[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Thursday's episode of Suits. Read at your own risk.]
How much can Louis' heart take?
On Thursday's Suits, Louis (Rick Hoffman) suffers a heart attack in court and, in a seize-the-day moment, proposes to Sheila (Rachael Harris) — in an open hospital gown to boot. The engagement is short-lived though when neither decide to budge on their stance on kids (he wants them, she doesn't) — exacerbated by the fact that Sheila was willing to give up Harvard for Louis — and they tearfully break up.
"I was surprised they got a heart attack, a proposal and a breakup all in one [episode]," Hoffman tells TVGuide.com with a laugh. "I don't know how the writers did that and still made it plausible, but it all worked."
Spring preview: Hot scoop on returning shows
Back at the firm, Louis' scare, naturally, has a ripple effect, as Jessica (Gina Torres), Harvey (Gabriel Macht) et al rally to cover his cases and check on him. Rachel (Meghan Markle), however, is stuck in a predicament after she gets her tuition payment schedule and asks Jessica for an advance per her agreement with Louis after he rehired her for Pearson Specter to pay for law school. Problem is, that was never in writing, and a recovered Louis tells her a verbal deal is moot when Rachel asks him for advice for her "friend." Fortunately, Rachel is able to negotiate a written deal with Jessica to pay for law school after Donna (Sarah Rafferty) clues her in that Jessica had paid for Harvey's law school.
So, did Louis really forget about his and Rachel's agreement? How will the heart attack and breakup change him? Will he keep investigating Mike (Patrick J. Adams) now? Hoffman answers our burning questions below.
That was quite the episode for Louis. What was you reaction when you found out what was going to happen?
Rick Hoffman: I know, right? I didn't really know what was going to happen at all. When I read it, I was incredibly excited because it was such an roller coaster of an episode and there were so many fantastic moments with everyone. It was really insanely scary for me. Whenever it comes to these moments of vulnerability, it's one of the biggest challenges for me as an actor to achieve. After seeing the episode and everyone's performance, I gotta say I'm really proud of this episode. It reminded me just how incredibly talented the other five people I work with are. This is one of my favorite episodes of the season.
It reinforced that they're a family unit even though Louis has been on the outside of it lately with the Mike thing.
Hoffman: Totally. It's interesting because you don't really expect the reactions the way they go when they're told. Who would think this type of news would bring out some emotion in Harvey Specter? I just think it's a testament to the writers and how great they are and how they surprise you quite a bit. Plus, the nuanced performances from Gabriel and Sarah and everyone are just great. ... There haven't been many [episodes], but when the focus is on the six and how they respond to one another, those are the best. It makes for tender, sweet episodes that are quite powerful. I'm glad they had this dead in the center of these six [episodes]. I'm anxious to see what fans think.
How will the heart attack and the breakup affect Louis? We already see him back at work and he says he was going to cut back.
Hoffman: As far as Sheila, are they done now? Yes. As far as what Louis is going to do in his love life, I think we'll take a break from that for a while. Rachael and I were definitely upset about not getting to work together, but I'm hoping Surviving Jack does incredibly well. Nobody deserves a successful series more than Rachael. As far as the heart attack, he's going to take it easy for his health.
Does it shift any of his priorities? Like investigating Mike? His "feud" with Scottie (Abigail Spencer)?
Hoffman: There's nothing in the final three episodes of Season 3 of any of that, but I think eventually there's some fun things to play with Louis' stress level and different things where he can make a conscious effort to change. All of this was such an intense roller coaster ride for him and I think ultimately, what you see in this episode is how everything continues, but that won't stay that way forever. We all know people stay who they are. I'm sure there'll be other curveballs that will cause some Louis drama in the future.
Has he dropped the Mike probe completely?
Hoffman: That was put to bed for now. Ultimately, if something were to come up again that sort of irks him, now the stakes are higher. Not only is it Mike, it's the entire firm and that makes it potentially catastrophic.
Spring preview: Must-watch new shows
He let Mike off the hook, but does he suspect that there's more to the story that him merely changing a grade?
Hoffman: No. Especially when he did that favor for Harvey, Louis is an incredibly gullible guy. He wants to believe that that was all it was. He has so much respect for Harvey and he also has respect for Mike, so the fact that he was lied to like that, it will definitely change things if he ever finds out the truth. But he's fine right now. God forbid he somehow finds out that it's not only Harvey and Mike, but Jessica? And everyone. It would be like end of days.
That has to happen eventually, right?
Hoffman: I don't know if that's a street they're going to be driving on for a while. If it's ever dealt with, there might be other factors at play. I already know getting ready for Season 4, that's not there right now. There are many, many other fish to fry at the firm.
I felt that Louis genuinely forgot about his deal with Rachel since they are such good friends. Did you immediately see it that way too when you read it?
Hoffman: Yeah, and it was just so smart to write it that way that he had this heart attack and she obviously couldn't outright confront him about it. People might [read the scene] differently, but as much as Louis is up to things, you can tell these relationships have evolved. He does love Rachel. He says, "Rachel, I care for you." He doesn't remember that agreement. He was not messing with her and I don't think it even crosses his mind that the "friend" she's talking about is Rachel. As Donna says, the Louis today would never approve of what the Louis did then. He's a different guy.
Will he find out?
Hoffman: That'll definitely be interesting. What if he does find out? I think he'd feel bad. But that whole scene was important for Rachel to evolve and take matters into her own hands, and it was a great performance by Meghan.
Speaking of finding out, Sheila still doesn't know that he snooped through her files.
Hoffman: That's right. That would be a great reason to bring her back.
We've always known Louis to be devoted to the firm, but it was nice to see that he wants more than that with a family.
Hoffman: Definitely. And he really means that. He wants a family. I love that it was him wanting one and not Sheila. And it shows another layer to him. As much as he's loyal to that firm, he's gonna be a dad. That's non-negotiable.
Suits postmortem: What's Louis' next move?
What can we expect the rest of Season 3?
Hoffman: After this, there's a life choice that needs to be made by one of the characters that has a serious effect on the firm from here on out. It's one of the six.
Does it have to do with Jonathan's job offer to Mike?
Hoffman: All I can say is... [Laughs] a choice needs to be made. I'm not going to say if it's made or not, but it will affect what you have once known as Pearson Specter.
My favorite scene was your proposal to Sheila and the wide shot of you in the open gown.
Hoffman: [Laughs] I think it's the third time total we've seen my butt. I think it's unanimous that the nation is disgusted. ... A lot of the Twitter responses I've gotten [in the past] are, "Oh, God, I didn't need that!"
They just love to hate it.
Hoffman: Yeah, I guess so. I thought it was a nice touch at the end of the scene. It kind of makes sense for Louis.
Suits airs Thursdays at 9/8c on USA.