I spoke with Suits creator and executive producer, Aaron Korsh, about the decision to have Mike leave the firm, whether he'll ever come back and how Harvey and Mike's relationship will change going forward. Read on for edited excerpts of our conversation.
After making the decision to have Mike leave Pearson Specter, did you find it to be a challenge to move forward?
I thought it was a big challenge. I didn't want to have him get offered the job unless he was going to take the job, so we almost weren't going to do it, because if he leaves what are we going to do. I tasked the writers to come up with enough good story to have if Mike left the firm to last a long time. I didn't want him to leave and come right back. They felt comfortable that there was enough story to be had if he left.
The seeds to them feeling comfortable was this notion that Mike might be leaving as a lawyer, but still will be a client of the firm. That way he can still be involved in our show and still feel like Suits. Later when they pitched me the individual stories I didn't spark to them and somehow we kinda wrenched on to this hostile takeover.
With Mike's new job, how is that going to change the dynamic between Harvey and Mike. It's no longer mentor-mentee.
I think you see in 316 that Mike's saying that he's Harvey's boss. I think the truth of the matter is it's like when all of a sudden you've had someone who has-- I almost see it as a little brother who's grown up and wants to show you he can do everything you can do. I think there's that competitive nature in both of them that it's going to start out on. The way to think about it for me is that Mike doesn't want to be Harvey's mentee anymore, but Harvey still views him that way. So there's that struggle for Mike to break out and show him like I'm a grown-up metaphorically. And Harvey, his journey is to see Mike that way. That's kind of how I see it.
With Mike being outside the law firm, do you see that being sustainable for the long haul?
A lot of times these things sort of evolve and what we think might be sustainable for a longer or shorter period of time turns out to be different than what we thought. I would use as an example, I didn't think we would have Mike smoke pot in the series until the very end of season 1 and he smokes pot in like episode 2.
I thought Grammy was going to die at the end of season 1 and she didn't end up dying until the end of season 2. I also definitely thought once we got Mike and Rachel together at the end of season 2, I thought there would be no way they would still be together at the end of season 3. I thought there was no way. It turns out they are.
As far as how long Mike is gone, I didn't know how long it would be sustainable for, but I definitely didn't want it to be for only one or two episodes. I thought that wouldn't really be worth it, so we trying to make it last as long as we can, and then the question is: if and when he does come back to make it be credible to us at least as writers. That's kind of our challenge of the season.
Check out a sneak peek of what's coming up on Suits season 4.
Suits airs Wednesdays at 9pm ET on USA.