12:00 pm EDT, January 15, 2013

‘Suits’ Q&A panel at the Paley Center, cast avoids explaining can opener

Ahead of the Thursday night season 2 and a half premiere of Suits on USA Network, the cast held a screening and Q&A session at the Paley Center in LA. Show creator Aaron Korsh, along with stars Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht, Gina Torres, Rick Hoffman, Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty were present.

The panel, which was moderated by Jarett Wieselman, lasted for an hour as we were given a glimpse into what we will and will not see in the near future, as well as what events in the past have gotten us to this point.

When asked about the casting process, Korsh commends Adams for having “the intelligence in his eyes” that was needed to play Mike Ross. Adams then notes that he and Macht had an awkward first meeting lunch where they were trying to figure each other out and how easy or hard it would be to work with one another. Thankfully, the chemistry between this cast is incredible and being a season and a half since the pilot, there is no reason to worry about a weak link in the bunch.

Rafferty – who plays Donna Paulsen, secretary extraordinaire – comments that long-time friend, Macht (Harvey Spector), was the one who gave her a script (and bothered Korsh long enough to convince him to audition her) and brought her onto the project. However, her role on the show was questionable when Donna was fired in season 2. The cast notes how the Twitter hashtag #SaveDonna caused one of the first big social media explosions the show experienced.

Adams mentions Tumblr’s use of various gifs of Donna and Harvey. During the election season, “binders full of women” memes with Donna’s picture on them flooded his feed. He says it’s “the best feeling when the fandom reacts that way to the show.”

On Mike and Rachel’s relationship, Markle notes it’s “brutal, but great” and that “it’s a roller coaster… but really exciting for Rachel.” Fans of the show and of the characters yell at Adams in real life about Mike’s behavior. Adams says it’s a “testament to the writers” and Markle says it’s more than a relationship the two are working on, “it’s this connection they’re building.” On set, Adams teases Markle about Mike’s other love interests and their on-screen chemistry, which drives Markle crazy about the pressure to out-perform characters such as Jenny.

When asked about the wildly successful flashback episode and the possibility for another one, Korsh says they are “in the middle of breaking season three” and would consider another flashback episode if it easily fit within the timeline of the show. It is also revealed that Harvey and Rachel, who’ve rarely shared much screen time, will have scenes together in the upcoming episodes.

Hoffman, who is so unlike the mean – and sometimes cruel – Louis, comments, “there’s a really nice respect that [he thinks] everyone ultimately has for one another.” Though the majority of the cast agrees that Rick is most dissimilar from their character, Adams claims that Macht is – he wears Harvey’s Tom Ford suits with Birkenstocks in his trailer.

Particularly memorable moments for the cast include the flashback episode (Rafferty’s pick – she liked it for the line she had: “I’m not apologizing for who I am”) and Louis’ confrontational bathroom scene with Harvey (Hoffman’s pick – that showed Louis was right for once “after getting his ass kicked into the ground by Harvey”). Markle’s favorite moments were Donna and Rachel drinking in the bar, and her character negotiating her job back from Louis. But she can’t watch the scene again because she nit-picks herself too much. Adams says the pilot episode, because of the “crazy process of doing it for the first time.”

He also notes that there was very little acting required on his part throughout the first season; he really was “this young guy figuring out what it meant to take responsibility and believe in yourself.”

It was asked if the central issue of the show, a lawyer without a law degree, would be magically solved: “could he go to an accelerated law school” over a hiatus? Korsh considers the ridiculousness of it and concludes that “stranger things have happened” and it would pose an even bigger risk of exposure for Mike – why is the supposed lawyer going to law school? So as of now, no, there are no plans for Mike to go to law school.

Korsh explains that his creative process doesn’t revolve around whether or not a man or woman is speaking, it’s about the interesting things they can say and do. He just tries “to make all the characters interesting” and to make some “aspect of them bold.” The gender doesn’t matter.

Gina Torres addresses a question about whether or not the intensity Jessica has comes from a different place than the physical intensity Torres had with different roles, saying, “whether [she’s protecting what’s hers] with a gun or a laser [a callback to her days on the much-beloved Firefly]… or a stiletto, in my mind, it is the same [place].”

At one point, moderator Wieselman whips out a can opener – the item that is mysteriously used by Donna and Harvey in one episode. Korsh, who holds Q&A sessions on Twitter regularly, exclaims, “this is the one question. What is the can-opener?” He then gets up to run off stage, avoiding the answer. “We don’t know what the deal is.” He joked it would be explained in the last scene of the series, but let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long!

Suits returns Thursday at 10 p.m. EST on the USA Network.

Still looking to catch up before the premiere?

Check out our Introduction to Suits post!

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