Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pilot Review: Suits

Suits (USA)
Premiered June 23 at 10pm

USA expands its “Characters Welcome” brand with two new shows this summer, starting with this interesting entry set to follow “Burn Notice” each week. Unlike some of USA’s previous shows, this series casts two relatively unknown actors in the lead roles. The advertising slogan “Two lawyers, one degree” is clever and fairly appropriate for summarizing what the show is, but there’s plenty intriguing about this particular show. Harvey Specter, played with considerable charisma by Gabriel Macht, oozes self-confidence and obnoxiousness in just the first few minutes, immediately establishing himself as a lead equally detestable and endearing. Patrick J. Adams’ Mike Ross is far more clearly sympathetic, appearing honest and hopeless at the same time, eager to do good while others in his place have clearly given up trying to do the right thing. It’s fun to have Rick Hoffman in the cast as Harvey’s nemesis Louis Litt at the firm, and his overzealous shows of fury are entertaining. Gina Torres has found a great role as boss Jessica Pearson, and her relationships with Harvey and Louis are terrific. The dynamic between Harvey and Mike will have to develop itself, but for the moment it works. Meghan Markle, like the stars of the show, seems to have plenty of potential, and hopefully the role of overqualified paralegal Rachel Zane should given her enough to do. One thing that is completely glossed over is the fact that Mike doesn’t have appeared to have even faked any records to assert that he actually went to Harvard, and therefore Louis’ test of his credibility feels rather flimsy. At least the memory recall flashbacks are considerably better done than they could be, which is a relief. I think this show demonstrates great potential, and it’s a perfect fit for USA. On an unrelated note, doesn’t Tom Lipinski, who played Trevor, look exactly like Josh Brolin?

How will it work as a series? This first episode was the exposition but already managed to get into what the show should be like on a weekly basis. While it seems unlikely that Harvey will pawn each and every one of his undesirable cases off onto his new hire, I do imagine they’ll be working together on a regular basis using their distinctive abilities, kept close by the knowledge that Mike isn’t who he pretends to be.
How long will it last? All of USA’s shows from at least the past five years have gone on to have successful, healthy runs thus far, and there’s no reason to think that this show won’t enjoy a similarly happy future. To its credit, “Suits” held on to most of the audience for lead-in “Burn Notice” and seriously outperformed the series debut of another recent USA show, “Fairly Legal.” This show will likely make it to a second season.

Pilot grade: B+

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