USA Network’s Suits is moving on, filling the space left by the departures of original cast members Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle with new additions (Katherine Heigl!) and familiar faces (Katrina!). But is the revamped Season 8 the same show viewers know and love, or does it feel like a brand-new drama? (The updated credits sequence is definitely fresh!)
To investigate, TVLine watched the first two episodes of the upcoming season (premiering Wednesday, July 18 at 9/8c). Here’s what you need to know about the future of Specter Litt:
EXHIBIT A: The premiere — which picks up on the evening of Mike and Rachel’s wedding — features several references to the departed couple, especially as Robert Zane adjusts to having lost his daughter to the other coast. Harvey, meanwhile, reacts to Mike’s exit by throwing himself into his latest legal hurdle. It’s not clear who will be his new protégé, but there’s a case to be made that it will/should be Alex (Dulé Hill), whom Harvey enlists to help him.
EXHIBIT B: Heigl’s Samantha Wheeler is technically on the firm’s team, but even so finds herself going toe-to-toe with Harvey. In addition to angering the name partner — which, let’s be fair, is easy to do — Samantha’s bold behavior and mysterious background also raise some concerns for Donna. The new arrival, though, is also highly skilled at what she does and extremely loyal, making her a valuable asset for the firm.
EXHIBIT C: The merger with Robert Zane does not come without some caveats and complications. After all, he has more managing partner experience than Harvey and Louis combined, so you can expect him to make a play for that position. Plus, he and Harvey have clients with conflicting interests, which means something’s gotta give.
EXHIBIT D: Now that Amanda Schull is a series regular, prepare to not only see more of Katrina, but also more of the character interacting with people other than Louis. The potentially burgeoning mentorship/friendship between Katrina and Donna is definitely one that deserves to be explored further.
EXHIBIT E: Donna still knows best. (As if you ever doubted that.)
THE VERDICT: At its core, Suits is still a ball-busting legal drama. Although some fans will no doubt miss the Harvey/Mike bromance, Specter Litt barely takes a breath before diving into its latest fight sans its golden boy. And the power plays and legal battles will feel familiar to longtime viewers. (Can’t we all just get along?) But the addition of Heigl, as both a formidable antagonist and ally for Harvey, plus an expanded focus on supporting characters like Katrina, brings new energy to the ensemble.