Friday, September 2, 2011


I will be the first to admit I watch entirely too much television.  I don’t know why.  For a long time, I barely watched any prime-time tv.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve just started watching more and more.  In this age of the DVR, I can watch even more.  I seldom watch anything live other than sporting events.  Skipping commercials quickly and easily makes watching recorded programs an enjoyable pastime for me. 

Recently, I have tried to be more selective in the shows I chose to watch.  I am much quicker now to give up on programs I find mediocre instead of trying to wait them out until they improve, which they usually don’t.  There are some networks, like FX and USA, in which I will give whatever programs they roll out a chance.  Why?  Because they seldom miss.  Very few, if any duds, show up on their schedules.

While I did not sample every new show aired this summer, I did watch several new programs.  Funnily, I watched none of the shows aired on the big four networks, only cable.  While I have been entertained, two programs really stood out to me as quality productions.  One was TNT’s Falling Skies, which ended much too quickly and I didn’t get around to writing a review for it.  The other is Suits (USA, Thursdays, 9 p.m. CST).  While it has a rather flimsy initial premise, it has improved steadily throughout its first season.

That original premise was that dapper law shark, Harvey Specter hires young Mike Ross as an associate at his law firm.  The problem is that Ross never attended law school.  Ross is a real, if not naïve, brainiac and did pass the bar exam.  In fact, Ross made a career out of taking exams for others to get them into law school but could not afford the luxury himself.  On top of all that, Specter’s firm only hires Harvard Law grads.  I am in no way qualified to answer this question but it needs to be asked.  If someone can pass the bar exam, is he or she still considered a lawyer, even if they did not go to law school?  I don’t know but if anyone does know, please answer it for me in the comments.

Despite this very shaky premise, the show works.  I’m not sure but I think the show’s producers may have thought Mike Ross, portrayed with a wide-eyed innocence by Patrick J. Adams, would be the break out character.  While Ross is a fun and very likable character, there is a small problem with him.  For such a smart guy, he sometimes shows very little common sense and way too much naivety.  In my opinion, the real breakout star is Gabriel Macht.  His Harvey Specter is deep and mysterious, almost like a modern day Don Draper (Madmen) minus the womanizing.  Specter is driven to win and to do it without considering the people involved in whatever case he is working on.  Ross, his protégé, gets too involved but excels at bringing out Specter’s deep consciousness.  Macht is by no means a well know actor but I love his quiet, arrogant, competitive portrayal of Specter and I think he makes the show. 

Veteran Rick Hoffman plays Specter’s co-worker and chief rival, Louis Litt, who also has it in for Specter’s shadow, Mike Ross.  Hoffman seems to enjoy his role as the smarmy attorney who serves as the office villain week in and week out because he shines.  A trio of beautiful actresses fills out the regular cast.  Gina Torres is Jessica Pearson, the boss, Meghan Markle as the legal assistant who causes sparks of sexual tension with Ross, and Sarah Rafferty as Specter’s all knowing and wise personal assistant.  All three do a fine a job and their characters have been slowing developed as the season has progressed, giving each some nice depth.

The writing has been better than some of the writing I’ve seen on other summer shows.  Their development of Harvey Specter has been very patient as layers have been added to his character.  It seems as if they realized Specter was the most intriguing character about halfway through the first season and more and more of the focus is being directed to that role.  The weekly plot lines don’t seem ridiculous (like, for instance Franklin & Bash) but again, I am no legal expert.  The actors don’t seem to be forcing the dialogue and seem very comfortable in their scenes.  The cast chemistry also is real and unforced. 

There are many directions this show can go.  Both Specter’s and Ross’ back stories could easily lead to suspenseful story lines in season two.  Suits uses good acting and good writing to give us more welcome characters from USA.  I look for this promising series to give me several seasons of entertainment.  Season one wraps up next week but I will eagerly await its return next summer.  Now if only NBC could match its daughter network in airing likable and entertaining programming, viewers would be happy.

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