Dry cleaned: 5 reasons why “Suits” is still good

Suits is in the midst of its fifth season; the fifth episode, “Toe to Toe” aired last Wednesday. As the entire season is sixteen episodes long, the fifth episode would not seem like a midway point, but it actually is, because Suits takes a mid-season break after the tenth episode of this season.

I’ve enjoyed this season so far – I think it’s just as good as it has ever been. Here’s why.

Mike’s secret is not the centre of focus

Mike’s secret – him lying about going to law school – has been the focus of conflict in the past two seasons. Every main character has had his or her share of actions and reactions to his dirty secret, and for the longest time, Mike was under threat of getting shamed and fired if he got found out.

This secret as a plot device works well (Shawn Spencer faked being a psychic for eight seasons in Psych, for example), but Suits took the secret and beat us over the head repeatedly until it got old, and frankly, painful. Thankfully, Mike’s secret has not come up so far this season.

Harvey’s forced out of his comfort zone

In the first four seasons, Harvey Spector has been comfortable where he was; perhaps the only major change to his status was his elevation to named partner at Pearson Spector Litt.

However, things change for him this season. Donna, practically his rock, chooses to  leave him to work for Louis instead, which sends him spiralling into panic and into a psychiatrist’s office. We’ve seen Harvey rattled, but not so vulnerable as in this season. I, for one, am interested in learning more about his backstory, which should spill out in his therapy sessions.

Harvey gets a new secretary

One of the consequences of Donna not being Harvey’s secretary is that we get a replacement. That character is Gretchen Bodinski (Aloma Wright). Gretchen’s not a bombshell like Donna is, but she’s tough, experienced and capable. We haven’t seen much from Gretchen so far, but it’s about time we saw a new character kick ass.

The bantering returns

Suits was good in its earlier seasons partly because of its breezy tone and snappy dialogue, especially between Harvey and Mike. The show lost a little of that in recent seasons when it decided to explore a more serious tone, but thankfully the banter’s back. A pop culture reference here, a bit of retort from Mike or Harvey, and we’re back in business.

The stakes are smaller

This may be a little premature considering that we still have eleven episodes to run, but this season feels like it focuses more on character development. Whereas seasons 3 and 4 focused on flashy plots like law cases, departures of characters from the firm or boardroom power plays, this season we’ve only seen a whiff of it in the form of the Jack Soloff compensation formula arc. Otherwise, this season is all about Harvey struggling to keep himself afloat, and maybe Mike proving himself to Robert Zane.

And I don’t mind the smaller stakes at all. It’s a pleasant surprise to see Suits still finding new ways to explore its characters at its advanced stage. Typically, as a TV show enters its later seasons, it is forced to keep itself fresh by upping the stakes and create bigger conflicts through increasingly convoluted plotting.

However, Suits looks to be achieving the same effect by doing the reverse. Let’s see what happens in the rest of the season.


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