USA has a certain theme to their shows as far as I know. You have to have the wunderkind investigator who, in approximately an hour, will solve the case while getting into some sort of wacky antics. At least, this is what I’ve gotten out of Psych, and what I know about White Collar and Monk. From what I knew about Suits before watching it, I thought it was going to take this concept and put it in a law firm. So it’s rather interesting to see that there is some seriousness to the situation.
Mike Ross (Patrick J Adams) is a genius, but a pothead and has a dead-end life. In an attempt to get some money for his grandmother, he reluctantly agrees to selling drugs, which turns out to be a setup by the police. He runs away and ends up finding a recruitment drive for Harvard grads to become the associate of Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht). Harvey loves him and hires him, even though Mike hasn’t gone to law school, and if anybody else at the firm finds out, they’re both done.
It’s a concept that sets itself up for a lot of wacky antics. And yet the pilot almost completely avoids this. In fact, in one of the first scenes, Harvey does exactly the kind of thing you’d expect a USA star to do…and then later, we find out it was a completely idiotic move and cost him a promotion. It’s almost like shooting down the whole idea that this is going to be Psych in a law firm, which it could’ve easily been. Mike has a great attention for details just like in Psych, but he doesn’t use it to suddenly break the case. Instead, he just takes advantage of it to get him out of tough situations.
Mike is also a more dual-sided character than I’m used to in a show like this. He holds on to the briefcase from the initial drug deal throughout the pilot, just in case things don’t work out and he absolutely needs the money. The preview for later episodes also make it seem like his pothead nature could easily turn back on him and hurt his career, but then, this could just be the network manipulating the previews to make it seem that way.
The one thing I didn’t really like was that there wasn’t much focus on the case of the episode. I think a good deal of this was simply because a lot of time had to spent on developing the characters and the situation, so I’m hoping this doesn’t happen too often. It ended up that a lot of time was just spent on legalese, and not the incredible case-breaking moments I’d expect out of a show like this. Or maybe it’s just not going to be a show like that. The disadvantage to only watching the pilot, I suppose.
It’s definitely peaked my interest, though. The premise is played more seriously than I would’ve expected, and the show is better for it. But it still doesn’t forget to throw in some fun when it needs it. At the very least, it’s an interesting addition to USA’s lineup.