I’m torn between loving and loathing Suits. It’s a legal series that undoubtedly has charm and an easy wit, but the main characters are so smug it’s sometimes almost painful to watch. It’s also true that in an age of austerity, this celebration of wealth and conspicuous consumption feels slightly out of touch. But it’s one of the odd things about American TV – it loves rich people, and smugness is almost treated as the right of those who’ve succeeded. To me Suits is occasionally insufferable, but the strong writing elsewhere and the pairing of Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams just about pull it through.
Adams plays Mike Ross, who ducks into a law office to try and avoid the police and accidentally scores an interview to join the firm. Mike is a prodigy, who may not have a law degree but passed the bar after a bet and has an eidetic memory that ensures he knows far more about the law than the Harvard grads the firm normally hires. Hotshot lawyer Harvey Specter (Macht) decides to take a shot on Mike, becoming the young man’s mentor.
Over the course of the series the duo work on all sort of cases, with Mike proving an astute legal mind, even if he doesn’t actually know the bureaucratic basics of being a lawyer. However the partnership doesn’t please everyone, particularly rival lawyer Louis (Rick Hoffman), who varies between wanting Mike for himself to trying to destroy him.
Mike and Harvey make a great team and genuinely seem to be having fun as they manipulate the law to serve their clients. With smart plots and a breezy style, most of the time it’s a lot of fun, with plenty of humour and a pace that never allows you to stop for breath. It would just be nice if they weren’t so smug and pleased with themselves all the time. To be fair sometimes they have reason to be self-satisfied but a bit of humility never hurt anyone. And I don’t mean the sort of fake humility American TV (including Suits) likes, where every so often we’re reminded they have a heart in the hope that we’ll ignore the smugness they spend 99% of their lives feeling.
I think it depends of your mindset as to how you take the character. Mike and Harvey kind of remind me of the guys in the Pepsi adverts who con their bossing into thinking he’s going mad. Presumably we’re meant to think those guys are cool and funny people we can aspire to be like (by drinking Pepsi of course), but to me they come across like complete assholes. And that’s the problem with Mike and Harvey, if you met them in real life there’s a good chance you’d really dislike them, particularly Harvey, who seems to have modelled himself on Charlie Sheen in Wall Street but without the realisation of the dangers of unbridled capitalism. Macht and Adams just about make it work, but I undoubtedly can’t help but being torn over the show, especially when it heads into ‘It is not enough to succeed, others must fail’ territory.
The four-disc DVD release includes all 12 episodes from season 1, plus the US version of the pilot. There’s also an audio commentary, outtakes and some deleted scenes to round things off. With a very reasonable RRP of £17.99, the show is worth checking out, but just be aware that the main characters are a bit of a love ‘em or loathe ‘em pair.
Overall Verdict: While its celebration of wealth and being pleased with yourself is sometimes a bit much to take, Suits is a funny, pacy and often entertaining legal show.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac