Suits on ABC

An End And A Beginning

{First Published in The Hindu Metroplus}

The premise of Suits lies in a secret. Mike Ross, a brilliant young man who practices law in one of New York’s top law firms, is no qualified lawyer. He’s a genius, yes, and is relentless with his arguments in the courtroom, but he never appeared for the bar exam, or even went to law school. Harvey Spectre, the managing partner who hired Mike is fully aware of this, but hires him anyway because he is convinced that Mike’s smarts, his interest in the law, and most importantly, his flawless photographic memory compensate for his lack of formal qualifications. These are the events which transpire in the first episode of the first season of Suits. Over the course of the five seasons that have followed, Mike and Harvey have formed an everlasting friendship, won dozens of cases, and have battled against all odds to protect Mike’s secret.

suits, suits on abc, suits season 5 review

The show thrives on a delicious irony – here’s a man who knows the law, and knows how to apply the law as well as, if not better than most qualified professional lawyers, but he’s a fraud by all standards. A few of the previous seasons saw Mike come very close to having his secret busted wide open and going to jail, but the show’s creators would always place a twist at the very end and pull him out of the situation. It started getting predictable in the third and fourth season, but in a way, it was hard to entirely place blame on the show’s writers, after all, what was the show without the secret?

The fifth season of Suits, which concluded recently, blew the storyline wide open. Mike’s secret is out, and it doesn’t matter who outed him because he’s now facing serious charges for fraud and must go through trial in front a jury who could potentially put him away for many years. It doesn’t help that the defence lawyer who has taken the case against Mike, Anita Gibbs, is as unwavering as she is bloodthirsty.

The story arc of the fifth season has been a roller coaster. While the first few episodes seemed like it was going to focus on character development (we saw Harvey going to a psychiatrist to deal with his past, which made for great television), the following episodes saw many dramatic developments take place in a manner which was unlike the light, frothy and mostly unbelievable drama that Suits has perfected the past few years.

The last few episodes leading to the very intense season finale were entirely focused on Mike’s trial, and had an ending which felt more like a sucker punch. Everyone had expected the customary twist – the eleventh hour saviour, the defence lawyer’s hidden agenda being exposed, something, anything that could miraculously save Mike, but the twist ended up being the fact that there was none.

While this felt more like a series finale, I can’t help but wonder if this could be the best thing that has happened to the show in a long time, for it offers a fresh perspective and a new beginning to not just Mike Ross, but Suits as well.

{Suits is presently telecast on Comedy Central}

Women on TV

{Previously published in The Hindu Metroplus}

Women’s Day is fast approaching on the 8th of March, but surely we don’t need any one day to celebrate these five fantastic female characters who are on television right now.

Cookie Lyon, Empire – Cookie Lyon, played by Taraji P Henson, is one of the most entertaining and over the top female characters we have seen in television in a long time. A former convict who took the punishment for the sake of her husband, she comes back from prison and is ruthless in her pursuit of the wealth and share in business which is rightfully hers. While it’s incredibly fun seeing her do whatever it takes to get to the top, it’s just as heartwarming to see her try to be a good mother to her sons, and make up for the time that she lost in prison.

cookie lyon, cookie lyon gif, i know things gif, empire gif, best cookie lyon gifs

Brienne of Tarth, Game of Thrones – Although Danerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister are the first female characters you can think of in the context of Game of Thrones, Brienne of Tarth (played by Gwendoline Christie), for me, is the most underrated female character in the show, and in the books. She is a ungainly, not feminine in the conventional way, taller than most of the men on the land, and doesn’t give two hoots about any of it. She is a brave knight who values honour and friendship, and isn’t afraid to lay her life down to protect the ones she cares about. Brienne of Tarth is a wonderful character who defies all conventional gender roles and teaches us that being different, is what makes us special.

bienne of tarth gifs, brienne of tarth, shut up gif, shut your mouth gif

Jessica Pearson, Suits – Gina Torres plays Jessica Pearson, the managing partner of Pearson Specter Litt. There is only one word which captures the true essence of Jessica Pearson, and that is bad-ass. Jessica has no qualms in admitting to the amount of work that it took for her to get on top, which is why she’s all the more protective of her position as managing partner in the law firm. She can intimidate and sniff the truth out of anything, and anyone. Years of watching legal television have convinced me that Jessica Pearson is not just a boss, she is the boss.

jessica pearson gif, jessica pearson, suits

Annalise Keating, How To Get Away With Murder – Viola Davis won an Emmy the past year for her portrayal of Annalise Keating, the no-nonsense defence attorney who is also a Criminal Law professor. Annalise is charismatic, intelligent and relentless both in her cases as well as in class. Watching Annalise navigate through the world of criminal law, prisons, hardened criminals, and the minds of her own students is utterly gripping, and makes no surprise as to why this show has so much critical acclaim.

Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation – The inimitable Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope, a small town government worker whose sole aim is to improve the town she lives in. Leslie, apart from being hilarious also has some amazing feminist zingers in her repertoire including, but not restricted to “ovaries before brovaries”. Leslie Knope works tirelessly not only make her town better, but to also tell the rest of us, that being a woman shouldn’t have anything to do with getting the career and life that we truly deserve.

The Law of The Land

{First Published In The Hindu Metroplus}

The fifth season of Suits, which is currently underway, has been a revelation. Although I’ve been a fan of the series since it’s inception, I’ve always had this niggling worry in my mind about the show’s eventual deterioration – after all, there’s only so much you can do around the show’s basic premise of a fraudulent genius who practices the law. Season three was tiring, and season four improved steadily, with the last few episodes leading up to the finale having a few plot twists that were unexpected, but also the kind that you’d think would iron themselves out the moment the fifth season began.

suits, suits on abc, suits season 5 review

Well, they haven’t, and that’s why the fifth season is my favourite season of Suits, yet. We get to see the human, vulnerable side of Harvey Spectre (Gabriel Macht), everyone’s favourite tough guy lawyer, and the story behind why he is who he is. We also see how he deals with the loss of his secretary and Woman Friday, Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty), who has just started working for his rival partner, Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman). The Donna-Harvey split was probably one of the best things that happened in Suits. It gave the show the shake-up it’s been needing for a while, and has given it new direction. Initially, I’d expected only unnecessary drama, but I’ve been proven wrong – it’s been really enjoyable, endearing even, not only to see Donna and Louis working together, but also to see a sensitive side to Harvey.

There are four new characters this season so far, and all four of them have been excellent, and at times, steal the show from the mainstays themselves. Dr. Paula Agard (Christina Cole), Harvey’s psychiatrist, and Jack Soloff (John Pyper-Ferguson), this season’s bad guy, are both very well written characters, but the standout new character has been Gretchen Bodinski, Harvey’s new, brutally honest secretary.

Gretchen, who is played to the hilt by Aloma Wright, is sassy, eminently likeable, and has bags of personality. The Harvey-Donna chemistry was one of the show’s focal points, and something that a lot of fans even held sacred, but I hope that Gretchen stays on for the seasons to come. The latest addition to the cast has been Esther Litt (the gorgeous Amy Acker), who is Louis’ sister, and potentially, Harvey’s new love interest. Who would’ve thought, eh? Every episode of this season has had a twist, or a character, or a detail which has surprised me, if not completely taken me away, and has really reinforced my love for watching legal drama.

It is because I love this genre, that I know that although Suits is thoroughly entertaining television, it isn’t the particularly relatable, or even close to reality. Enter Silk, a courtroom drama series that is produced by the BBC. Silk chronicles the trials (literally) and tribulations of Martha Costello (Maxine Peake), a barrister in practice who is on her way to making “silk”, which is the informal term for the Queen’s Counsel (the British equivalent of Senior Counsel in India), a powerful and prestigious status that is bestowed on to lawyers based on merit. Martha’s rise isn’t going to be easy, and in order to make silk, she has to not only deal with difficult clients, but rival lawyers from her own chambers as well. The cast has many recognisable British actors, including Natalie Dormer and Nina Sosanya.

If you want to watch this show because you enjoy Suits, you should know that the similarities between Silk and Suits end with the fact that they’re both about modern lawyers. Silk delves into courtroom proceedings, and how cases are actually argued in court. Silk is also grittier, darker, much less glamourous and more cleverly written. The reason I love this show though, is not merely because I can associate with the black gowns and white bands, but because of its protagonists. It’s impossible to tell who’s good or who’s bad- making them all so very grey, and so very human.