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Suits Interview: Gina Torres Talks the Show’s Sexy and Revealing Return

By on January 16, 2013

Gina Torres. Image © USA

Suits makes a welcome return to TV on Thursday January 17th with six new episodes to round out the show’s sharply written second season.

Following a messy and very public attempted coup by disgraced former partner Daniel Hardman, the firm has become weakened.

Just who is circling Pearson Hardman’s lawyers and clients? Who will step in to fill Hardman’s shoes? What will life be like for Louis now that the reins are firmly back in Jessica’s hands, and how is Harvey’s relationship with Jessica altered by new events?

We sat down with Gina Torres, who plays the ever resilient and resourceful Jessica Pearson, to discuss these and other questions about the show’s mid-season return.

Screen Spy: Pearson Hardman has essentially been through a civil war, and as in any war there are casualties. Will rival law firms see this as a signal to attack, particularly given that we have episode titles in the pipeline such as “Blood in the Water” and “Normandy?”

Gina Torres: Ah, the blood in the water!  Lawyers are often referred to as sharks. Post upset, post Hardman, the firm is perceived as weak. It’s not over. There are battles ahead. Jessica has to do everything within her power to get back out there and be stronger than ever. It’s going to be hard because the vultures are circling, and they’re going to try to pick off our partners, our attorneys and our clients.

SS: Now that Hardman is essentially ousted, is anyone going to be vying for his job? And by anyone, I mean Harvey. And what will Jessica’s reaction to that development be?

GT: Harvey vying for his name on the door? Well I think people may be quite surprised as to how she reacts to that one. I know Harvey was quite surprised! [laughing] Jessica values loyalty and excellence as well as a level of consistency. Harvey is good at exactly two out of those three things. So, he’s got some work to do. He’s really got some work to do.

SS: There were several moments throughout the first half of the season where it appeared Jessica and Harvey might have a bust up if not for more pressing issues at hand, particularly where Mike’s fate was concerned. Have recent events brought this pair closer together in a united front, or have events successfully driven a wedge between them?

GT: It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy for either of them. Y’know, they are both forces of nature to be reckoned with. They each have their way of doing things. We’re going to continue to see them butt heads. It’s something I had a conversation with [show creator] Aaron Korsh about. I believe that it’s absolutely essential for this relationship to ring true that she doesn’t just forget the great betrayal of knowingly bringing Mike Ross into the firm. He will forever be a huge threat to Jessica’s firm and to her life’s work. He was so wrong and she was so hurt by that, and I don’t think we should ever forget the severity of that betrayal.

SS: Speaking of betrayal, there’s a wonderful scene in episode eleven “Blindsided” with Louis being brought to heel in Jessica’s office. What can you tell me about how she sees him now that the air has cleared where Hardman is concerned?

GT: Poor Louis! [laughing] What all of these guys get from Jessica is true respect and a great deal of affection. I mean, she loves them all – like her children [laughing]. She sees what they all bring to the table. One might think the other is her favorite. There’s such a dysfunctional sibling rivalry being played out between Harvey and Louis, and in the situation between Harvey and Mike too. It all forces Jessica to make choices that she is not necessarily comfortable making and they do tend to bite in the ass a little bit. What can I say? [laughing] Jessica is trying to keep her firm.

SS: The last time I spoke to you, you talked about how this season had afforded us the opportunity to peel back the onion layer a little on Jessica’s past. Will we see any more on Jessica’s past before the season wraps?

GT: It’s going to be an intense six episodes. While there may not be any specific storylines of that nature, as a whole it’s going to be quite dynamic. I don’t think anyone is going to be disappointed. There won’t be any huge revelations but I can tell you there will be moments you won’t be seeing her at her best, and that’s for sure.

SS: With a show like Suits, each of those six episodes counts. How would you describe this season’s second half?

GT: Hmm … Dynamic … Revealing … Unexpectedly funny. It’s a good way to spend 45 minutes of your day. Overall, it’s a great, fun, smart sexy show and these next six are certainly all of that.

SS: Will we see Hardman again?

GT: Well you know what they say about a bad penny. That’s all I’m gonna say about that!

SS: I have a fan question from Germany for you. Sway asks “What do you think made Jessica want to become a lawyer?”

GT: I toy around with her past and how she arrived at where she is. I think it’s just how her mind works. I believe she comes from a family of lawyers and activists. Becoming a lawyer was the way that she believed she could exact change. I think that’s what drove her in her youth, along with the feeling of power that goes with it. I think she comes from money. I don’t think it’s about money for her. It’s more about making change, and being in control.

SS: We often see you guys taking on cases that are not so black and white, or where there are no good guys and bad guys or comfortable win and lose situations. I’m thinking in particular of storylines like the nurses’ strike. Is that a story element that appeals to you?

GT: Yes, absolutely. I think at the core of that question, and at the core of what I believe we are accomplishing, and why the show is as successful as it is, is humanity. Humanity isn’t black and white. It’s not always easy. It’s not easy to make a hard choice. The show is very careful about not passing judgements on the characters or about the choices they make. Most of us try to do the best we can with the information that we have, and I think that describes just about every character on the show right now.

Catch Suits Thursdays at 10/9c on USA.

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