10 Things You Might Not Know About Suits

Shane Mahood, USA Network
Shane Mahood, USA Network

On June 23, 2011, USA Network debuted a law drama called Suits, originally named A Legal Mind. Aaron Korsh, a former sitcom writer, created a show about a college dropout named Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) who passed the bar exam but didn’t have a law degree. He stumbled into an interview with Pearson Specter Litt partner Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) who, despite knowing Ross’s secret, hired him as an associate, based on his ability to memorize law facts, and also wanting to give him a second chance at life.

Over the course of seven seasons, Suits has transformed into “a relationship show disguised as a legal drama,” focusing on the bromance between Mike and Harvey. Soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle plays Mike’s fiancée and co-worker, Rachel Zane. The long-running show has not only been one of USA’s top-rated shows but also one of cable’s highest-rated programs—so much so that the network has already renewed it for an eighth season.

On August 30, 2017, the show hit a milestone of 100 episodes. The final six episodes of season 7 start airing on March 28, with Markle and Adams leaving the show on April 25, when the network will air a two-hour season finale featuring Mike and Rachel’s wedding. (Markle’s real-life wedding, to Prince Harry, will happen on May 19, when she’ll gain the title Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales.) However, Dulé Hill and Katherine Heigl will join the cast for the eighth season, and Gina Torres (lawyer Jessica Pearson)—who departed the show during the end of season six but returned for guest appearances—will get her own spinoff sometime next year. Here are 10 things you might not know about the show.   

1. THE SHOW IS BASED ON AARON KORSH’S LIFE.

Before becoming a TV writer and showrunner, Aaron Korsh worked on Wall Street as an investment banker, which was the original profession for Suits’s characters. “I worked for a guy named Harvey, I had a good memory, and I had a dalliance with marijuana,” Korsh told Collider. He quit Wall Street, moved to L.A., and became a writers’ assistant. “I wrote a spec piece that I originally intended to be a half-hour Entourage-type [show] based on my experiences working on Wall Street, but as I wrote it, I started realizing it wants to be an hour-long show,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

As a first-time showrunner, Korsh felt inexperienced—which only helped develop the show's characters. “I think it was the first day on set, shooting the pilot, and inside I was like, ‘What am I doing here? I’m a fraud,’ which is the basis of Mike being a fraud.”

2. PATRICK ADAMS THINKS THE SHOW MAKES VIEWERS “FEEL GOOD.”

In an interview with Esquire, Adams acknowledged that Suits isn’t exactly a game-changer as far as series go, “but it’s one of those shows that people love to have in between the shows that change television. There’s the show that’s going to change the way I think about art, and life, and myself, and my family, and then there’s the show I just want to watch because I love these people, and they make me feel good.” He also referred to the show as a “guilty pleasure,” and said that not much has changed throughout the seasons.

“It’s ultimately kind of the same thing we’ve been doing for seven years,” Adams said. He also stated the show lacks violence and sometimes deep emotion, like when Mike’s grandmother died. “You touch on the depths and then yank it back. That’s its rhythm. People like to feel that they get near the pain and suffering, and then they like to feel safe that it’s all good, we can joke about it right away.”

3. GABRIEL MACHT’S REAL-LIFE FAMILY INFLUENCED HARVEY.

Gabriel Macht in 'Suits'
Shane Mahood, USA Network

Gabriel Macht explained to The TV Addict that he comes from a family of lawyers: His sister is a former Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx; his aunt and cousin were in family law. “I’ve just been around it my whole life, so I’ve observed bits and pieces along the way,” he said. “And I feel like when I get the scripts each week, I don’t have to Wikipedia and try to figure out what all these terms mean.  Because all I have to do is really just fake it pretty well.”

4. MEGHAN MARKLE AUDITIONED IN AN H&M DRESS.

Nowadays, Meghan Markle is known for her expensive designer fashions. But when she auditioned for the role of Rachel, she had to make a last-minute wardrobe change. As Vanity Fair reported, she showed up to the audition wearing casual clothes but realized she needed to look more like a professional lawyer. “She dashed into an H&M and bought a little black dress for $35,” the article read. “Sure enough, she was asked to change into the dress, which she hadn’t even tried on. Thank God it fit.”

5. ORIGINALLY, JESSICA WAS GOING TO BE MURDERED.

Gina Torres, who played Jessica Pearson, told The New York Times the reason she left Suits was because her contract was up and “my personal life needed to be tended to.” Her family—including then-husband Laurence Fishburne (the couple separated in late 2017, after nearly 15 years of marriage)—lived in Los Angeles, but the New York City-set show filmed in Toronto. Korsh had the idea of seeing Jessica move to Chicago with her boyfriend Jeff Malone (D.B. Woodside) and having the somewhat crazy Larry Marsden (Colin Glazer) kill her.

“I didn’t think we were going to see it; we were going to hear about it,” Korsh told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was going to shatter everyone and we were going to do a two-year time jump afterwards … I thought that would be a twist you wouldn’t see coming. You might have seen that Jessica was going to choose to leave, but not her death on top of it.” However, the network was against it. She survived, and returned for occasional cameos.

“I don’t feel like we give happy, unfettered endings in Suits that often, so it was sort of unexpected to end episodes eight, nine and now 10 with a happy ending,” Korsh said.

“I don’t think people can die on Suits,” Adams told Esquire. “It’s still, at its heart, an aspirational show, and it would be so hard to watch these people wrestle with that.”

6. MARKLE'S VITAMIX WAS LIKE ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE CAST.

Meghan Markle in 'Suits'
Shane Mahood, USA Network

A self-professed foodie, Markle brought her Vitamix to Toronto and would feed the cast and crew with it. Adams’s family lives in Canada, so every Canada Day, Markle and the cast would celebrate in Georgian Bay. “When we were talking about the Georgian Bay and Canada Day weekend, me and my Vitamix, we really sort of ran the show on feeding everybody for that weekend,” Markle told Esquire. “It was one of the things where I was like I cannot travel without my Vitamix. It’s like a commercial at this point. But I use it every day for pestos or shakes.”

7. PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD TALK TO ADAMS ABOUT THE SHOW.

The show’s fanbase is comprised of ardent fans, especially those who have opinions about Mike and Rachel’s Romeo-and-Juliet-like relationship. “I never thought that a story about six people working in a law firm in New York City would be something that would capture people’s interest all over the globe,” Adams told Vanity Fair. “I was backpacking through New Zealand a couple of years ago and stopped to help a Swedish guy who had twisted his ankle. He looked up at me, and his eyes went wide, and all he could talk about was how badly he wanted Mike and Rachel to figure things out.”

8. SO IT MAKES SENSE THAT A KOREAN VERSION OF SUITS IS IN THE WORKS.

Beginning in April, KBS 2TV in South Korea will premiere its own version of Suits

9. KORSH WAS PREPARED FOR MARKLE’S EXIT.

Markle got engaged to Prince Harry in November 2017, but several months prior, when Korsh knew the relationship was serious, he started writing her out of the show. “I knew obviously from about a year ago that this relationship was burgeoning,” Korsh said. “I didn’t want to intrude, so I didn’t want to ask, ‘Hey, what’s going on? What are you going to do?’ As the season progressed, I said I would rather have good things happening to Meghan in her life, which would likely mean her leaving the show, so let’s plan on that.” In 2018, Markle did indeed announce she’d be leaving the show—and retiring from acting—to live in England with her prince.

10. ADAMS DIDN'T WANT MIKE TO BECOME JUST "ANOTHER LAWYER ON TELEVISION."

Patrick J. Adams in 'Suits'
Shane Mahood, USA Network

Like Markle, Adams will depart the show after the seventh season finishes. He told The Hollywood Reporter that Mike had come a long way from the beginning of the show to the point now where he’s a legal lawyer. “I had this voice in my head that said that we’ve told his story and if he hangs out longer, Mike is just going to be another lawyer on television,” Adams said. “That didn’t feel right for him. It didn’t feel right for where I was at in my life, either.”

Netflix Is Testing Commercials, and Subscribers Aren't Happy

iStock
iStock

Save the occasional "Are you still watching?" message popping up between episodes, it's possible to watch an entire Netflix series in one sitting with little to no distractions. Now, the streaming service is testing something that could upend that: As CNN reports, Netflix has quietly started sprinkling advertisements into its programming, something the subscription-based service has been able to avoid up to this point.

The promotional content Netflix is experimenting with differs from conventional cable commercials in some fundamental ways. The promos won't be advertising third-party brands, Netflix promises: Rather, they'll exclusively show off Netflix original content, like seriesGlow and Stranger Things (though one Reddit user did report seeing an ad for Better Call Saul, which Netflix licenses from AMC). And instead of inserting ads throughout the program, as some non-subscription streaming services do, Netflix will only include them at the end of some episodes with a "skip" button similar to the one that allows viewers to bypass a show's opening credits. And each promo subscribers see will be personalized based on their viewing habits, hopefully turning them on to new shows and not just annoying them in the middle of their binge-watching sessions.

Despite these assurances from Netflix, viewers aren't happy. Many customers have taken to social media threatening to cancel their service if the promos become the norm, which likely may not happen: They've only been shown to a select number of test viewers so far, and based on user response, Netflix may decide to pull the plug on the experiment.

The good news is that as long as the ads are still in the test phase, you can choose to opt out of them. Just go to Netflix.com/DoNotTest and toggle off the switch next to the words "Include me in tests and previews." Now you're ready to resume your binge-watching marathon without interruption.

[h/t CNN]

10 Things You Might Not Know About Columbo

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

For more than 40 years, Peter Falk entered living rooms around the world as Lieutenant Columbo, an unconventional L.A. homicide detective known for his ruffled raincoat and trademark cigar. The actor would go on to win four Emmys for the role, while the series itself remains a benchmark for television crime dramas. But if series creators William Link and Richard Levinson went with their initial choice, the iconic role of Columbo would have gone to a syrupy-smooth crooner rather than the inelegant Falk. Get familiar with one of TV's most unique heroes with facts about Columbo.

1. BING CROSBY WAS ORIGINALLY EYED FOR THE ROLE.

Columbo creators Richard Levinson and William Link's first choice to play their low-key detective was crooner Bing Crosby. Der Bingle loved the script and the character, but he feared that a TV series commitment would interfere with his true passion—golf. It was probably providential that Crosby turned the role down, since his death in 1977 occurred while the series was still a solid hit on NBC. 

2. PETER FALK WAS AN UNEXPECTED SEX SYMBOL.

Peter Falk in 'Columbo'
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Character actor Lee J. Cobb was also considered for the role, until Peter Falk phoned co-creator William Link. Falk had gotten a copy of the script from his agents at William Morris and told Link that he’d “kill to play that cop.” Link and Levinson knew the actor back from their days of working in New York, and even though he was the opposite of everything they’d originally pictured for Lt. Columbo, they had to admit that Falk had a certain likeability that translated to both men and women. Falk was described by a certain female demographic as “sexy,” and males liked him because he was an unthreatening, humble, blue-collar underdog who was smarter than the wealthy perps he encountered.

3. FALK WAS A GOVERNMENT WORKER BEFORE BECOMING AN ACTOR.

Peter Falk wasn’t too far removed from the character he played. In real life he tended to be rumpled and disheveled and was forever misplacing things (he was famous for losing his car keys and having to be driven home from the studio by someone else). He was also intelligent, having earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University, which led to him working for the State of Connecticut’s Budget Bureau as an efficiency expert until the acting bug bit him. He was also used to being underestimated due to his appearance; he’d lost his right eye to cancer at age three, and many of his drama teachers in college warned him of his limited chances in film due to his cockeyed stare. Indeed, after a screen test at Columbia Pictures Harry Cohn dismissed him by saying, “For the same price I can get an actor with two eyes.”

4. COLUMBO'S DOG WASN'T A WELCOME SIGHT AT FIRST.

Columbo's dog
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

When Columbo was renewed for a second season, NBC brass had a request: they wanted the lieutenant to have a sidekick. Perhaps a young rookie detective just learning the ropes. Link and Levinson were resistant to the idea, but the network was pressuring them. They conferred with Steven Bochco, who was writing the script for the season opener, “Etude in Black,” and together they hatched the idea of giving Lt. Columbo a dog as a “partner.” Falk was against the idea at first; he felt that between the raincoat, cigar, and Peugeot his character had enough gimmicks. But when he met the lethargic, drooling Basset Hound that had been plucked from a pound, Falk knew it was perfect for Columbo's dog.

The original dog passed away in between the end of the original NBC run of the series and its renewal on ABC, so a replacement was necessary. The new pup was visibly younger than the original dog, and as a result spent more time in the makeup chair to make him look older.

5. FALK'S REAL-LIFE WIFE PLAYED A ROLE IN THE SERIES.

Falk first met Shera Danese, the woman who would become his second wife, on the set of his 1976 film Mikey & Nicky. The movie was being filmed in Danese’s hometown of Philadelphia, and the aspiring actress had landed work as an extra. They were married in 1977, and she was able to pad out her resume by appearing on several episodes of Columbo. Her first few appearances were limited to small walk-on parts—secretaries, sexy assistants, etc. By the time the series was resurrected on ABC in the early 1990s, she was awarded larger roles.

She originally auditioned for the role of the titular rock star in 1991’s “Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star,” but her husband adamantly refused, since the role included a scene of her in bed making love to a much younger man. She instead played the role of a co-conspiring attorney, and was also allowed to sing the song that was the major hit for the murdered star.

6. THE CHARACTER'S TRADEMARK RAINCOAT CAME FROM FALK'S CLOSET.

The initial wardrobe proposed for Columbo struck Peter Falk as completely wrong for the character. To get closer to what he wanted for Columbo, the actor went into his closet and found a beat-up coat he had bought years earlier when caught in a rainstorm on 57th Street. And he ordered one of the blue suits chosen for him to be dyed brown. The drab outfit would become one of the trademarks of the character for decades.

7. STEVEN SPIELBERG GOT AN EARLY BREAK ON COLUMBO.

“Murder by the Book” was the second Columbo episode filmed, but it was the first one to air after the show was picked up as a series. Filming was delayed for a month, though, when Falk refused to sign off on this “kid”—a 25-year-old named Steven Spielberg—to direct the episode. Finally he watched a few of Spielberg’s previous credits (all of them TV episodes) and was impressed by his work on the short-lived NBC series called The Psychiatrist. Once filming was underway, Falk was impressed by many of the techniques employed by the young director, such as filming a street scene with a long lens from a building across the road. “That wasn’t common 20 years ago,” Falk said. He went on to tell producers Link and Levinson that “this guy is too good for Columbo."

8. COLUMBO'S FIRST NAME WOUND UP THE SUBJECT OF A LAWSUIT.

Fred L. Worth, author of several books of trivia facts, had a sneaking feeling that other folks were using his meticulously researched facts without crediting him. He set a “copyright trap” and mentioned in one of his books that Lt. Columbo’s first name was “Philip,” although he had completely fabricated that so-called fact. Sure enough, a 1984 edition of the Trivial Pursuit board game listed the “Philip” Columbo name as an answer on one of their cards, which led to a $300 million lawsuit filed by Mr. Worth.

The board game creators admitted in court that they’d garnered their Columbo fact from Worth’s book, but the judge ultimately determined that it was not an actionable offense. By the way, years later when Columbo was available in syndicated reruns and HD TV was an option, alert viewers were able to freeze-frame a scene where the rumpled lieutenant extended his badge for identification purposes in the season one episode “Dead Weight” and determine that his first name was, in fact, “Frank.”

9. THE SERIES DIDN'T FOLLOW A STANDARD MYSTERY FORMAT.

The premise of Columbo was the “inverted mystery,” or a “HowCatchEm” instead of a “WhoDunIt.” Every episode began with the actual crime being played out in full view of the audience, meaning viewers already knew “WhodunIt.” What they wanted to know is how Lt. Columbo would slowly zero in on the perpetrator. This sort of story was particularly challenging for the series’s writers, and they sometimes found inspiration in the most unlikely places. Like the Yellow Pages, for example. One of Peter Falk’s personal favorite episodes, “Now You See Him,” had its genesis when the writers were flipping through the telephone book looking for a possible profession for a Columbo murderer (keep in mind that all of Columbo’s victims and perps were of the Beverly Hills elite variety, not your typical Starsky and Hutch-type thug).

A page listing professional magicians caught their eye, and that led to a classic episode featuring the ever-suave Jack Cassidy playing the role of the former SS Nazi officer who worked as a nightclub magician. When the Jewish nightclub owner recognized him and threatened to expose him, well, you can guess what happened. But the challenge is to guess how Lt. Columbo ultimately caught him. 

10. THERE WAS A SPINOFF THAT KIND OF WAS BUT THEN WASN'T.

The 1979 TV series entitled Mrs. Columbo was not technically related to the original Peter Falk series. In fact, Levinson and Link opposed the entire concept of the series; it was NBC honcho Fred Silverman who gave the OK to use the Columbo name and imply that Kate Mulgrew was the widowed/divorced wife (the series changed names and backstories several times during its short run) of the famed homicide detective. The “real” Mrs. Columbo was never mentioned by her first name during the original series, but actor Peter Falk possibly slipped and revealed that her name was “Rose” when he appeared at this Dean Martin Roast saluting Frank Sinatra and asked for an autograph.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios