In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, USA Network
I’m going to go out on something of a limb here and say Suits is probably the best USA Network show to arrive since the first season of Royal Pains and perhaps even Burn Notice. While it’s not flawless, it has a deliciously dark edge, a strong cast, something new to say about lawyers and now it’s really starting to find its feet, some interesting, original characters.
After a slightly shaky, highly implausible start that still had a lot going for it, Suits has managed to develop its storylines and characters so that they’re interesting and layered. The show also gives you insights into not only people who normally get ignored in other lawyer shows but aspects of the legal system that get glossed over, with far less emphasis being placed on flashy criminal law in favour of other branches such as corporate law.
Thankfully, the show has still managed to maintain its dark, manipulative edge. Most of the characters aren’t especially likeable. Harvey (Gabriel Macht) the evil lawyer may do good occasionally but there’s always a slimey evil reason for it underneath. His constant warfare with junior partner Louis has provided a delightfully fun series of battles played out in and around the office. Even boss Gina Torres is shown to be as underhand, if not more so, as Harvey.
If there’s a weak link in the whole thing, its newbie lawyer Mike Ross (Patrick J Adams), whose implausible photographic memory throws everything into a slightly odd, parallel universe, and Adams’ performance is desperately lacking in charisma. His personal life isn’t as interesting as the writers think it is, but there are at least unexpected dimensions to it and he does at least allow the writers to show just how the devil is in the details in contracts and how much of a lawyer’s life is about reading.
It’s not absolutely the darkest show there’s ever been, but it is a worthy addition to USA’s line-up and worth watching if you’re a big fan of the Machiavellian.