Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wednesday’s finale of Suits
Farewell, Pearson Specter Litt.
During Wednesday’s midseason finale of Suits, one character said goodbye to the firm — and the show!
After successfully defending death-row inmate Leonard Bailey, Jessica (Gina Torres) remembered what it was that drove her to become a lawyer in the first place: her desire to help people. With that realization weighing on her, she decided to leave the corporate business she helped build… and move to Chicago with ex Malone!
While Torres will no longer be a series regular after five-and-a-half seasons on the USA Network drama, executive producer Aaron Korsh is hopeful that she will return in a guest-star capacity.
As for the character’s choice to pack up and start a new chapter in her life, “I wanted [Jessica] to leave on her own terms, and I feel like that’s what [she] did,” Korsh explains. “I think that’s the only way she would leave.”
Below, Korsh details what led to Torres’ departure and reveals the killer ending he almost went with for her swan song. The EP also talks about Mike’s professional outlook, Harvey and Donna’s “intimate” moment, and Pearson Specter Litt’s future without its big boss.
TVLINE | Why say goodbye to Jessica now?
Gina, towards the beginning of Season 5, had come to me and expressed a desire to be back in Los Angeles for personal reasons. We’re a family, on-screen and off, and when somebody needs something like that, we try to do our best to make it happen. So we discussed a little bit of a long-term game plan to allow her to move back there year-round and to have a better life. That’s what drove it. There was no creative [directive like], “We’ve got to get rid of Jessica.” I would have her on the show forever, and she had expressed to me that if the show was shot in Los Angeles, she would have stayed on it as long as it went. [UPDATE: Torres has joined ABC’s The Catch.]
TVLINE | The way in which Jessica leaves the show is very personal, and it’s very much about the heart of she is as a person. Why was it important to you to write her exit in that way, rather than her going out in some sort of power struggle?
When a character like Jessica is going to leave the show, to me, it’s got to be by her own choice, unless we’re just going to destroy the firm. For her to choose to leave this world, something’s got to happen to make that happen… If you go back to [Episode] 601, she has that scene with Louis [where she says], “The ship’s sunk. Do I have it in me to pull it back up from the bottom of the ocean?” She has that intimate scene with Rachel about what it’s like to be a woman in power. It’s the first inklings of, is Jessica just tired of being the one to put this firm on her shoulders? Is that weariness starting to sink in? She’s changed. She’s on board with striking a deal to let Mike out. She’s just more human.
Her humanity is… I wouldn’t say “coming back” because it never left her, but it’s asserting itself as a larger percentage in her personality throughout the course of the year. She does and says things that she maybe wouldn’t have done or said before. This even goes back to a year or two ago when Rachel goes to Jessica and asks her if she should sign a prenup, and Jessica says, “Don’t sign a prenup if you think it’s going to hurt your relationship.” That’s not something Jessica in Seasons 1, 2 and 3 would have said. But she said it based on her relationship with Malone.
But the twist I had planned was that father that accosted Rachel and tried to get rid of that witness was going to approach her and go crazy and kill [Jessica]. I wasn’t going to have us see that, but I was going to have us hear that off-screen. For a number of reasons, we ended up not going that way…. Ultimately, the network was not on board with that. They might have changed their mind, but I didn’t have it in me to engage in that struggle, so I just thought, “Let’s give a happy ending,” and I think it worked out pretty well.
TVLINE | How will the rest of the characters in the firm handle her departure?
Obviously, she’s such a titanic figure within the firm, and in both Harvey and Louis’ life. But she’s more of a mother/mentor figure to [Harvey] than to Louis. So it’s really going to affect him. There’s a power vacuum. They’re going to have to figure out how to deal with it. What we’re trying to do is have them react in some ways exactly as you would expect them to react, and in other ways surprise you a little bit.
TVLINE | Jessica has left Harvey and Louis with the keys to the kingdom and without a third-party mediator. Is that going to cause trouble between the two men?
There’s definitely going to be conflict there. But it ends up, hopefully, landing in a direction that is a little bit surprising. On both their behalf, as I said, there is some reaction that is as you would expect it, but then there’s a small twist to that, and it leads to another chapter at the end of [Episode] 611.
TVLINE | Mike wasn’t quick to jump on Harvey’s offer to become a consultant for the firm. What is his mindset about his future in the back six?
When he gave the speech to the jury in Episode 515, I think, [he said] he was given a gift and he wasted it, and he was ashamed of himself. He meant that. What’s going on in his mind is he’s gotten out of prison early and he didn’t maybe pay his full dues for the crime that he committed. And even if he didn’t have guilt over it, he wants to do good in the world. Being a corporate lawyer isn’t his idea of doing good. So he’s going to struggle with that. On the other hand, he’s a felon. So it’s not like people are going to be opening up their doors to let him do good and to trust him necessarily… Then he gets caught up in watching Rachel and trying to help Leonard Bailey and that case, and once that’s over, that’s when he says to Rachel, “Harvey offered me a job.” [In the next episode], he’s got to decide, is he going to [accept the position] or is he not going to do it, and what consequences is that going to have on his life and Harvey’s life?
TVLINE | The last scene of a finale is important because it’s the note you leave the story off on. What did you want to convey in that final image of Harvey and Donna standing there, holding hands and looking at an uncertain future?
Sometimes, I like to give food for thought. What I wanted to convey… [Laughs] Each individual fan is going to think what they think, regardless of what I wanted. So I don’t know if I even think about it in those terms. But to me, at its core, Harvey had a very significant person in his life leave. He actually took it pretty well in the moment that it happened. Ironically, Louis was the one who was pissed, and Harvey understood that Jessica needed to do what she needed to do. But then as that sinks in, he’s going to have different things happen to him. One of the most significant people in his life, obviously, catches him in this moment of, I guess, emotional vulnerability, and they just have a very tender moment. She’s there for him in his initial stages of mourning Jessica’s loss, and it’s a lot of character growth for Harvey to let her be there for him, to hold his hand and connect. To me, it was an intimate moment between Harvey and Donna. It remains to be seen what it will lead to in the future, but in that moment, it was her being there for him in a vulnerable time and deepening their intimacy with each other.
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