'Suits' Interview: Creator Aaron Korsh Dishes on Characters, Spoilers and the Can Opener
'Suits' Interview: Creator Aaron Korsh Dishes on Characters, Spoilers and the Can Opener
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
A surprise hit when it debuted last summer, no one saw Suits coming. No one, that is, other than series creator Aaron Korsh.

Korsh recently spoke to reporters about his show, now in its second season on USA. Check out some of the best Suits spoilers and tidbits here!

We will soon be getting a flashback to five years before the action of Suits. What can we expect?

Aaron Korsh: Basically the rewind episode is kind of, you know... The purpose of it is, we thought it would be interesting to shed some light on these characters' pasts. So it's a flashback episode but also has implications for today. We didn't just want to go into the past. We wanted to move the story at least a little bit forward in the present day.

So you're going to find out a little bit more about Harvey's past. You're going to find out about everybody's past, because it flashes back to five years ago. It tells the story of Mike and Jenny, when they first met, and Trevor.

And Monica is somewhat of a key component. First of all, there's also Zoe, another woman [played by Jacinda Barrett]. A couple of women from Harvey's past are prevalent in the episode.

But Monica has a past at the firm. She left the firm under kind of cloudy circumstances and she plays both a role in the past and in the present. And she interacts mainly with Louis in the episode in the past and Mike in the episode in the present. But she's got a history with everyone at the firm... Mike has to kind of seek her out for some help in the present day.


Considering the turmoil at the end of episode 5, "Break Point," what can we look forward to in terms of the Harvey/Donna relationship?

Aaron Korsh: We don't currently have any plans through the end of [episode] 16 this year to take them in a romantic direction moving forward... So I don't think in the near future they're going to be getting together.

But as far as shedding light on their past relationships, we've got a lot of exploration of that in the next few episodes coming up. Their past history is going to be at least danced around. And their feelings towards each other are going to be explored in [episode] 5, a little bit 6, 7, not too much 8 and then more in 9. So you'll definitely get more light shed on their relationship.


What are the origins of the various Suits characters?

Aaron Korsh: Mike is based on me... I was a kid, I grew up. I just did well academically. I had an excellent memory. I did not have a photographic memory. I couldn't read and recite it to you. But I was able to do very well academically with little to no effort, and it was both, I would say, a blessing and a curse.

In addition to that, I -- since this call is being taped, I'm going to say I may or may not have done a lot -- smoked a lot of pot in my life.

And because of that, even though I ended up going to a good school and I did work on Wall Street... Everybody at that first firm that I worked at, it wasn't like a dictate, but everybody either went to Harvard, Yale or Wharton.

But, you know, I was like smoking pot while I was working there and I always felt... I felt like a fraud.

Now obviously I went to Wharton and I graduated, but the Mike character is based on feelings that I had of feeling like a fraud and using drugs and just being dissatisfied with my situation in spite of being able, outwardly, to do well and keep up the job.

When I first started working on Wall Street, I was 21. I had this mentor, Harvey, and to me everything was so important back then. Like, I was only 21, but it's your first job and it seems so important.

Donna came out and emerged over time. She just seemed to know things and know like yes, absolutely, she seems to know everyone in the firm. And she seems to know everything that's going on. And she seems to just have, you know, just a super sense about her, even though she isn't necessarily maybe the intellectual equivalent of some of the people that she works with. But she has the emotional intelligence, so to speak, that a lot of people don't have.

I will say the name, Donna, I took... There was a woman that I worked with at my first job whose name was Donna, so I picked that name. But she was not really based on anyone real.


Why are there so many strong female characters on Suits?

Aaron Korsh: You know, it's funny. I have been told time and again how awesome our female characters are. And for me, I love them all. I don't think in terms of "Do we need male characters and female characters?" I just feel like it's a natural thing, that you live in a world, you interact with men and with women, and you want to have a rounded-out world with people of all genders. And I want all of my characters to be strong and interesting and funny. So I didn't really say, "I need to specifically make these great female characters."

I just wanted to populate a realistic world, and these are the women that came out. But the one exception, I guess, now that I'm thinking about that, I will say that -- I don't even know if Gina Torres knows this -- but originally, in the original pilot, the Jessica character was a man.

And the studio encouraged me to make it a woman. And at first I resisted only because I don't like change, and they were trying to dictate some change to me. And I was like, "But this is who it is!"

And then I embraced it and loved it. Then, at some point, they questioned it and thought maybe we should put it back to a man. By then, I loved it so much as a woman, I thought it was such a great idea that I was like, "No, we need this character to be a woman."


Where do the Suits cases come from?

Aaron Korsh: We try to stay away from real cases. Sometimes, obviously, we'll know about a case or something that will inspire us to, you know, use a little piece of something. But for the most part, we just make them up.


Why was Daniel Hardman needed on the show?

Aaron Korsh: Last season we ended, obviously, on the cliffhanger with Trevor... The challenge that we basically had was we didn't want to run away from it and have, at the last second, Trevor take his, you know, not say what Mike did or basically cheat the audience in some way.

So we wanted to kind of... take it head on and embrace that challenge. And we thought the way to do that would be to bring in Hardman, because all of us wondered like, "Who is this Hardman?" We, the writers, wondered it. I originally put him in the pilot, but the character kind of changed a little bit.

I know the fans wondered who he was, and it just seemed like a perfect fit to bring him in and let him be the foil that kind of solved the problem of how to keep Mike in the firm and still have Jessica find out about his secrets. So that was kind of the impetus of bringing Hardman along.


Was Hardman always meant to be a nemesis?

Aaron Korsh: That character was kind of originally thought of... that Hardman, the [original] version of him was as Jessica's mentor, and they were friends.


Is Suits a comedy or a drama?

Aaron Korsh: We look at Suits like it's a drama. We try to make it funny, but we really do think of it as a drama first and a comedy second.

I think it's basically a story about -- to me, it's a story about the redemption -- the possibility of redemption -- in this young character, told through this relationship, mainly with Harvey.
It becomes more of an ensemble, I think, in the second season. And at the core of the show, to me, is the loyalty these two guys have and how it grows between each other.


What's with the can opener?

Aaron Korsh: I was writing the [season 1] finale, and I said something and it was going to be a ritual. And the network thought that my allusion -- allusion with an A, not with an I -- that I was alluding to something that was too overtly sexual between the two of them.

I didn't mean it to be. Because I was like, "They're saying they're going in an office." It's a glass door. What do you think's happening in there?  But they wanted it to be less sexual, so I put in, "I'll get the can opener" just as a throwaway line. And then everybody on the crew and the cast and the director is like, "You've got to say what they do with the can opener!"

And I said, "Are you crazy? If we say what they do with the can opener, it's just going to be... no one will ever remember it. If we don't say what they do with the can opener, everybody's going to want to know. They don't really want to know, they want to want to know."


Suits airs Thursdays at 10pm on USA

(Images courtesy of USA)


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