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Suits- Pilot -Recap

Suits poster

Written by : published Friday 16th September 2011

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Watching the pilot movie for SUITS is a 90 minute experience is the state of television today, a hybrid of cinematic showmanship and fast-driven dialogue without a six month cycle time to market. The production values really match the project. The clarity and precision of the camera angles and the focus of some of the shots really points up where the talent is working in entertainment today. This is why USA is carving up the new drama show format market on TV right now.

I caught on to the Suits TV program about the second episode, expecting some kind of mildly entertaining show wrapped around the kind of dialogue much poorer shows get away with with a few attention-grabbing scenes for the trailer. The reality was a very witty and well-scripted show with flying banter that makes you turn up the volume and crank up the headphones. Gabriel Macht never misses a beat as the power dynamo Harvey Specter, and his sidekick associate (who didn’t go to law school) is a Robin Hood tale for our times.

The pilot has a lot of critical information in it that sheds light on a lot of the conflicts submerged beneath the action in subsequent episodes. Many, many directors could study this pilot movie as very watchable filmed entertainment. The music is great, and the tension between Harvey and Mike that infuses the later episodes of Suits. The pair starts out as a friendship. Mike Ross’ ailing grandmother is a big motivation that could be a returning issue later. And the proctor overseeing the law exam could crop up later on a key day to haunt Mike.

There is a lot of information in the SUITS plot about how Harvey, Jessica and Louis form their deadly love/hate triangle. Harvey’s character doesn't have the touch of meanness that his outward charm hides. It’s also evident how little Mike Ross was really involved with Trevor’s drug trade. So many big hints about how Mike Ross’ destiny will work out. but next season looks like it is all about Harvey facing his own past.

This show looks more and more like “The Devil Wears Prada “every day. Except on Suits, the devil wears Tom Ford.

The writing for “Suits” is composed of things that really sound like dialogue. The writers for the CW should study this show. It’s about what you think these people would really say. Suits people talk using razor sharp, sarcastic quips and threats veiled as communication. The terror in these people’s voices is real, they will fall from (literally) a great height losing the skyscraper job.

Suits is like “Mad Men” for the 2010‘s. Mike Ross is the Dick Whitman and Harvey Specter is the Don Draper.

Mike Ross is the guy we all want to be, a body full of smarts looking for an opportunity to break the bank on life’s big casino.

But “Suits’ turns Mike’s natural ability to remember everything he has ever read into a liability, because his best friend sabotages him out of college using it. And Harvey’s own motivation in hiring Mike is revealed. This unfolds as an echo of his own chances that Jessica gave him, back in the day. But only Harvey knows that, and he slowly learns what price Jessica has paid giving him the breaks.

Mike’s lesson about what suits to wear in his new career have a subtle metaphorical layer. Harvey attires himself in charm and hauteur, (the Don Draper method), Louis Litt is bursting out of his suit, Jessica flaunts her femininity at every turn, and only associates can wear suits. Mike is reluctant to articulate his frocking because it means he is staking everything on backing up his threads with his behavior. The suits the men wear are the poker bluff that sets the stakes on whatever comes out of their mouths.

When Mike is hesitant to invest in a decent suit, it means he isn’t ready to assume the position (literally). He rides up to his first client on a bike, in a suit that hangs off him. Mike is in on the joke, but isn’t ready to give up his slacker ways until he knows he can cut it. His quoting Dean “Wormer” at Harvard is hilarious. (This is a “Animal House" Lampoon reference). The pilot is worth buying for repeat viewing, and the through-the-glass cinematography makes you feel like a real-life eavesdropper in the office.

The irony is that Mike’s drug dealer friend, Trevor, has a closet full of suits, because even that loser has faced the reality that he needs suits to interact with business men dressed like an adult to get respect. Trevor knows (and acknowledges) the “suits" currency. Many of the special flavors of watching “Suits” is that it acknowledges the realities of modern life (rife marijuana use, hybrid mockery and envy of an Ivy League education, the continuing workplace post-1980‘s battle of the sexes).

This series calls back to memory other filmed entertainment shows such as “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit", starring Gregory Peck, which likewise mulled the role of a business man in the commerce world, and the feelings of a worthwhile individual made to fit in. The series is well named, and well deserved of another season. (Peck’s grandson is on “Gossip Girl”). The pilot is a full fledged movie well deserved of a viewing even without interest in the series itself, if only to point up the new “have/have-not culture” depicted in this project.

But the pilot for “Suits” is even better viewing after seeing the series episodes and then revisiting how it all started. The only thing I can’t figure out is why USA won’t screen in online at their website. Hopefully this will change, logically about seven months after the interest in the online episodes have waned and the new season competes wit better-marketed material.

About the author tvqueen


I like to watch TV shows from classic eras as well as contemporary drama and comedy. Science Fiction is fun, and shows like the Cape and Fringe keep hope alive that the medium that produced Space 1999 is alive. Comedy such as 30 Rock is usually, good, but not always. I like Survivor but it has so little to do with survivor skills I am disappointed. Appointment viewing is Grey's Anatomy, NCIS LA, The CSI series for New York and Las Vegas and Miami, with a special shout out for the new Hawaii Five O. Gordon Ramsay's Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares are top of the line viewing for the drama comedy Gordon's character and the business lessons they teach.

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