‘Suits’ exclusive: Creator Aaron Korsh on season 6, Mike’s prison stay, and the firm’s future

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On Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, “Suits” is beginning its sixth season with an episode featuring many of its characters in uncharted waters. Mike Ross will still be serving time following the plea at the end of last season, while Harvey, Louis, and Jessica are left to survey the field on an empty firm. It’s an uncertain time, but also an exciting one.

With that in mind, it was certainly also exciting to talk about what you can expect to see moving forward with none other than creator / executive producer Aaron Korsh. Take a look at our interview below, and check back tomorrow for an exclusive take on one of the big events from the premiere.

CarterMatt – With some other shows, the obvious temptation would be to put in some sort of time jump over Mike in prison. What made you want to avoid that?

Aaron Korsh – A couple of things went into it. I actually think it would have been for me, harder to do a time jump. You still have to come up with everything that happened between now and then, but you don’t get to show it and then you gotta come up with new stuff.

For me, I want to know what happened in Mike’s first night in prison. I didn’t want to skip over that, and that for me led to ideas. What is his first night in prison going to be like, and what do these people [in Harvey, Donna, and Louis] do after they show up and everybody’s gone? It made it easier to not do the time jump, and also separately as me being a fan of my own show and a writer, I didn’t want to skip over [it]. The point of him going to prison for me was that it was a big thing. For me to skip over that as a big fan would have been dissatisfying.

So it was a two-fold thing: I wanted to see it, and I do know that a lot of minds would have gone to a time jump. It was certainly discussed, but for me my mind just doesn’t go that way. For me it was easier to tackle the emotion of the things that happened in 516 [the most recent finale] immediately.

How is Mike going to be able to handle some of his time in prison, and are some of the problems he faces psychological, mental, or physical?

Moving forward, Mike is going to have I would say physical, mental, and psychological challenges in prison. That’s what it would be like, I can only imagine. I’m hoping I’m never in that situation in prison (laughs), but I can imagine there being challenges … I can’t imagine if I was locked up in prison for two years, how much I would miss my loved ones. That has to be an emotional challenge, and not being in control of your day, such as when you wake up or when you go to bed. These are incredibly taxing things, let alone having conflict with your fellow inmates. It’s like he is going to war, I would almost say.

Is there a way in which his training and the time in which he spent at Person Specter Litt will help him there? Obviously he learned how to fit in a world where he doesn’t quite belong, and here he is in another world where he may feel that same way. Yet, there are many other people there who are also BS artists and possess many of the same skills.

One of the things that happens in prison the first night that he is confronted with is that this is a place where there are people who are more like him than he cares to contemplate. They are more like him in terms of what they’ve done. Inside Mike may think of himself as a good person, and inside I don’t disagree with him, but on the other hand he did commit this thing. He’s probably more like them than he thinks, and then also less like them than the counselor in the prison thinks.

The answer to your question is both a ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ In some ways he’s clearly able to use his intelligence and wits and his resources, but also the people he is in prison with are not the same as the people who he is in Pearson Specter Lett with, so he’s got added challenges.

For Harvey, how is he handling some of the choices Mike made when the show picks back up?

When we come back and it’s the first night, I think Harvey’s not regretting what Mike did or lamenting that he did it, I think he’s just missing his friend. I think that’s the overriding thing, but as the season goes on and Mike encounters more difficulties in prison, more challenges, Harvey’s guilt and regret and sense that he wishes he could be in there instead of Mike is going to drive his behavior more. That’s somewhat of Harvey’s journey over the course of the season.

I really enjoy that you have now Harvey, Louis, and Jessica in this position of underdogs. How are they going to handle that, and are we going to see them out on recruiting missions trying to rebuild?

I think they’re dealing with the situation in front of them. I think the first night is sort of about them deciding if they want to come together as a family to maintain this thing, and it’s really just the five of them, basically. They could all leave; it’s really a voluntary choice. If the firm dies, they’re not going to go to jail. They’re not going to be penniless. They can all survive. I think the first night is deciding if they want to stick together. And I think once they do that, they have to do the next thing, the lawsuit, and the partners all wanting their money back. They’re going to combine these two problems and use them against each other. If and when they get through that, they have to deal with the fact that they are in these offices that are empty, and you don’t want to present these offices. That’s the deal with maybe landing a new client. These are all things that are involved in them picking themselves up by their bootstraps, and that’s kind of their challenge for the course of the season.

I think this is a broad question, but how will Donna factor in to what is going on with the name partners, as they work to try to get something back?

I always think of Donna in my mind as the glue that keeps the firm together. I honestly believe that if Donna was not in this office, these people would explode apart … Sometimes [she helps them] with humor, sometimes she does it with tough love, sometimes she does it with gentle love, but she’s always there for the people. That’s her natural way, and I think she very much keeps them together, and not just from an emotional standpoint. I think as we progress, she from a professional standpoint comes up with a few fixes, and she also reminds people that they all decided to stick together, and now is the time to put their money where their mouth is.

Are you at the point in the show where you’re starting to figure out what Mike’s post-prison future is?

The good news is, and I’m not being cagey, but I honestly don’t know what we’re going to do (laughs). Obviously he’s not going to be in prison for the run of the series, and we absolutely need to figure out what is going to happen to Mike when he gets out of prison. That’s something we’re really just starting to lock in on now.

You’ve probably been asked this many times, but another really big USA show in ‘Royal Pains’ just ended, and you guys are working on season 6. Are you starting to plan more with a specific endgame in mind for these characters? Or, do you think more ‘I’ll get there when I get there’?

My philosophy is usually a ‘get there when I get there.’ I do contemplate it and notions do pop into my mind and I do feel like somewhere in the back of my mind it’s working on that problem, but in my mind obviously we’re going to do 16 episodes for season 6. If I’m a betting man, we’re going to do 16 in season 7. So, that means I got from where fans [left off], 32 more episodes still to go. It’s very hard for me to see that far into the future. That’s at least! We could have a season 8 conceivably.

It’s not too soon for me to start thinking about it in a vague sense, but it’s much to soon to start thinking about it in a specific sense because my brain just doesn’t work like that.

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