SUITS: Patrick Adams Talks the Ramifications of Mike Ross’ Secret Getting Out (2012)

For those who watched the 2nd season premiere of SUITS, a lot happened in that mind-blowing episode.  For one, Mike’s secret is officially out with the firm’s managing partner Jessica Pearson.  However, due to the sudden return of former MIA name-partner Daniel Hardman, it forces Jessica into playing the charade that Mike Ross is a bonafide attorney at their firm lest it give Hardman ammunition in his strategic take-down of Harvey and Jessica.  The episode also officially opened the door to the Mike/Rachel relationship when Mike’s girlfriend kicks him to the curb.  During a recent set visit, star Patrick J. Adams previewed what is coming up next for Mike Ross and the volatile law office of Pearson Hardman.

“Suits”

Mike’s fate definitely starts out as part of the first season cliffhanger and then we jump right back into things. Can you talk about Mike’s journey for this season with the firm and with his love life?

PATRICK: This season, well, we’re just figuring it out. I mean right now we’re on episode two — we’re shooting 205 and 206 in different orders. So right now Mike’s journey is picking up right where we left off. After the first episode, you get the impression that Jessica’s going to kind of let Mike stick around and now she’s on Mike and Harvey’s team because they need to keep themselves safe from Hardman. So now that they have Hardman there and Jessica’s on Mike and Harvey’s side, I think for a little while we feel safe in this world.  The stakes of Mike getting kicked out kind of settle for a bit because we know we have a stronger team with Jessica on our side. Then as we head down this path, there’s a great story line with Harvey and him dealing with this past thing that’s coming up to haunt him again.  So we all kind of rallying around him and Mike’s spending a lot of time just being an associate for the first few episodes and doing what he can to help him out. Then the love-life – Mike’s personal life — I think, comes into a little clearer focus in the first few episodes. There’s his grandma. Grammy’s coming back and he’s spending more time with her, which I’m happy about. It’s a really important element for Mike.  And the love-life heats up a little bit, but I won’t speak too much to the specifics. As you saw, Jenny dumps him and walks away. So that’s happened. She’s on her way out. It obviously leaves some room for something else to potentially to be happening and heating up. But it’s nice because, obviously with any office romance, there’s going to be trouble.  So it’s not like we can just jump right into a relationship with Rachel. There’s all sorts of conflicts of interest.

Now that Jessica knows Mike’s secret, is that something that she’s going to be holding over Mike’s head for the whole season?

PATRICK: I think in the first few episodes they have to deal with this Harvey-situation.  That needs dealing with because the whole firm is at risk about it. So they really need to all rally behind that to make sure that they can get it dealt with. That being said, it’s never far from it. There’s this relationship that Mike always has with Jessica on the show, where every time he’s in a room and she walks in, he bolts out the other door. Now it’s funny because we have this different relationship after the first episode, but we haven’t had a ton of scenes together, so it’s still there. It’s like she still walks in a room, and it’s like: “Are we friends? Are we cool? No?”  I think maybe it’s in episode 202 there’s a great scene where we bump into each other and that Mike thinks that maybe they are friends and it’s like they’re not friends. Mike is still the guy who’s in her law firm that is that’s lied and cheated his way there. So I think there’s always going to be an interesting relationship there and a struggle for Mike to impress her — even though she’s accepted him for the time being.  It’s only because she was strong-armed into it. This is not something that she would have chosen to do and therefore Mike can still get into a lot of trouble with her. I think we’re not done dealing with it. It’s just that she’s sort of accepted Mike for now because Harvey did his Harvey thing and manipulated all the pieces of the board so that Mike could stick around and not get taken out by the queen. But eventually, if it comes down to it, I get the impression she’d get rid of Mike if it’s gonna be good for the firm.

“Suits”

With Jessica knowing Mike’s secret, how do you make sense of who he has to be this season?

PATRICK: We’re still figuring it out. Like the stakes have changed, because she knows, but like not really.  So there’s some safety.  There’s like a new safety blanket on it. But in a way the stakes are higher because now she knows. I think for me, we’re not spending a lot of time playing those stakes right up front because we’ve got this big case coming. But I think Mike has to get to the point where he accepts that this is his situation now and he has to do his best job on a day-to-day basis. Just like me doing the show, it’s like he’s got so much work to do.  He’s up all night, he’s working on these things, he’s working on these cases.  He can’t spend time worrying too much about the things that he has no control over. So I don’t know a better answer than that. I think he’s always operating under massive pressure and he’s getting better and better at working under pressure because he’s learning how to move pieces around — and Harvey is teaching him “don’t worry about that, you can’t control that now, we got to focus on this.” I think that he deals with each problem as it comes up and I think eventually that problem’s really going to come back and we’re going to have to get very creative.  I mean I’m fighting to see that this is always dealt with. If we’re lucky enough to go 3, 4, 5 or 6 seasons I think that people need an answer to that situation. So I think everybody is on board that we don’t want to keep that going forever, that it needs to be answered, and we need to deal with it. But for right now there’s a lot of the daily law thing that we need to focus on.

As far as Mike and Hardman, they both kind of have a con-man mentality. Are they going to use Mike in that capacity to be their inside-guy to kind of take down Hardman?

PATRICK: I don’t know. I hope so. That’d be cool. Sure. We don’t know when all of that stuff is still coming to head. We have a lot of stuff to read.  Even if I knew, you wouldn’t want me to tell you anyway.  But I can say that Mike and Hardman have some interesting stuff together and obviously the biggest threat to all of them, besides this sort of case that we’re dealing with that is came back to haunt Harvey, is the fact that I exist, that I’m here, that I’m in these hallways. So I’m like this ticking “time bomb” that if Hardman, who’s a very smart, shrewd, incredible lawyer, if he has the opportunity could blow us all up and take over everything.  I’m the key to all that so they have to protect me. But at the same time, he’s a great lawyer. We haven’t had any scenes yet where Hardman is like an awful person. He’s such a great actor too. So, again, it’s not he’s not coming in and being the terrible guy. In fact, he seems like the nice guy. He’s dealing with some serious life issues. And again, we just kind of skirt that issue where it’s never quite one thing or the other. It’s not like he’s Darth Vader and we all just want to destroy him. I mean he might actually be in the right. Let’s face it: Mike didn’t go to law school.  He’s a liar.  He’s in this office in a capacity that is not entirely legal. So I think there’ll be a lot of interactions there as far as how I’ll be used to take him out. I don’t know. We’ll see.

“Suits”

What can you share about what’s next with Mike and Rachel?

PATRICK: Hot. Yeah, it’s on. [Laughs] Then it’s off. Then it’s on. Then it’s off. I hope it’s on. They’re writing a ton of good stuff this season. I’m really happy with that particular storyline this season. I don’t want to go into too many specifics, but they’re not shying away from it. I know that from what they’ve seen of what we’ve shot. I know that Aaron had some ideas about it.  Listen, we all watch TV. We all know that this like relationship that you love and you covet and you want them together, but you don’t want them together too fast because then they’re together, and then what? It’s like you’ve got to find that perfect timing in life when two people can come together and it actually works. It’s not rushed, but it’s not too late – and they’re doing it I think really pitch-perfectly. I think they’re building it in a high stakes environment, like this relationship’s a hard thing to make work and I think that these two characters are so interested in one another, but they don’t want to forfeit what they’ve worked so hard to attain.  Especially for Mike.  He’s in a difficult situation because he didn’t attain this in the typical way and he can’t share that with anybody. So that’s going to create a lot of conflict in him to be able to enter into a really loving true relationship with someone if he is kind of all based on a lie. But the writing for it has been terrific and I think they had an idea of where it is supposed to go this season.  But just by virtue of the chemistry that Meghan and I have and the scenes they’ve already seen shot, I’m getting a lot of response like, “Jesus, we can’t drag this out for too long. It’ll be a problem.” So I think they don’t actually even really know. I think that they’re kind of scrambling to figure out the best way to see that this happens. But there’s no rush about it.  I’m excited to take my time because it’s those scenes that are the best to play — those conflicting like “what’s going to happen? Oh, I want this, but we can’t have it because of this” and I think those are the most fun. And once we’re together you guys will look for another couple anyway. It’s the, “Oh, they’re together. Who’s next?”  And that’ll be Louis and Jessica or something.  [Laughs]

How long before Trevor’s betrayal is dealt with?

PATRICK: So nothing happened with him in the premiere, right? Not long. It’s going to come to a head obviously. I mean he really betrayed Mike’s trust and I think that if there’s one thing that I’m screamed at on the street about most often it’s to get rid of that Trevor guy. So we definitely deal with it coming up. There’s a good scene coming up with Mike and him, and obviously something’s coming to come out of that. Hopefully the fans will be pleased. I’m not sure. There’s some people who love him. I mean I love him. Tom Lipinksi and I have the best time in the world. So it’s hard because everybody hates him or loves him.

Have you ever had someone like Trevor in your life?

PATRICK: Yeah, I’ve had plenty of bad influences in my life. It’s hard. But he’s Mike’s only friend. Mike obviously has a lot of trust issues, and that’s a lot of fun for me as an actor to play. But I think it leaves him ultimately very lonely. So you’ve got a character who doesn’t have anybody in his corner and even though he’s a really unhealthy influence, it’s the one guy he’s got. So I think that’s why he’s holding on to him. But as Mike’s getting more confident and becoming a new person and growing up a little bit, he’s going to have to realize that this guy is bad news.

“Suits”

Does Mike and Harvey’s relationship transform any further this season?

PATRICK: It’s as if we’re fighting for constant transformation and evolution. I think that’s what keeps things interesting. There’s two things always going on: there’s a deepening of friendship — I think the mentor thing becomes more of a mutual respect. In the first season, Mike was falling all over himself a lot, dropping files and not figuring it out. I think in this season, Mike’s becoming a little bit more confident in what he can do and what he is capable of and he sees that.  That gives me more to do on my own hopefully moving down the road. At the same time I think there’s going to be an evolution of conflict between Harvey’s way of winning and Mike’s way of winning. I’ve always thought of Mike as like a moral character in an immoral world. Like you’re sitting in like a corporate law firm and corporate law firms are not always participating in the most moral behavior. So I think eventually he’s gonna have to come up against that.  Mike’s always struggling with how to remain moral and keep this compass that he has strong.  It’s what makes him who he is and at the same time, it allows him to follow his dreams of becoming a lawyer and being successful and doing well in this firm.  I think there’s always going to be a really interesting struggle there — to keep what is him, but at the same time try to impress Harvey and do well and come up in this world.  So that is going to deepen our relationship and sometimes have to separate it because even in the first season we had a lot of moments where it put us on two sides of the fence.  Like where Mike said, “I don’t want to be your kind of lawyer, I don’t want to be you all those moments.” I think that’s always going to be an element of the relationship.

In season 2, we see Harvey step up and have Mike’s back. I was curious about the loyalty that’s developing between these two characters and if that was tested down the road.  Like how you think Mike would act if Mike were in a situation where it was maybe his job, his future or loyalty to Harvey?

PATRICK: It’s a good question.  I don’t know. I mean it’s a complicated relationship.  It’s a complex relationship. I get the impression that we’re getting to the point where they’re both just so embedded into each other’s lives. They’re involved in each other’s lives for better or worse now that it’s kind of like, if one goes down, the other goes down. Like it or not.  That being said, I think they like it. I think that they have found something in each other like a real mentorship, that kind of like there’s a mutually beneficially sort of symbiosis going on between these two guys. One is seeing something of himself and he’s getting the pleasure of teaching and bringing along in somebody; and  I’m playing the other side of it, but I imagine when you’re that older guy and you’re getting to share your life’s experience and at the same time learn from witnessing someone young make mistakes that’s great for him; and for me it’s the sole reason why Mike can exist in this place and have become the person that he always dreamed that he could be. So I think that there’s just this mutual investment in one another. Then there’s the legal side of it since now Harvey’s fate is attached to Mike’s. If it got out what Mike has done, then Harvey’s kind of screwed himself. And I think that he’s emboldened by that at this point. Before it was a fear and this season — I’m not sure if there was anything in 201 that indicated it, but it seemed like there was — there’s a change in Harvey to go,
“I’m going to take the bullet for this kid.” Now being Harvey, that’s probably mostly selfish, but that’s why we love him. I think the friendship is definitely deepening though and I think there’s a closeness and I think that the more a side of Mike’s emotional life that we’re kind of exploring this year with Grammy and with Rachel and all those relationships. You’re seeing Harvey get involved in Mike’s personal life. Not involved, but suddenly taking stock in a way that a friend might rather than just a colleague and I think that’s going to help grow that relationship and create something where they really going to look after each other as best they can.

“Suits”

In the premiere we saw Mike actually trying to be a bit of a more serious, hardline corporate lawyer. Is that something that we’re going to see more?

PATRICK: It’s a struggle in this show because there’s so many people and we are lucky enough to have an incredible cast and this year a lot of the people are getting a lot more screen time which we all fought for because we have these incredible women on the show that last year didn’t get showcased enough.  So we’re spending a lot of time with that.  Like, “let’s get them in there more, let’s integrate everybody.” So it’s almost becoming like — I don’t watch a ton of TV — but like a show like LOST where it’s like this is this person’s episode and this is this person’s episode. We kind of have to start shifting it around a little bit and each episode going to be kind of focused, where this person’s going to play more of a role in this episode. So I think Mike’s definitely going to get moments where he gets to be in control and get to be the corporate lawyer and get to do the maneuvering and get to kind of show off how he’s good at what he’s doing. But it has to be picked carefully.  We have to pick and choose. We can’t do it every episode because then what happened last year, which is that you don’t get to see enough of everybody doing their great thing. We’re so lucky to have so much great talent on the show that we have to showcase all of it. So it’s good because this year it’s more specific. I feel like now we’re dealing with Harvey.  We get to see Harvey do what he does best. Then you get to see Louis.  Louis has got a ton of great stuff this season and Rick is one of the most insanely talented guys. I mean one of the most insanely talented guys I’ve ever met.  So he’s getting a ton of great stuff to do this season. And Rachel is coming up at the same time. She’s getting a lot more to do and she’s taking on more responsibility. So all of us are going to get more of that stuff. All of us would love to have it in every single episode. But I did shoot for the first time in our new courtroom set and it was a scene where I was an associate and having to just sit there and watch Harvey be the lawyer and I’m sitting there going, “I want to be the lawyer.” But in this episode we’re shooting now I’m going to have my first sort of lawyer scene in there, so it’s everybody takes their turn.

Speaking of Louis, in the premiere Harvey kind of asks Louis to back off of Mike a little bit. Is that going to stick?

PATRICK: Like I said, they are writing incredible stuff for Rick this season. I think he’s such a great actor and he makes such bold choices and I think the writer’s room and he have synced up in this amazing way where you’re just going to see they’re just going to run with the ball that is Louis now. I mean they’re making some hilarious choices about his character, who he is, and he’s just the kind of guy who can, but you believe anything about Louis if you told him. I mean he just goes so far to the ridiculous. So, as a result, we’re tied together a little bit more. We’re all kind of banding together to make this thing work this season because Hardman comes in and we have this presence that could be potentially threatening to everybody. But obviously Louis kind of walks the thin line between both of those worlds, right? Louis — like there’s a part of him where it’s he could maybe head off towards Hardman, I think. There’s a question of where’s he going to stand on either side? He’s been used and abused by Jessica and Harvey for so long and obviously Mike there kind of as Harvey’s protégé and in that he’s always going to treat Mike with that sort of disrespect. And I think it makes for a lot of really funny, funny scenes. And actually a couple of touching ones.  We had a good episode recently where him and I are kind of paired together for the whole episode and I’m handed off to him — I think as a result of a bet from the first season Harvey never made good on — so that sort of happens coming up this season, too. And I get to sort of connect with him in a different way. So again, it’s not black-or-white. Like the poster says, it’s never going to be “we’re enemies.”  It’s great because we can be enemies one episode then we can be friends the next.

“Suits”

Are we going to see any flashbacks about what happened five years ago? And how is that going to work out?

PATRICK: I hear rumor, but I haven’t read a script. I hear rumor that there’s going to be some sort of flashback situation later on. I don’t know anything about it.  I just know that I’ve heard rumors of it. I do know that they’re toying with the idea of playing with some going back in time a little bit and seeing what happened before the mythology of the show is or go into the mythology of these characters before you actually got to see them. So I’m really excited about it because it would mean we’d get to delve into some interesting Trevor and Jenny stuff and we get to see Harvey, like what it is for him to be a senior partner. So I think it would be fun. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. But I can neither confirm nor deny. I know at this point they’re a conversation.

Will the show revolve more around the stand-alone cases or the drama of the Harvey-Mike dilemma?

PATRICK: The cases — because the show’s just not based around them — I think a lot of the time we find ourselves on set just being like, “Okay, so he wrote the letter to her” and we go, “Okay, we got it.”  It’s like more about the stakes of the game. It is more about like what is happening to the relationship of two people:  the client, and Harvey and I, because of the case. That’s where we spend all of our time really like thinking about it. So we know the details of it.  But the actual details of the law — we love the arguing of it, we love the manipulation, we love the chess playing of it. Harvey’s this master chess player basically and he knows how to move the pieces around; and Mike’s getting really good at it, too, because he was a con man before, like he’s taken the LSAT’s for people and I think that’s why this all works. It’s not because I’m smart and can remember everything in a book; it’s because we think outside the box. We’re the Captain Kirk. We’re like, “Move this around and go over here and nobody will have ever seen that” or just changing the rules of the game in the middle of the game. That’s the stuff that I love playing and I love learning from. I feel like I’m getting better at manipulating everyone in my life –and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. [Laughs]

To see the sticky situation that Harvey finds himself in and how the team rallies around him in his time of crisis, be sure to tune in next week for an all new episode of SUITS on Thursday, June 21st at 10:00 p.m. on USA Network.

Related:

“Fun candid photos from the set of SUITS – Set One”

“Fun candid photos from the set of SUITS – Set Two”

Patrick showing off his photos showcased in Rachel’s office on “Suits” (photo credit: Ben Mark Holzberg)

Patrick Adams giving tour of “Suits” set photo credit: Ben Mark Holzberg)

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