OK, I’m guilty.
I binged Suits, the New York City-based legal procedural aka the latest Netflix sensation.
When I first heard that, according to Nielsen, the show had become the most-watched title ever acquired by a streaming service, I smirked.
When it aired from 2011 to 2019, on what was the most basic of basic cable, the USA Network, I watched a few seasons and got bored. In addition, my husband Neil, an attorney for four decades, refused to sit and watch it, yet would walk through the living room long enough to yell at the TV things like, “That would never happen in a deposition,” “Why is no one objecting?” and “If anyone did that, the judge would declare a mistrial.”
This time though, I went the distance and realized that in these troubled times for our country in general, and our city in particular, Suits offers pure comic relief.
Allow me to share the most LOL highlights.
Your Secret’s Safe With Me.
Almost 30 years ago, my last full-time staff position was at an ad agency that occupied all but three floors of a 32-story skyscraper. If at the beginning of the day, a gossip-worthy situation occurred on 2, by lunchtime time, the story had already made its way to the folks on 29.
Hence, I could hardly catch my breath as I guffawed at how everyone at Pearson Specter Litt (just one of the firm’s many name configurations) as well as half of New York remained tight-lipped about the secret identity of Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams): he was a bike messenger with a photographic memory whose side hustle was taking other’s LSATs before he began masquerading as a Harvard Law educated associate-cum-junior partner. Shhhhh.
Whose Office Is It Anyway?
Imagine a four-year-old whose job awareness is parents who #WFH in sweats asking, “Daddy, is that what work used to look like in olden times?”
The hustle and bustle in the PSL hallways and reception area rival that of (what once was) the Manhattan streets below with the frantic receptionist having to put nine callers on hold before pressing the top button to start answering/transferring calls; people bursting into colleagues’ offices questioning an assignment, airing a gripe, or sharing a “You won’t believe what I just heard” tidbit; and a packed conference room of executives sitting elbow-to-elbow tapping their pens on their legal pads.
And everyone is dressed to the nines. The staff wears bespoke suits and formfitting designer dresses, super-secretary Donna Paulson (Sarah Rafferty) has a Birkin, and managing partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) is always ready for a “Vogue” photo shoot.
Perhaps people would want to #RTO if this were how glamorous most offices actually were.
And For My Next Trick
We all “know a guy” who can perhaps get us a good deal on something or slip our resume to someone. The average person, though, facing adversity such as being laid off or finding themselves alone after a breakup or in some kind of financial straits feels the pain of being knocked down, then picks themselves up and starts again often from scratch and on their own steam.
Every time someone on Suits gets in a jam—a job or client loss, a deal gone south, a peer or partner pulling a fast one, or even Mike Ross navigating prison after turning himself in—at the last minute, they pull a rabbit out of their hat; not the little floppy-eared kind, but a giant, basket-carrying Easter bunny.
They don’t just “know a guy,” they always know the guy who owes them a favor, can be blackmailed or bribed, or with whom they can trade monumental, big money favors, and then they’re back on top—such as when famed closer Harvey Spector (Gabriel Macht) pulls a tangled mess of strings to get his protégé’s sentence commuted and offers Mike an opportunity to return to the firm in his former role as a partner, plus—the cherry on top—Mike gets admitted to the Bar. I’d object, but it’s all too ridiculous.
My verdict: Suits is better the second time around, as long as you watch it with a sense of humor.
Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of three novels, the latest titled “The Last Single Woman in New York City.”