw Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) leaving the show was because “Suits” decided she needed a spin-off series. And we’re still holding out hope this might be the reason she’s quit Pearson Specter Litt and headed off to Chicago with Jeff (D.B. Woodside).
We get the character arc. Jessica’s drained. No longer does she want the weight of the entire firm on her shoulders. She yearns for the family life she never had, and knows she can’t mother both Pearson Specter Litt and a child of her own one day.
In fact, one reason we still think a spin-off may be in the works is the many flashbacks we finally saw sprinkled throughout Season 6. It doesn’t make sense to cut her out just when viewers are learning about her upbringing, and getting a glimpse of her life outside work.
If this was Torres’ decision to move on, there’s not much Executive Producer Aaron Korsh could’ve done. However, if this was a decision made in the writer’s room, and there is no spin-off in the works called “Pearson,” this is a huge blow to the series in every possible way.
Will we have to say goodbye to the soaring Bechtel test scores “Suits” scores every week? And to having a smart, unapologetically powerful African-American woman at the helm of it all? It just feels too soon for her departure to be permanent. And even Jessica didn’t feel comfortable leaving the Death Row case in Rachel’s hands, meaning there’s still much more left to teach her protégée.
Or perhaps winning that Death Row case sparked something in Jessica’s soul, and reminded her of what truly matters to her: Family. Maybe it reminded her that, outside of her co-workers, she doesn’t really have one. While another show might appear sexist in telling this story, and we could argue Jessica could’ve been a corporate lawyer and have a family life, ultimately Jessica’s aware of all this. Her story is about being aware of it.
She could very well do both, but she simply doesn’t want to. She wants a break, after so many years in corporate hell. Jessica is choosing to finally put herself first, to do what she wants. And maybe we’ll find we’re all just like Louis (Rick Hoffman), and hating her decision just because it means she’s leaving.
Fingers crossed that when the series returns, Jessica’s departure is not real. Or that her spin-off is announced. Or that the series finds a woman as talented and captivating as Gina Torres to fill her Louboutin pumps and killer work suits.
The latter may be impossible, but here’s hoping “Suits” figures itself out when it comes back in the new year.