THE SERIES "Suits"
WHEN | WHERE Season 7 finale airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on USA
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) agrees to go to Chicago to help former partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) extricate herself from a complicated legal wrangle involving a corrupt builder, the Chicago political machine and affordable housing units in a luxury high-rise. The timing couldn't be worse: A crisis imperils Harvey and Louis' (Rick Hoffman) stake in their law firm, just as Mike (Patrick J. Adams) is deepening his involvement in a pro bono law clinic based in Seattle. That crisis, however, does yield one immediate benefit: It forces Mike and Rachel (Meghan Markle) to move up their wedding date, and make another momentous life decision. This episode, entitled “Good-Bye,” is unusual because it marks the end of not just one but two key characters. Adams is one. Markle — as most of the world not otherwise confined to a cave knows — will marry Prince Harry on May 19.
MY SAY Fans hoping for a languorous, romantic two-hour walk down the wedding aisle for Mike and Rachel on Wednesday are best advised to await that real wedding Markle will be a part of next month. “Languor” is not the way things are done at Specter Litt. That's not the way they're done at “Suits” either, even if this is the most important episode of the past seven seasons.
The actual wedding takes place in the last 10 or so minutes of the finale, and if you blink — four or five times in rapid succession, anyway — you'll miss most of it. Rachel does look smashing in her floor-length wedding gown, and Mike looks like, well, Mike. He is dressed in a suit, after all. They exchange vows (they're nice) then kiss (that's nice, too). Then it's all over: The event every true-blue “Suits” fan saw coming from the first moment they laid eyes on each other on June 23, 2011, wraps quickly and cleanly.
What's going on may simply be a concession to Markle herself — going through an intensely scrutinized event in just under a month and hardly in need of an over-hyped, over-commercialized fake TV version. It may also be a concession to something else. The Mike/Rachel romance hit cruising altitude early in the series' run but — other than some soap operatic twists in between — it was never really what this show was about. In fact, “Suits” was fundamentally a bromance between Mike and Harvey, and, with Mike now about to leave, fans are left to wonder how poor Harvey Specter will cope.
There's another reason the wedding gets shunted aside. “Good-Bye” isn't a farewell episode as much as a spinoff dedicated mostly to setting up Torres' new USA series arriving later this year. Torres left a season or so ago, returned sporadically, but the Wednesday finale mostly establishes her next act, as a political fixer in service to a tough and ethically complicated Chicago mayor.
“Suits” will somehow go on to an eighth season absent two core cast members. (Katherine Heigl is joining the cast.) Adams' Mike Ross was a key part of the show's entire premise, as the guy without a law degree who nonetheless gets a top job at a top New York firm and becomes Specter's right-hand man with one very big secret.
But at least during the early seasons, Markle's Rachel was possibly even more important. Her fundamental decency and fundamental insecurity among all those rabid legal beagles made her a proxy for the average viewer. She was the human face on “Suits.”
Meanwhile, Wednesday's the last time to see that face in an ongoing drama because Markle has said she'll retire from acting for good after the real wedding.
BOTTOM LINE A surprisingly perfunctory send-off considering all that Adams and Markle meant to “Suits,” but a decent setup for Torres' series.