Suits season 5 opens with a refreshing new direction. Rather than continue to labour the indigent efforts of Mike Ross, Suits has finally decided to give Harvey Specter some backstory, depth, and, most importantly, tangible flaws.
I should probably justify that ‘Mike Ross bashing’ above. After 4 seasons, I don’t think I’m alone in wondering why Mike hasn’t made any progress towards resolving his dark secret. For a guy with an eidetic memory he’s continually forgetting how inconvenient it is to live with his burden. Why not do a law degree online? He could claim that the law has changed a lot since he graduated and he simply wants to brush up. If that seems too close to the bone he could do a PhD in Law, using the authenticity of his doctorate to distract people from the fakery of his actual Law degree. Or they could have continued to pursue the show’s previous direction of having Mike move into investment banking, an area that doesn’t require his fake degree. He even had a sassy assistant that could have made for some great confrontations with Donna.
Way back at the beginning of the series I thought we were free of Mike’s burden when his hacker friend puts him into the Harvard Law system as if he’d truly graduated but, alas, we’re stuck with the perennial plot point.
It’s understandable that a show wants to cling to its prime complication, its conflict, its raison d’etre, but simply resolving a tired old problem doesn’t mean the show can’t take on a brand new prime complication! Anyway, back to Harvey. Episode 1 of Season 5 finally shows a vulnerable Harvey, indicating that the show has realised that a tough, cocky, competent character can still be thoroughly flawed. In fact, the more untenably bad situations a character suffers through, the more we want to see how they’ll react; how the depths of their character will endure or break.
As would be expected from the confident to a fault Harvey, his first reaction to cracks in his armour is to cover it up with something, quickly. In this case, it looks to be medication. Despite the fact that it’s taken Suits a long time to get to this point, they’ve set up a very satisfying arc for Harvey. His progress will be slow but hopefully infinitely interesting in what it reveals about a character made more of marble than flesh.
Suits goes out on Dave at 22.00 on Monday nights.