When it comes to strong female presences on television, one need not look further than USA’s Suits. Over the years, the show has consistently delivered some truly great work in the form of Pearson Specter Litt boss, Jessica, and consistently evolving paralegal-turned-associate, Rachel.
Now, in a new interview, actresses Gina Torres and Meghan Markle took some time to explain what makes the two of them tick in season 5 of the show.
Concerning whether or not there’s a place Torres has yet to take Jessica on screen, the actress explained:
I think Jessica’s role on the show is really quite specific, and it seems to me that audiences rely on her to be big mama – hold it down as much as she can considering she has all these varied and incredibly strong personalities to deal with – and doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for her personal life, as we saw so miserably and sadly play out last season. To bring somebody into this chaos that has become this firm since the beginning of the show, there’s a lot that she has to keep close to the vest, so who does she get close to? It’s challenging. Just [because of] the dynamic and paradigm that’s been set up on this show, I think it’s incredibly challenging for us to see too much more of Jessica without really compromising the show and the track it’s on.
Following the major twist of last season’s finale that saw Donna leave Harvey as his secretary to go work for Louis, Torres elaborated on how much leeway Jessica’s going to be willing to give him for his new state-of-mind before she’s forced to lay down the law on him.
Well we wouldn’t have too much of a show if I stopped him too soon. I think you’re going to see a lot play out. We’re gonna get a lot closer to him and his back story. We’re gonna learn a lot more. I think there’s room for that. We have to create room for that, which makes it interesting. I like to believe what keeps bringing the audience back is that we get to peak into all the characters just a little deeper every season, and we’re going to get to learn a little more about Harvey [this year]. As far as Jessica goes, you’ll get that soon. You’ll get [to see Jessica come down on Harvey], because she doesn’t stop being who she is, which is, first and foremost, the head of this firm. If you’re putting my firm in jeopardy, then something’s gotta happen.
As for whether or not Jessica is finally going to start playing ball with Mike after having his secret be such a burden on her since season two, Torres stated:
Yes and no. We all have to get on with it, but he completely screwed up everything, and it’s not even his fault. Again, what I love about this show is there aren’t really any good guys and bad guys, there’s just people with veracious appetites for law, and life, and sex. They’re just all in this office, and Mike’s a good guy who’s in an impossible situation, and Harvey’s kind of a dick who’s being forced to sort of confront his humanity, which he kind of tries to keep on the back burner. [Even Louis], the guy that you love to hate, it’s so impossible last season how he survived it – by making us laugh, clearly. And Jessica, who’s made deals with herself, with her morality, with her righteousness and everything she believes is good just to get to that freaking corner office. She can’t just let that go, so these are all things where there are no easy choices here. There are no simple characters here. There’s no easy way out, and part of the fun is [seeing] Jessica figure out how she gets ahead of the game to stop this fire from moving any further. How does she keep that corner office and not get a corner cell with a girlfriend?
Of course, that does lead one to wonder just how far the capacity of Jessica’s forgiveness stretches. How many more terrible things can the team do to her before she’s had enough?
Is it forgiveness, or is it the long game? I really think it’s just about the long game. I think she forgets nothing. I think she “forgives” to a degree in her own way, to get it done. But I’ve said it before, she’s got a body or two buried somewhere. It’s not beyond her. She’s a thinker, and a strategist, and it’s coming up again. I’ve said it before, ambition isn’t a bad thing. Unless you bring a decent fight to her she’s not going to respect you, and this is part of what excites her. Putting the puzzle together and then tearing it apart is who she is, so in terms of whether or not there’s something [the team] could do that’s unforgivable, I don’t think, at this moment in time, there’s a situation that exists she doesn’t think she can’t get herself out of. She expects them to act out. She expects them to make mistakes, that’s why she has to be ahead of the game. Although it may seem like, at times, she’s not.
As for whether Meghan Markle is worried at all about having Rachel’s storyline so tied into her new fiancé that she doesn’t get any time to herself, the actress said:
This season, there’s so much more of Rachel specifically with Harvey – which has been so much fun – and you have to think about five seasons of doing this. Much of the scenes I’ve done have been with [Mike], and of course there’s some with [Louis] or [Donna], but other than that, it’s been really few and far between that I’ve gotten to work with [Harvey]. So with their storyline - she’s really functioning as his associate this season – it’s actually been really refreshing to play into [all of Rachel’s other dynamics] separate from the Rachel and Mike love story.
As for whether or not working for Harvey is going to interfere with the rest of Rachel’s life, Markle explained:
[Working for Harvey’s] going to convolute things in a lot of ways because Mike and Harvey have such a close relationship and shorthand with each other, and now that Rachel’s stepping into those shoes, it’s going to spill into their home life. Also, Rachel’s really making choices to help Harvey in ways we haven’t seen her make choices before. So I think it could definitely create some questions for Mike about Rachel.
Considering her new role as Harvey’s associate, there is a lingering question now of how much Rachel is going to be willing to put up with from Harvey. Does she have a breaking point?
I think Rachel is a Zane, so there’s a huge element of her personality type that’s just not willing to cave. We saw last season that she’s hospitalized because she tries to do it all. I think, with Harvey, the idea of her failing or giving up is just not in the cards for her. What you do see, though, is Mike going to bat for Rachel with Harvey, and saying to him, ‘step off,’ or, ‘take it easy.’ So, I think, because that’s always present, I don’t see a version of it where Rachel ever gives up. Also, there’s a lot of this season where we see her being mentored by Jessica, so by series end, I can’t wait to see it be Pearson Spector Litt Zane.
As for whether Rachel and Jessica will develop the kind of relationship Harvey and Mike have, Markle answered:
It’s really sort of becoming that. It’s sort of short hand, and also that sort of easy report. I think what we saw in the flashback from last season, where Rachel has her first job interview with Jessica, is that she’s so intimidated at the onset, and now you get to see this comfort level from a professional standpoint, as well as personal. They talk a lot about relationships with their dads and love lives, so it’s breaking through a different way where I think we could really see something happen there.
On whether or not Donna will rely on Rachel much in the coming season, the actress stated:
No. It’s a bummer [because I don’t get to work with Sarah], but from a storyline perspective, I think Donna’s character is involved with being there for Louis, and there’s residual stuff with Harvey, so you see some of it and how it affects their friendship. But it would be great to see that playfulness with the two of them again because it’s such good banter.
Then, finally, concerning whether Rachel’s loyalty lies more with the firm or Mike at this point, Markle elaborated:
The one thing I love about playing Rachel is she’s so driven and ambitious that, I think, part of what makes her attractive to Mike is that she’s chosen the trajectory that she wants, and being in love is something that’s a beautiful part of her life but would never throw her from [the end game]. The stakes are really high, and a lot of things could happen to Mike. So, I think, she’s smart enough to know she can’t really let anything go off kilter with what her plan is for herself. Something happens [this season] where you really get to see where she stands with her belief in her relationship with Mike, and he’s actually the one that softens a bit. It’s episode two or three. It’s the episode where Robert Zane comes back.
Suits season 5 premieres June 24th, 2015 at 9/8c on USA.
Click here to see what Sarah Rafferty And Rick Hoffman had to say about the status of Donna and Louis' relationship heading season 5.