7 Things I Noticed Rewatching The Suits Pilot

The USA legal drama ended four years ago, but it’s recently found new success on Netflix.

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Gina Torres, Rick Hoffmann, Meghan Markle, Gabriel Macht, and Patrick Adams on 'Suits.' Photo via Ge...
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Whether you’re a seasoned fan craving a rewatch, or a newbie looking to revisit Meghan Markle’s acting career, you’re not alone in streaming Suits this summer. The hit legal drama originally ran on USA from 2011 to 2019, but its appeal endures. In fact, since arriving on Netflix in June, Suits became one of the streamer’s Top 10 English-language TV shows, a spot it has occupied for four weeks as of writing.

The series follows a man, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), who turns his life around by getting a job at a high-profile New York law firm. He’s not actually a lawyer, though: just a guy with enough photographic memory skills to help him pass as one. Fortunately, his new mentor Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) helps Mike keep that secret (for a while, anyway).

In honor of Suits’ streaming success, here’s a look back at the very first episode — and the sneaky way it predicted the future of the series.

1. Suits Starts Out In A Very Different Place

It’s common for pilot episodes to look a little different than the rest of the series, due to factors like production or cast changes. But Suits underwent a pretty major shift after its pilot episode: moving from New York to Toronto. The move (which was done to take advantage of production tax breaks, per USA) is why the Suits pilot might look unfamiliar to a seasoned viewer — especially when you compare Mike and Harvey’s city walk-and-talks.

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“I really believe that when you’re walking in New York City, the people walking around, the extras, there’s a different take, a different sensibility,” Gabriel Macht (who plays Harvey) told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011, voicing his preference for filming in the actual Big Apple. In future episodes, yellow taxis and other city “props” help maintain the facade. But none of it was enough to stop Canada’s National Post from describing Suits as “the most Toronto show ever.”

2. Donna Catalyzes The Whole Series

Mike and Harvey are typically touted as the central duo of Suits: the pretend lawyer with a photographic memory, and the real lawyer who takes him under his wing. And that’s fair! However, it’s technically Donna (Sarah Rafferty) who sets the events of Suits into motion. While organizing interviews for the associate position under Harvey, she’s bored of every candidate she meets — and doesn’t suggest them to Harvey. But then Mike runs in, looking for a place to hide after dodging a drug deal gone wrong. “I’m just trying to ditch the cops, OK? I don’t really care if you let me in or not.”

Donna is intrigued and signals her approval to Harvey with a private wink. Granted, she thinks Mike is a legit job prospect making a quip. But it’s clear that without Donna’s influence, Mike and Harvey never would have met.

3. Meghan Markle Is A Late Arrival!

OK, 30 minutes into the series isn’t late per se — but surely many of the viewers tuning into Suits for the first time in 2023 are doing so to see a pre-royal Meghan Markle, and they may be surprised to find that she’s the last core character to be introduced.

4. Meghan Markle Brought The 2010s Lewks With Her

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Though the earliest episodes of Suits still hold up today, there are some inevitable signs of the times: from Harvey’s BlackBerry to, well, Rachel Zane’s entire wardrobe. That isn’t to say her pieces wouldn’t work today (Meghan’s reportedly repurposed some well into her duchess era), but her penchant for pencil skirts is delightfully 2010s business casual.

5. A Future Succession Star Appears

Mike’s first assignment is a pro bono sexual harassment case with a woman named Nancy — played by none other than Succession’s Dagmara Domińczyk.

6. A Joke Foreshadows Harvey & Donna’s Relationship

The first episode of Suits expertly sets up Harvey and Donna’s relationship, which isn’t romantic yet. In one scene, Donna anticipates exactly what Harvey wants before he even asks. Impressed, he asks, “Marry me?”

“I took care of that too,” she jokes, without missing a beat. “We’ve been married for the last seven years.”

Spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished the show. Harvey and Donna do indeed get married in the Suits series finale — perfectly bookending their relationship.

7. But There’s An Even Stronger Pairing

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As fun as it is to see the early days of Suits’ biggest ships (Harvey and Donna, and Mike and Rachel) there’s an arguably stronger connection at play in the pilot: Harvey and Jessica (Gina Torres)! Their relationship is purely platonic, but it’s also filled with respect and playful, chemistry-filled ribbing that makes every interaction fun to watch — even if Jessica has to practice tough love once in a while.

As Macht told TV Fanatic back when Suits premiered, their connection wasn’t meant to be “a sexual thing.” But scenes like the one where Harvey can’t stop complimenting Jessica’s going-out dress do make you wonder...

If you want to rewatch Suits for yourself, the show’s first eight seasons are now streaming on Netflix — but for Season 9, you’ll have to pivot to Prime Video or Peacock.

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