Suits‘ Donna and Harvey aren’t exactly touchy-feely types, but are they trying to avoid having any physical contact with each other?
“I think they actually never touched each other until they held hands” at the close of the Season 6 fall finale, star Sarah Rafferty notes. “That’s why I loved that scene. It just speaks to their partnership and the depth of that.”
In fact, Rafferty can only remember two instances of touching prior to that hand-holding — and neither made the final cut. “When we shot [the flashback of] Donna telling Harvey that his father had passed, at one point, there was a wide shot from behind, and I remember I put my hand on his shoulder,” she recalls. “They didn’t use that take.”
“Then when Louis found out that Mike was a fraud and had gone insane on Donna in Harvey’s office,” she continues, “she tells Harvey that she had failed him, basically. Gabriel [Macht], I believe, was directing that episode. He said, ‘Hey,’ and took Donna by the chin and made me make eye contact with him and held my face. That was not in the cut, either.”
Below, Rafferty weighs in on the changing “Darvey” relationship and explains what the executive assistant hopes to achieve with her “The Donna” business venture during tonight’s episode (USA Network, 10/9c).
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TVLINE | What kind of practical applications does The Donna have? It’s very amusing and fun, but how you would use it in everyday life?
That’s not really what The Donna storyline is about. Really, it’s just a catalyst for actual Donna to do some soul-searching about her personal identity and her goals for her future. That’s what I love about how this sets up the finale and opens up some doors moving into Season 7.
But I will tell you this: A few years ago, there was an app created called The Donna. It was a virtual assistant. I spoke to the venture-capital team behind it. It was like a next-level Siri situation. It learned from all your habits and your calendar, and it learned your preferences. It would see that you had a calendar entry and then it would suggest, “Do you want me to call this restaurant for you since that’s a restaurant you frequently go to?” It was a really interesting, real-life app that went through some beta testing. I don’t know where it is now.
TVLINE | Does Donna see this venture as something she can parlay into a new career? Is she looking to leave the firm and do something different?
I don’t know that it’s about her leaving the firm. I think it’s about her growing. It’s about deeper issues for her, maybe even legacy. What makes her relevant? I think it’s at the end of Season 4, when she gets in trouble for helping Mike, and she lies to Harvey about what she did. He confronts her about it, and she breaks down and says, “Look, all of you are always pulling these rabbits out of hats, and I just sit out there and answer the phone.”
We learned prior to that that she wanted to be an actress, but she had to choose a more practical living. She couldn’t take the risk. And we flash back to her playing the piano when she was a child. She’s somebody whose dreams have been dashed, to some extent. So this is awakening a need in her to be relevant, to leave her mark, to feel like she’s doing something bigger, to grow. I can really appreciate that humanity in her. I also, personally, feel like going into Season 7, it’s time for Donna to learn a little bit more about the actual Donna, [and] not always in relation to Harvey, necessarily.
TVLINE | The season started on quite a telling scene of Harvey having a dream about himself and Donna in a very intimate situation. What was your reaction when you found out about it?
[Laughs] We had a good laugh about it. All I’m flashing back to is how gleeful Patrick J. Adams was. He was the one who was going to have to direct it.
TVLINE | Do you feel like the relationship between Donna and Harvey is starting to shift this season?
I think it’s constantly shifting. That’s what’s dynamic about playing it and, in some ways, why I’m not necessarily seeking resolution in that relationship at all as an actor. Because I think what’s most interesting about it is what a moving target it seems to be. It’s always shifting. Whatever they feel for each other, they’re not equipped to deal with it.
TVLINE | I found it interesting that Mike made a comment about Harvey not sleeping with Donna at the wedding. I don’t think anybody on the show has ever so overtly acknowledged the sexual tension between them.
[Laughs] I think Mike did it one other time. My husband and I watch together, and we both laughed aloud when we watched the episode. It was so funny. It was so what guys do.