A general ramble about Suits

So season 2 of Suits just started and since season 1 wrapped up, I’ve watched a … lot of The Good Wife, the only other law-driven TV show I keep up with, so inevitably, I’m starting to compare and certain points are coming to relief.

Suits is good. It’s a fun 45-minute TV show. Zippy dialogue. Shot well. Charming actors. But it’s kind of heartless. And soulless. And brainless too. The thing is that I feel it can be more, because the cast is pretty great and I know they can do more with their characters, but the writing is just so flat. This is what a bankruptcy lawyer says when the managing partners need to leverage him for his vote in the office:

“I know I’ve been demoted down to the 16th floor, but bankruptcy is on the rise.”

Might as well have winkwinknudgenudged on screen.

My biggest problem with Suits is two-fold. One: not enough actual law in this. Two: we know nothing about the characters.

Problem #2 is contingent on problem #1. For a network whose tagline is “Characters welcome,” it’s very hard to care about characters on this show, because ultimately we don’t know very much about about them. And since this is a career-driven story, not knowing very much about what they do also puts a damper on things.

I mentioned on Twitter that I didn’t realize this until I watched 60+ episodes of The Good Wife that we almost never see any of the lawyers on Suits go to court. There’s a lot of case prep and maneuvering but nobody ever freaking goes to court. This is sort of ludicrous to me because how are we supposed to know how these characters are as professionals if we don’t see them in the heat of all the action? It’s like if the characters on Grey’s Anatomy constantly talked about their patient’s medical conditions, but never operated or treated, ever. Or if the firefighters on Rescue Me just talked about saving victims and putting out fires incessantly, but we never saw any of it.

This makes me feel like the writers on this show just don’t really want to do their homework on the law. It’s easy to just circumvent the specificities of law if you never really need to write circumstances where things can’t be solved by threatening a client with some fine print that I could’ve pulled out of my ass.

The storyline in Season 2 is starting to veer into the territory of office politics, and it’s really hard to care about office politics that are sortofkindof based on how good of lawyers these guys are. How am I supposed to know that managing partner #1 deserves to keep her top dog spot if I don’t even know how much of a good lawyer she is? How am I supposed to believe that managing partner #2 earned his spot and is a great “closer” if I don’t EVER SEE HIM IN COURT?

The seasons on USA are shorter, but I almost don’t think that should be used as justification as to why character development is so shoddy on Suits because HBO shows are equally as short and their stories are helluva lot more well-written.

For a show that’s supposed to be about Mike Ross AND Harvey Specter, we know almost nothing about Harvey, and maybe just a little too much about Mike. Gabriel Macht is freaking fan-tas-tic so I’m not understanding why the writers have been so vague about his character. I also don’t think that the writers are even smart enough to be intentionally ambiguous so that they can build up a mysterious character.

I’m going to keep watching Suits because it’s fun and the cast is great, but sadly, I foresee it being relegated to background noise.

(Image via Tumblr)

  • Ana

    What do you think about White Collar-also on USA?

    • http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog Amy

      I tried to give it a go — had the eps all ready for a marathon too — but I just couldn’t get into it. The cast, the storyline… :(

  • emma

    yeah i watched a lot of this and i didnt know that it just started up ill read this again when ive watched the s2 ep

  • Mina

    RE going to court: Good Wife is primarily litigation-based, so it’s really part of their job to always go to court while Suis is more corporate-law based, which doesn’t entail going to court as much. It’s all about negotiations, mergers, and acquisitions. That’s also why Harvey’s character is touted as the best closer–coz he’s able to close cases without going to court.

    • http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog Amy

      I stand corrected re: Harvey being a closer, but how exactly he’s a closer never really convinced me he was a great one.

      And re: Suits being more corporate based and hence why they’re never in court…I dunno, so many of their cases in the first season had to do with everyday Joes, so I’m not convinced that’s the reason why they rarely went to court.

      • Mina

        I think it’s him always being right in the end. haha

        And I don’t exactly remember all the cases, but I think most (if not some?) were for corporate clients (or the clients’ corporate interests) on minor matters (along the lines of making the suits go away and not letting them get to court). I think the only time when it was really person v. person was when Harvey went up against the cab driver. I’m not so sure about that though :))

        Corp Law is a bit boring–all about paperwork, technicalities, and making sure the case doesn’t reach court, as opposed to litigation-centric cases. In The Good Wife, you can sometimes hear Alicia say (when she was pulled out of trial or a case that was about to go to trial) that she’s worked on that case for months/years, and suddenly she’s pulled out. Suits focuses on what goes on during those months, while The Good Wife is more about hashing out the controversies in court.

        I haven’t seen/completed the latest season of The Good Wife, though. I think I stopped about halfway through.

        • http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog Amy

          Cool. Thanks for the info. Sheds new light for me to consider going forward in my analysis of Suits, haha.

  • http://tomakunisnumberone.wordpress.com Dianne

    I nodded all the way while reading your post. While I love Suits, I am not blind to its flaws. Still, I can’t go away because of how great the acting is, especially with Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams. The nuance in Adams’ acting when he told Jessica about his parents’ death, gah, I replayed that a lot of times. It’s zippy fin so I’m sticking around. Still, I am mighty excited and thrilled for the narrative conflict we are now facing. Suspending disbelief aside, the firm is under attack! Haha!