A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
“Suits: Season 2”
Creator Aaron Korsh and his writing team try on plot turns and character developments as bold as one of Harvey Specter’s snazzy courtroom-ready ensembles in “Suits: Season 2.”
Their audacity helps the addicting legal drama avoid a sophomore slump, despite the series’ increasingly farfetched hook. One of the strongest shows on USA’s summer slate of original programming, “Suits” boasts gripping drama, witty banter and multidimensional characters played by actors with compelling chemistry.
The relationship between Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a cocky maverick attorney at the high-powered Manhattan firm of Pearson Hardman, and Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a charming college dropout who has a brilliant legal mind and photographic memory, beats powerfully as the heart of the series. In the Season 2 premiere, hardnosed managing partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) cagily confronts Harvey after learning that Mike does not have a degree from Harvard Law, a requirement for working as an associate at her firm. In fact, the wunderkind doesn’t have a law degree at all.
While keeping this improbable and potentially disastrous secret — practicing law without a license is a felony in New York — was the centerpiece of the more episodic Season 1, the first installment of “Suits’” sophomore year quickly shifts the focus to the return of the firm’s scheming co-founder Daniel Hardman (David Costabile, who makes you absolutely love to hate his smarmy character). Hardman’s attempts to wrest control of the firm away from Jessica and Harvey, her faithful hotshot lieutenant, create a captivating arc for Season 2, which is less case-of-the-week and more cohesive than the first season.
Season 2 also pleases fans with major developments for Harvey’s practically omniscient assistant Donna (Sarah Rafferty), his underhanded in-house adversary Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman) and whip-smart and super-sexy paralegal Rachel (Meghan Markle). Sparks keep flying between Mike and Rachel even though the fledgling attorney’s big secret makes an office romance even riskier than usual, and by season’s end, Korsh and company answer the “will they or won’t they” question in a daring way.
Plus, the series’ sleek wardrobe, production design and music choices ensure that “Suits” entertains in style. Season 3 premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 16 on USA.
Along with the second season’s 16 episodes, the four-disc DVD set includes deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, a punch reel, two making-of featurettes, commentaries on four key episodes and the short and pithy “Suits Recruits” webisodes.