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How Suits Will Say Goodbye to Mike and Rachel

And launch Jessica's spin-off

Megan Vick

In a shocking turn of events, the big question on everyone's mind going into brand new episodes of Suits is not Harvey (Gabriel Macht) and Donna (Sarah Rafferty) related.

During the prolonged hiatus, USA announced that both Meghan Markle, who plays paralegal turned lawyer Rachel, and the show's second suit Patrick J. Adams would be departing the series at the end of Season 7. They are two major players in the world of Suits and their exits will cause a seismic shift within the world of the show.

TV Guide talked to Suits creator Aaron Korsh about how the series will say goodbye to two crucial members of their family while also launching a Jessica (Gina Torres) centered spin-off. Oh, we also got as much info as we could about the effects of that bombshell "Darvey" kiss in these back six episodes.

Meghan Markle and Patrick J. Adams, Suits​

Meghan Markle and Patrick J. Adams, Suits

USA Network, NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

How far into writing the second half of the season did you know that you were going to have to say goodbye to Mike and Rachel?
Aaron Korsh: It's a blur so I can't totally remember when any given decision was made, but at some point, obviously we knew Meghan was in a high profile relationship that hopefully was going to end in marriage. We didn't want to pry into her personal life and ask her about that, and so we basically at some point -- I can't remember how early on, but made a decision that we would assume she was going and hope for the best. It's a lot easier to undo an exit than it is to, at the last minute, have to write an exit, because that would be a death, basically. Right?

So, we made the decision to assume Meghan was leaving and Patrick made his decision to go. I'm trying to remember when it was, but it was early enough that we ... I think it was before we had started writing the back six. I think it was ... Oh, man, I remember I was in my office at home when he and I, when he told me he came to the final decision.

I think it was early enough. I can't remember the dates. Maybe it was June. But, before writing the back six we knew that they were both going to go, which was a good thing for us, obviously, because it allowed us to have the potential to have them not have to split with each other.

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Once you got the news they were leaving, did it feel imperative to give them a happy send-off or did you want to throw some Suits drama that maybe not everything is okay?
Korsh: Many times in the Suits writers' room we're like, "Do we want to give a good ending to something or a good middle, or do we want to have it be bittersweet?" or "How do we accomplish..." I think Suits is inherently oftentimes an optimistic show, but then over the years if you look at a lot of the things that we do, it has been less optimistic. Obviously, Mike going to prison, but then Mike getting out of prison. So, we definitely went back and forth on to make it sweet, bitter, or bittersweet, and collectively in the entirety of the finale there is -- We think we struck the right balance, is I guess what I'll say.

You've been toying with them being engaged for several seasons, what are the chances that we'll see them get married before we have to say goodbye to them?
Korsh: That's a good question. I'm going to leave each viewer to think of that on their own. Anybody that's been watching the show from the beginning, I think is going to draw a probably pretty accurate conclusion without me telling you exactly what is going to happen. But, they're a couple that if you think about it in the very first episode I think we've recently been running a promo about their sort of course of their relationship. Mike basically falls in love with Rachel at first sight and then they've sort of been -- they've had their struggles. They've been together for a long time, so that's the hint I'll give.

Getting into the actual premiere: How is Harvey dealing with that kiss Donna just left him with?
Korsh: You might have to ask Harvey that... He certainly didn't expect it, right?... He's coming in with huge news. I mean, he's already reeling before Donna does this, and then Donna kisses him. So, all that stuff is swimming in his head. Let's not forget, he's also in a relationship with Dr. Agard, Paula Agard. So, it's going to throw him for a little bit of a loop, so I guess that's what we're starting with in 7-11.

That's not the type of stress that Harvey can handle. Is dating a therapist going to be helpful to him in this season or is that just going to make things more complicated as he tries to figure this out?
Korsh: Well, that's a good way you framed the question. I mean, let me put it this way, regardless of whether he was dating his former therapist or not, anybody he's dating, if someone comes in and kissed him, let alone Donna, how would one deal with the stress of that, right? And let's also remember, Harvey is not a person that ever wants to consider himself someone that's been unfaithful to the person he's in a relationship with. That's a core component of his personality. He's got some processing to do, there's no doubt about it.

I would more even think of it as forgetting that she was his former therapist, though that obviously is the case. He's in a relationship with someone and another person comes up and crosses a physical threshold with him. It's going to affect him.

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It sounds like the kiss was very impulsive on Donna's part. Is she going to have any regrets immediately after doing it, or does she stand by it, like finally saying what she wants?
Korsh: That is another excellent question. It's complicated. You're going to have to watch the episodes to see, but there are consequences to her actions. Regret is a strong word. I don't know that I would say she regrets what she did. Probably, I would say she ultimately does not regret what she did, though she may have a greater understanding of the consequences of what she did to multiple people, including herself... There are consequences to what she did is how I'll repeat that.

Who's going to be your big bad for these back six episodes?
It's not always so much of a big bad. Sometimes in the back six we do a little -- it's not always like an over-arching big bad... In general the big bad is, he's a former partner back from Gordon Schmidt & Van Dyke days, [he's] going to come back to us, but he's not going to be involved in every episode. He's going to come in and leave, and the come back, and then build to being the big bad towards 15 and 16.

These episodes will also launch the Jessica spin-off. How much can we expect to see Jessica in these episodes?
Korsh: A decent amount. Sort of like in the first 10, she's in it in the same sort of level. She is a constant presence, but is not hugely in any one episode. But, she's present in most of the episodes, either in being spoken about or actually spoken to. Then obviously in the finale she's a huge part of the finale.

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What are you most excited for fans to see?
I've just finished editing the first three [episodes and] there is a lot of incredibly funny stuff in them. I mean, there is some, to my mind, of the funniest stuff we've ever done, while at the same time some real heartfelt stuff and some real good drama. I think the characters are moving in ways they've never moved before and we've got things that we'll never see before.

In addition to that, we're obviously sending Mike and Rachel off, which is a huge thing, and we're laying in a potential spin-off with Gina and seeing her in a completely different city and tone and environment, and with Harvey there with her to some degree. So, I guess I would say this: I'm as proud of this back six as I am of any back six we've ever done. It's very exciting. Things are going to get shaken up. We're going to see different pairings and different things we've never seen before, and we're also going to have a lot of funny stuff in them. I'm excited for fans to see all of that.

Suits returns Wednesday, March28 at 9/8c on USA.