Attorney Mike Ross’s (Patrick J. Adams) pro-bono case against a private prison corporation comes to a head as “Suits” airs its 100th episode Wednesday, Aug. 30, on USA Network.
Continuing a story line that has dominated Season 7, the lawsuit in question has sharply divided the team at Pearson Specter Litt, the law firm where “Suits” is set. The corporation Mike is going after has ties to a major construction-company client of Alex Williams (Dule Hill), a recent addition to the PSL roster and a close friend of senior partner Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht).
Among many complicating factors that are coming to light, Mike’s case, if he pursues it, could spell disaster for Alex, who has a major skeleton in his professional closet, in the same way that Mike once hid the fact that he didn’t have a license to practice law.
“Mike cares about people and empathizes with them, so he can empathize with someone who is caught in a situation that seems to have no way out, after having his own secret burden him for so long,” explains executive producer Rick Muirragui, who wrote this episode, entitled “100.”
“When we were writing the 100th episode, we wanted something special,” he adds. “There are a lot of emotions, and some of our favorite guest characters are back. There’s also another emotional story going on as we find out how Donna (Sarah Rafferty) is affected by Harvey’s being with Paula (recurring guest star Christina Cole). And Louis (Rick Hoffman) has a story line with a character from the long past, and he’s forced to make a decision about what kind of person he is.”
A recent on-set party for cast and crew, many of whom have been with the series since its move to Toronto after the pilot was picked up, comes at a time when “Suits” is undergoing something of a reboot, after clearing two daunting hurdles in Season 6: sending Mike to prison to address and bury the ongoing problem of Mike’s big professional secret, and dealing with leading lady Gina Torres’ off-camera decision not to continue as a series regular in her role as senior partner Jessica Pearson.
The writers very briefly considered just doing a time jump to skip over Mike’s incarceration, but instead found a way to connect it to the firm by having Mike wind up in prison with a bitter inmate whom Harvey had sent away.
“In a way our characters were reacting in the way we were reacting: Everything is scattered. The world order has been turned upside-down. How do we pull everything back together?” Muirragui says. “What we’ve tried to do over the past season and a half is sort of earn our way back to the firm being at full strength after being fractured and broken when Mike went to prison and Jessica left.”
No wonder spirits were high at that recent company party.
“There was just this really warm feeling in the air,” Muirragui says. “Everybody was so aware of how fortunate we are to be on a show that’s been going this long, and to be with people that they like.”