On June 23, 2011, USA Network debuted a law drama called Suits, originally named A Legal Mind. Aaron Korsh, a former sitcom writer, created a show about a college dropout named Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) who passed the bar exam but didn’t have a law degree. He stumbled into an interview with Pearson Specter Litt partner Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) who, despite knowing Ross’s secret, hired him as an associate, based on his ability to memorize law facts, and also wanting to give him a second chance at life.
Over the course of nine seasons, Suits transformed into “a relationship show disguised as a legal drama,” and focused on the bromance between Mike and Harvey. Future Duchess Meghan Markle played Rachel Zane, Mike’s fiancée/co-worker. The long-running show was not only one of USA’s top-rated shows, but also one of cable’s highest-rated programs.
On August 30, 2017, the show hit a milestone of 100 episodes. Eight months later, on April 25, 2018, Markle left the series when the network aired a two-hour season finale featuring Mike and Rachel’s wedding. (Markle’s real-life wedding, to Prince Harry, occurred on May 19, 2018.) Dulé Hill and Katherine Heigl joined the cast for the eighth and ninth seasons, and Gina Torres (lawyer Jessica Pearson)—who departed the show during the end of season 6 but returned for guest appearances—appeared in 2019’s spinoff Pearson, which USA canceled after one season. After eight years, Suits officially ended on September 25, 2019.
But Suits isn’t gone. In the summer of 2023, thanks to a pilot scene circulating on TikTok and the series landing on streamers Netflix and Peacock, the show has seen an astronomical resurgence. It became the most streamed acquired series on Netflix, racking up 3.8 billion minutes of viewing during the week of July 17, 2023 alone. Here are 15 things you might not know about the show.
1. Suits is somewhat autobiographical.
Before becoming a TV writer and showrunner, Aaron Korsh worked on Wall Street as an investment banker, which was the original profession for Suits’s characters. “I worked for a guy named Harvey, I had a good memory, and I had a dalliance with marijuana,” Korsh told Collider of the show’s links to real-life. He quit Wall Street, moved to L.A., and became a writers’ assistant. “I wrote a spec piece that I originally intended to be a half-hour Entourage-type [show] based on my experiences working on Wall Street, but as I wrote it, I started realizing it wants to be an hour-long show,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
As a first-time showrunner, Korsh felt inexperienced—which ended up helping him better develop his characters. “I think it was the first day on set, shooting the pilot, and inside I was like, ‘What am I doing here? I’m a fraud,’ which is the basis of Mike being a fraud.”
2. Patrick Adams thinks the show makes viewers “feel good.”
In an interview with Esquire, Suits star Patrick Adams acknowledged that the show isn’t exactly a game-changer as far as series go. “But it’s one of those shows that people love to have in between the shows that change television,” he said. “There’s the show that’s going to change the way I think about art, and life, and myself, and my family, and then there’s the show I just want to watch because I love these people, and they make me feel good.” He also referred to the show as a “guilty pleasure.”
Adams also stated the show lacks violence and doesn’t go too deep on heavy topics, like when Mike’s grandmother died. “You touch on the depths and then yank it back. That’s its rhythm,” he said. “People like to feel that they get near the pain and suffering, and then they like to feel safe that it’s all good, we can joke about it right away.”
3. In real life, Gabriel Macht is surrounded by lawyers.
Gabriel Macht explained to The TV Addict that he comes from a family of lawyers: His sister is a former Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx; his aunt and cousin were in family law. “I’ve just been around it my whole life, so I’ve observed bits and pieces along the way,” he said. “And I feel like when I get the scripts each week, I don’t have to Wikipedia and try to figure out what all these terms mean. Because all I have to do is really just fake it pretty well.”
4. Meghan Markle auditioned in an H&M dress.
Nowadays, Meghan Markle is known for her expensive designer fashions. But when she auditioned for the role of Rachel, she had to make a last-minute wardrobe change. As Vanity Fair reported, she showed up to the audition wearing casual clothes but realized she needed to look more like a professional lawyer, so “She dashed into an H&M and bought a little black dress for $35. Sure enough, she was asked to change into the dress, which she hadn’t even tried on. Thank God it fit.”
5. Originally, one main character was going to be murdered.
Gina Torres, who played Jessica Pearson, told The New York Times the reason she left Suits after season 6 was because her contract was up and “my personal life needed to be tended to.” Her family—including then-husband Laurence Fishburne (the couple separated in late 2017, after nearly 15 years of marriage)—lived in Los Angeles, but the New York City-set show filmed in Toronto. Korsh had the idea of seeing Jessica move to Chicago with her boyfriend Jeff Malone (D.B. Woodside) and having the somewhat unhinged Larry Marsden (Colin Glazer) kill her.
“I didn’t think we were going to see it; we were going to hear about it,” Korsh told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was going to shatter everyone and we were going to do a two-year time jump afterwards … I thought that would be a twist you wouldn’t see coming. You might have seen that Jessica was going to choose to leave, but not her death on top of it.” However, the network was against it. She survived, and returned for occasional cameos.
“I don’t think people can die on Suits,” Adams told Esquire. “It’s still, at its heart, an aspirational show, and it would be so hard to watch these people wrestle with that.”
6. The character of Jessica Pearson was originally written as a man.
Because of Korsh’s background in investment-banking, he thought the Pearson character should be a man. When the network suggested the character be a woman, Korsh wasn’t initially onboard—but soon changed his mind. However, when casting proved difficult, the network wanted to change her back to male. In the end, Korsh got his way. “When I changed the role from a man to a woman I did not alter the dialogue,” he told IndieWire. “I just left it. I said, ‘It’s going to come right from the right person’s mouth.’”
7. Markle’s Vitamix was practically another member of cast.
A self-professed foodie, Markle brought her Vitamix to Toronto and would feed the cast and crew with it. Adams’s family lives in Canada, so every Canada Day, Markle and the cast would celebrate in Georgian Bay. “When we were talking about the Georgian Bay and Canada Day weekend, me and my Vitamix, we really sort of ran the show on feeding everybody for that weekend,” Markle told Esquire. “It was one of the things where I was like I cannot travel without my Vitamix. It’s like a commercial at this point. But I use it every day for pestos or shakes.”
8. The show’s fanbase is worldwide.
The show’s fanbase is comprised of ardent fans, especially those who have opinions about Mike and Rachel’s Romeo and Juliet-like relationship. “I never thought that a story about six people working in a law firm in New York City would be something that would capture people’s interest all over the globe,” Adams told Vanity Fair in 2017. “I was backpacking through New Zealand a couple of years ago and stopped to help a Swedish guy who had twisted his ankle. He looked up at me, and his eyes went wide, and all he could talk about was how badly he wanted Mike and Rachel to figure things out.”
9. South Korea and Japan both launched their own versions of Suits
Given the show’s worldwide appeal, it makes sense that Suits would have a couple of international adaptations. In April 2018, South Korea premiered Syucheu, which ran for 18 episodes. Just a few months later, in October 2018, Japan debuted its own version of the series, which ran for two seasons.
10. Aaron Korsh was prepared for Markle’s exit.
On November 27, 2017, Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement to the world. One day later, it was officially announced that she would be leaving Suits and retiring from acting. It was not a surprise to Korsh, who had begun writing her character out of the show several months prior, as it was clear how serious the couple’s relationship was. “I knew obviously from about a year ago that this relationship was burgeoning,” Korsh said. “I didn’t want to intrude, so I didn’t want to ask, ‘Hey, what’s going on? What are you going to do?’ As the season progressed, I said I would rather have good things happening to Meghan in her life, which would likely mean her leaving the show, so let’s plan on that.”
11. Adams was afraid of his character becoming just “another lawyer on television.”
Like Markle, Adams departed Suits after the seventh season. He told The Hollywood Reporter that his character, Mike, had come a long way from the beginning of the show to the point now where he’s a actually a lawyer. “I had this voice in my head that said that we’ve told his story and if he hangs out longer, Mike is just going to be another lawyer on television,” Adams said. “That didn’t feel right for him. It didn’t feel right for where I was at in my life, either.”
12. The royal family reportedly didn’t want Markle’s character saying a certain word.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Korsh said Markle’s future in-laws didn’t want Rachel Zane (a.k.a. Markle) uttering the word poppycock. Unknown to Korsh, the family somehow received the scripts.
“My family would say poppycock,” Korsh said. “And the royal family did not want her saying the word. They didn’t want to put the word ‘poppycock’ in her mouth. I presume because they didn’t want people cutting things together of her saying ‘cock.’ So, we had to change it to ‘bullshit’ instead of ‘poppycock,’ and I did not like it because I’d told my in-laws that [poppycock] was going to be in the show.”
13. Katherine Heigl convinced Korsh to cast her.
Katherine Heigl, who played attorney Samantha Wheeler beginning in season 8, told Harper’s Bazaar she was such a fan of the show that when she was on the phone with Korsh discussing another project, she threw her hat in the ring for Suits. “At this point we didn’t know if Suits was going to continue,” Heigel recalled, “but when we got on the phone, Aaron said ‘Off the record, there’s going to be an eighth season so I’ll be pretty busy with that.’ And I said ‘… Oh! Is there? Do you need another character, perchance, because I’m available!’ And it just worked out. I assumed it would be a couple of episodes, and it turned into this awesome season-long arc.”
14. Streaming audiences can’t get enough of Rick Hoffman.
Since the show started streaming, Korsh has noticed audiences like Louis Litt (played by Rick Hoffman) more now than during the run of the show. “People were always entertained by him, but they’re more loving toward him now,” Korsh told The Hollywood Reporter. “And some of it may have to do with the fact that when everyone’s watching at the same time, there can be a kind of groupthink that doesn’t exist now when everyone is watching on their own timeline.”
15. Korsh cites “inherent optimism“ as a key reason for Suits’s recent resurgence.
The fierce media interest in Markle, its dramedic tone and easy availability are certainly a few of the reasons why Suits is making a comeback nearly four years after it aired its series finale. But Korsh has another theory: Suits is benefiting from the Ted Lasso effect, or its feel-good vibes. “I think with the characters in Suits, people either see themselves in someone and/or see who they wish they were, and it also has an inherent optimism to it, even though sad things do happen,” Korsh told The Hollywood Reporter in August 2023.
A version of this story ran in 2018; it has been updated for 2023.