‘Suits’: Season 1 DVD review

Set in the world of corporate law, Suits is a smart and stylish American import that has been doing the numbers for Dave.

In order to enjoy this show, you need to cope with one rather preposterous conceit; that a young pot-smoking college dropout with an eidetic memory, but who has not actually been to law school, could pass himself off as a rookie lawyer in a law firm where everyone else is a Harvard graduate. Once you swallow this, prepare for a highly enjoyable ride.

Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) enters the cutthroat corporate offices of Pearson Hartman as a junior associate. He is a little naïve and perhaps lacks the killer instinct, but makes up for it with his sharp wits and feats of memory.

Mike’s professional life runs parallel with a complex personal situation centring on a fractious relationship with duplicitous best friend Trevor (Tom Lipniski) and some pretty heavy chemistry with Trevor’s girlfriend Jenny (Damages star Vanessa Gray).

Suave Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) on the other hand is an experienced ‘closer’, a poker faced legal bigwig at the top of his game. A master manipulator with balls of steel and an ego to match, Harvey is the hard-headed lawyer parachuted in to the final stages of a complex business deal or merger, providing the leverage to ensure a client gets the best possible deal.

Using whatever means are necessary and often operating on the fringes of legality, Harvey is cool, devious and ruthless. Resisting the need for an apprentice at all, he takes a change on Ross as he spies a person able to think on his feet and keep up, as opposed to all the dreary Harvard Law School clones on offer.

Soon immersed in the twin worlds of corporate law and office politics, Mike is instantly enamoured by the gorgeous but distant paralegal Rachael Zane (Meghan Markle). He also takes on the role of whipping boy for the office politics of Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman), fellow partner and Harvey’s bitter rival.

In addition, there is the firm’s intimidating boss to deal with, the fiercely impressive Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres of Firefly and Angel), as well as a host of other junior associates envious of his position as Harvey’s chosen one.

With razor sharp wit and smart dialogue that is highly film and TV literate, this is comedy-drama with a heart. Suits strikes a good balance between some cracking legal ‘case of the week’ plots and an ongoing story that provides plenty of twists and turns.

The charismatic central paring grows across the series into a working relationship of mutual respect. Ross is smart enough to call his superior on bad decisions and his apparently emotionless attitude to the work. Harvey, for his part, learns to trust the younger man’s empathic instincts as well as his own.

While it is difficult to find fault in the casting, as there are impressive performances across the board, the standout star is undoubtedly Gabriel Macht. Harvey Specter is a terrifically well-judged creation; steely but likeable, edgy and yet capable of great generosity. His easy rapport with hyper-efficient PA Donna, an almost other worldly Sarah Rafferty, is a joy to watch and ripe for future development.

Cult TV viewers can look forward to a few treats, with guest appearances from former Star Trek franchise regulars Tim Russ (Voyager’s Tuvok) and John Billingsley (Enterprise’s Dr Phlox). In a later episode, there is also a fantastic turn from Gary Cole (American Gothic, The West Wing) as Harvey’s former boss, a shady District Attorney out to protect his legacy at Harvey’s expense.

With a second series of sixteen episodes in production, the future of Suits looks bright.

Extras: The set’s primary extra is an alternate cut of the pilot episode, which suffered a few trims for the American market. It comes complete with a commentary track, as does the final episode, Dog Fight, featuring Patrick J. Adams (Mike), Gabriel Macht (Harvey), creator/writer Aaron Korsh and producer David Bartis. In both cases, the commentaries provide a wealth of behind the scenes titbits and plenty of discussion on the differences between the New York shot pilot the subsequent Toronto made series.

Deleted scenes are included for eight episodes showcasing a few nice character beats and moments, though most are fairly insubstantial except for a rather wonderful scene in Episode 11 where Donna crosses Harvey. In addition, there is a four-minute blooper montage featuring the usual line-slips and general silliness.

Released on DVD on Monday 30th April 2012 by Universal Pictures UK.

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