USA’s Suits is legal drama, or rather, a drama about lawyers. It’s certainly not a typical legal procedural; Suits emphasizes character over case. Sure, there are clients, but the cases are not the focus of the episode, especially moving into season two. Instead, it is a series about morality and relationships, focusing more on the interaction of the principal characters than on their jobs, which just happen to be in a law office. Similar to The Good Wife, though completely different, Suits is an original, light-hearted, fun series with intriguing characters who will draw you in.
Gabriel Macht plays Harvey Specter. One of the two real leads during the first season, Harvey is a hot-shot, who deserves his reputation as an expert attorney. He rarely loses, and certainly plays the game better than most.
In season one, Harvey’s boss Jessica asks him to choose an associate to mentor. Dissatisfied with the usual applicants, Harvey hires Mike Ross, a young man with a steel-trap mind, even though Mike isn’t actaully a real lawyer. Harvey walks the dangerous tightrope because Mike is the only one worthy of his time. But as season two begins, Jessica knows Mike’s secret, putting Harvey in a precarious position, having lost her trust.
During a recent visit to the set of Suits, arranged for Internet journalists by USA, we all sat down with Macht to chat with him about the role that he plays, and what is coming up next for Harvey.
The first thing you notice about actually as he walks towards the conference room where we await him is that he’s wearing a tuxedo. Several of the gathered reporters, most of whom are already anticipating someone many of them consider quite attractive, fair swoon at his presence. It’s several moments before calm is restored, and the interview can really get started.
This is the first impression Gabriel Macht gives off. He’s handsome and smooth. He’s the guy girls want, and who other guys would like to be. And he takes his work very, very seriously, as the tone of the interview makes clear.
Why the tux? Gabriel reveals that in the episode currently filming, Harvey and Mike have to go to Atlantic City after a client loses his entire company on a bet! Or, business as usual for Pearson Hardman.
Gabriel cares a great deal for Harvey, the character whom he plays. While some may question the moral integrity of such a person, Gabriel disagrees, saying “I truly believe that his moral through line is really straight.” Yes, Harvey will do what he needs to do to best serve his job or score one for the client. But the means justify the ends, and Harvey keeps the best of intentions at heart.
Macht has a point. Why else would Harvey hire Mike, and then go so far to protect Mike’s secret and job? The motivation here isn’t purely self-interest. This will be made extremely clear in the season premiere, airing June 14th. Harvey cares about others, and Gabriel strives to capture the nuances of his big-shot lawyer, making sure heart comes across as well as bravado. As many will agree, he does so expertly.
Those who love Suits have probably already heard, Hardman, as in Pearson Hardman, will be joining the cast this year. He is a source of great conflict in the office, and Gabriel is quick to point out that Harvey will do what he needs to do to protect the firm. Perhaps Hardman may seem trustworthy to viewers, but Harvey knows him a bit better. There is no love lost between the men, and you can bet that Harvey will be keeping a very close eye on Hardman.
What else will Harvey face this year? Macht confirms there is a major scandal, and that it will involve more buried evidence, of the sort that Suits confronts in season one. This time, Travis will be involved, so it seems there will be no end to the trouble causes by this antagonist!
It’s not looking good for Harvey, who is now involved in two dirty cases, even though the fault is not his own. How will this affect the character going forward? How can a man who gets the mud splashed on him still appear clean?
Well, one way to do so is to just keeping proving one’s character. Gabriel mentions that, although fans know Harvey stands up for people behind their backs, Harvey will begin to do it in front of their faces. This visible Harvey-as-a-better-man will drive the character through season two, and it will really gives us a glimpse into who the person is at his core. It will also make it easier for Macht to play up Harvey’s positive elements, when allowed to demonstrate them more obviously.
That’s not to say that Harvey is without his wicked sense of humor. If Mike steps out of line, even with just one comment, Harvey is still willing to hand him off to Louis. After all, Mike needs to know his place, and earn a higher position. But this doesn’t make Harvey a bad guy; it just makes him fun. Besides, Gabriel thinks Harvey trusts Mike more than anyone, even Donna, and who better to mess with than your best friend?
Not that Gabriel doesn’t show Harvey’s vulnerabilities. He will let some insecurity slip into scenes with Jessica or Donna. And as he grows closer with Mike, we’ll see some of their relationship growing deeper, too. Harvey may be a hard man to get to know, but once one is into that inner circle, they’re good with Harvey.
Let’s hope other characters feel the same way about him. As season one comes to an end, Jessica learns the truth about Mike, and will soon find out that Harvey colluded in hiding this from her. These two have a very strong bond, and there will be some feelings of betrayal. As Gabriel says, Harvey has lost some of Jessica’s trust, as not only is Harvey Jessica’s right hand man, they sort of have a mentor-mentee relationship, too. The extent of his punishment isn’t clear yet, but there will be reprecussions. For one thing, Harvey will not be allowed to take the limo to Atlantic City anytime soon.
So the leash is on. Anyone has watched Suits knows that Harvey doesn’t deal well with restriction. On the other hand, he does want to make up for his mistakes with Jessica. This will certainly be a new Harvey, one balancing sense and humility with his classic personality!
Whatever happens, there will not be an end of the road for Harvey the lawyer. Macht says that if Harvey would get caught and fired, he’d just move to L.A., create a new identity, go by the name Gerald, and retake the bar. As enticing as that idea is, hopefully it will not come to pass, as that might remove him from the wonderful ensemble.
Macht says Harvey’s family will come into play somehow late in the season. To quote, “I am so excited for that.” Who wouldn’t be? Family makes a person who they are, and now the actor will get to show a different side of his character. And he won’t be the only one, as Gabriel says to be prepared for a glimpse into Donna’s earlier life.
Is there romance in Harvey’s future? No, admits Gabriel, though there certainly is in Harvey’s past. Look for a former office romance to get out, and the implications such a thing has.
What other secrets did Gabriel spill? Well, that damn can opener mystery is no closer to being solved, though look for it to be referenced in the ten webisodes, set to launch on USA’s website soon. Fear not. Gabriel vows, “It will be revealed before they cancel our show.” That is a promise we will hold him to!
Throughout this interview, the focus has been Harvey. This rings true with Macht, who keeps slipping and saying “I” instead of “Harvey.” The character is very personal to him, and it’s hard to separate the two, especially when filming. Which isn’t to say that the actor and the character are the same. As Macht says, “I am completely different than Harvey. I need so many people to help me!”
But there are some similarities. Macht even admits “I’m totally terrified in front of all you guys,” referring to the table of bloggers in front of him. Not that we can tell, as he seems totally at ease. Acting is fake overconfidence anyway, so it certainly helps with Harvey, who is all about the bluster. In this, hiding fear behind a mask of confidence, Harvey and Gabriel seem to be the same.
Gabriel has nothing but praise for the people that he works with. About creator Aaron Korsh, Gabriel lauds the very specific style of dialogue he writes, which is difficult to do, but absolutely fantastic. As for his co-stars, Gabriel says that all of the actors force him to raise his game. “Rick Hoffman is so specific in what he’s doing as an actor… I am in awe of what he’s doing throughout.” Gabriel finds it very hard not to laugh at Louis when filming, which is a testament to Hoffman’s talent.
Our time is up, but Gabriel Macht has certainly left us with plenty to ponder, and a lot of insight into a larger than life character. Thank you, Gabriel, for your time, and for sharing all of your thoughts with us!