Meghan Markle's Rachel Zane may have left Suits during the season 7 finale, but it wasn't until a year later that she was completely written out of the show. One of the original six main leads of the USA Network legal drama, Markle played the prestigious New York firm's paralegal for several years. After an on-again-off-again love link with Harvey Specter's (Gabriel Macht) protege, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), the two finally got together, tied the knot and left the series. Markle's exit was because of her then-upcoming marriage to Prince Harry after secretly dating for a couple of years.
Truth be told, Suits continuing after half of its original cast members left (Adams, Markle and Gina Torres) was a bold move for NBC and USA Network. Much of the show's appeal stems from the impeccable chemistry among the main characters, with Harvey and Mike's mentee-mentor dynamic arguably at the forefront. But with Rachel and Mike going through a whole lot, it just didn't make sense to break them up, hence, also forcing Adams out of the show. Narrative-wise, the couple has relocated to Seattle where they will start a brand new life. But while it's been a year since they bid goodbye, it was only during Suits' season 8 finale that Markle's link to the show was fully wiped out.
Specter Litt merged with Rachel's father Robert Zane's (Wendell Pierce) law firm at the beginning of season 8, paving the way to introduce Katherine Heigl's new character Samantha Wheeler. But aside from that, keeping Robert as a recurring character in Suits even after her daughter's departure gave a sense that Mike and Rachel really just relocated with the possibility of still returning. In season 8, Robert being heavily involved in Zane Specter Litt Wheeler Williams allows the show to periodically talk about the couple - something that was expected to continue moving forward.
Robert was forced to retire to save the firm in the Suits season 8 finale, effectively scrubbing the show any traces of Markle and Rachel. In a narrative turn very similar to how Torres' Jessica Pearson was written out of the series, Robert took the blame for Harvey supposedly breaking privilege that would've resulted in him losing his license and his name off the wall during the Ethics Hearing requested by Daniel Hardman (David Costabile). Justifying this move, Suits simultaneously revealed that Robert had been burdened by the thought playing a part of the murder of Samantha's mugger in jail years ago when he sent him to prison. And in some odd way, saving Harvey relieves him of the emotional toll of this secret.
With Robert no longer practicing law, there's no reason for him to hang around Specter Litt Wheeler Williams, which means that the show no longer has any concrete link to Rachel. And without her father, there's no direct connection to the Rosses in Seattle and very little chance of any characters hearing anything about the newly-weds.
Suits season 9 will be the final year for the show, so a return of one half of the couple is still possible; while Markle is highly unlikely to return to Suits, Adams is open to reprising his role. It's not hard to imagine the show bringing him back for a final hurrah with Harvey. And since Torres' upcoming spin-off, Pearson is also debuting later this year, there's a good chance that she pays another visit to New York, inching fans to possibly the closest we can get to a complete reunion before the show goes off the air for good.
Suits season 9 and Pearson will air later this year on USA Network.