[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers about Wednesday's season premiere of Suits. Read at your own risk.]
Mike and Harvey's big battle just got a bit more complicated.
After being ordered by Sidwell (Brandon Firla) to get a "home run" during Wednesday's Season 4 premiere of Suits, Mike (Patrick J. Adams) — who's now three months into his investment-banking career — went to bat for Walter Gillis' (Michael Gross) fledgling distribution company. Mike wanted to buy it to keep it alive instead of selling it for parts, but his attorney, aka Harvey (Gabriel Macht), wanted him to buy shares. Undeterred, Mike put Pearson Specter in review just as one of the firm's other clients, rich kid Logan Sanders (Brendan Hines), told Harvey that he wanted to start a hostile takeover of Gillis' company... and revealed that he already owns 4.9 percent. Still refusing to back down, Mike waived the conflict, and the former mentor and protégé declared "one, two, three, go" (which was also the title of the episode) in their knife-fight.
Aaron Korsh: Yes and no. ... One thing I try to encourage is to look in the history of the show. I think for serialized dramas to work — I think one-offs, like sitcoms and procedurals, they never refer to events that had happened that we've seen, and that rings false to me. Wouldn't [characters] talk about [related events], like you would in life? So I've always encouraged our writers to look back on stuff we've laid in, so last year, Rachel had said that she once had an affair with a married guy. We were going to have a one-off episode where that guy comes back as a client of the firm and they have to deal with him. We never got around to doing that, but I loved the idea, so it coalesced into, "What if Mike has a takeover battle against Harvey, and the client is the guy Rachel had the affair with, and that's our season?"I have to say, the affair was the furthest thing from my mind when I was watching the premiere.
Korsh: [Laughs] I hope that's true for most people! We specifically left that out on the "Previously on..." In our minds, she was a paralegal, he was a client. He left and she never thought he was going to come back even though his dad was still a client. Rachel's now Harvey's associate, but she's also in law school, so we're using that to our advantage that she's not always there to hear every single thing. She didn't immediately know it was Logan Sanders; she thought it was the dad. It all worked out serendipitously.How will Rachel and Logan interact now? How serious was this affair?
Korsh: We reveal bits and pieces of it over time. I don't think we'll tell the whole story, but it was a serious thing. She had an affair with a married man. It didn't end well, as these things never do. We kind of referred to that before. She said, "They always end the same way." I don't know if we're going to do a full-on flashback episode this year, but we do flashbacks to the Logan-Rachel past in a scene here, a scene there. It's in middle of episodes this year. We think it's working. It's not necessarily in order. It's a moment in time that happens to affect the current scene. ... One of the challenges is that this dynamic creates so many possibilities. You've got Harvey vs. Mike, Mike vs. Logan, Logan and Rachel being put in a situation where they're going to be working closely together. What's that going to do to Logan and Rachel, and what's that going to do to Mike and Rachel?
Korsh: Other people will find out. ... There are a lot of secrets, like Jessica and Malone, and Rachel and Logan, and what we realized is, there is so much conflict to be mined out of the situations these people are in that we didn't need to add the keeping of secrets on top of it.And you've already done the whole keeping secrets thing with Mike.
Korsh: Exactly. It didn't seem worth it, and that would've made it unnecessarily more complicated if we did that.How long is the takeover arc going to last? Have you decided how it will end?
Korsh: It's going to last a while. Other things come into play with Malone getting pulled in. ... We're pretty close to landing on how it ends. The Woodall-Malone thing, we're wrenching with when and how to wrap that up. I'm not trying to be vague, but we're discussing moving things that we were going to do later to do them earlier and vice versa. ... If too many things happen, it feels like you're too plot-y and you're not delving into the characters. One of my favorite shows, which I will not name because I love it, I thought it had too many things happening in episodes that were too crazy. Crazy is too strong of a word, but it started to feel like this isn't the show I fell in love with. So I want to dole out the big things that happen and not have them happen so quickly.I like that Mike is refusing to back down with Harvey and was one step ahead of him with the waiver. Is it really "Lebron's time"?
Korsh: [Laughs] When Mike says, "It's Lebron's time," I look at him as Harvey's little brother. He may be smarter than Harvey or he might not be — in certain ways, he definitely is and in others, he is not. I have an older brother, so I know that dynamic well. In the scene when he goes to Harvey's and he's really pissed ... I talked to Patrick [J. Adams] about it, and I said, "You want his respect and he just will not give it to you." ... In the end, it's almost like they're happy that they're in this duel. Mike isn't going to be under Harvey's wing his whole life. That's what this is about. At the end of the episode, I feel like if you're a competitive person, you might as well fight against the best. So going forward, we're going to see how they try to one-up one another. And it's not just about outright winning, but winning enough that it gets under the other guy's skin. Louis (Rick Hoffman) told Harvey to drop Mike, but Harvey doesn't want to get rid of him.
Korsh: No, he doesn't want to do it, but once it's clear they're going up against each other, it's like, "OK, it's on!" On a totally different note that I have to mention, the "one, two, three" thing is an homage to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. When we were on set, I pulled the scene up on YouTube [watch it here], and the guy that Butch Cassidy has a knife fight with and says those lines to is named Harvey Logan. I had no idea about that when we came up with Logan's name! Total coincidence!I know you wanted Mike to stick with this job, but Jonathan did say that he could go back to being a lawyer if he can't step it up. Will that ever happen?
Korsh: It's always a possibility. He wasn't serious about it. It was a throwaway line, like, "Go back to your mom and dad." To my mind, Mike can't go back to being a lawyer. Where is he going to go? Is he going to be a fraud again? It's supposed to give him a kick in the ass to get that home run.A lot of fans are worried that Amy (Melanie Papalia) will come between Mike and Rachel, but should we worry more about Logan being back in the picture?
Korsh: Mike and Rachel are going to have a lot of challenges this year. She's going to be working close quarters with a guy she used to love. That can bore a hole in a man's brain. Let alone that he has a nice secretary that he has a good relationship with. There are many potential roadblocks. Amy is one of them, but not by any means the only one. I have decided what will happen between Mike and Rachel, not specifically, but they will have to overcome many challenges.
Korsh: It was time to explore some personal stories with her. I talked about it with Gina. We wanted to keep her personal stories connected somehow to work. To me, going home and having her meet a guy and having an episode that is completely un-work-related, I'm not interested in that. All of the serious relationships on the show were rooted in work. Louis and Sheila was a little tangential, but it was still through work. That's how the idea of him coming in and strong-arming us, and revealing that they've been sleeping together, came about. I'm guessing they won't be able to keep business and pleasure separate.
Korsh: [Laughs] They're going to struggle as to whether they can maintain a professional relationship at work. That's going to be some of their through-lines of the season. He's got a job to do. He was supposed to come after us on the path of Woodall, and someone else is going to do that now, and he will take that person on. That will cause some conflict.When will Louis make name partner?
Korsh: Not too soon! He can't make copies [of the mock-up card] yet! Louis will have lots of wins and losses this year.Do you have an idea of what the midseason finale will be?
Korsh: We're in the middle of figuring it out. It's crunch time right now. We're on Episode 5 now and ... we have the road map of where I want to end [Episode] 10. We have to figure out how to get there. "Cliff-hanger" would be a strong word, but it's a big thing that will happen.What did you think of the Suits premiere? Watch the Season 3 finale here.