Tag Archive | Sarah Rafferty

Television Review – Suits – Episode 6.16 “Character and Fitness” (Season Finale)

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The real world means that this post is much later than I would like, but I thought I’d post my thoughts anyway, having written about the rest of the winter half season. Plus, what better time, than in the week that filming begins on season seven, which means it seemed only right to ponder what next season may have in store?

The season six finale of Suits arrived far too soon and fans had many questions going in to it. Would Mike get in to the Bar? Would it come at a cost for Harvey? Would Donna find success? Would Louis lose yet another partner? It seemed clear that not everyone would get a happy ending.

These back six episodes have had the dreams of our PSL family at their heart and “Character and Fitness” saw some of those dreams realised, while others were put further out of reach.

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New beginnings for Mike & Harvey

Mike’s dream of being a lawyer has finally came true, after a last minute rescue by a beloved character at his hearing (more on her later). I’ve always liked Mike, but in recent years he has started to irritate me and although it’s great he’s in the Bar and coming back to the firm, I’m not sure I agree with the argument that he isn’t the same person who went in to prison. I don’t really think he’s changed that much at all over the last couple of years! Hopefully, this fresh start will give him a chance to become the very best lawyer he can be and bring back the partnership between him and Harvey that always worked so well in earlier seasons. It will be fun seeing him in Harvey’s office for a start!

After coming so far on a personal level, it was incredibly sad to see Louis yet again end up losing someone he cared for. He has really grown in maturity recently and I hope that the loss of Tara (and the family he was going to share with her) doesn’t set him back on that path. We know how emotional Louis is, so it will be interesting to see how this impacts him next season. Personally, I was never convinced that Tara was right for Louis and their whirlwind romance seemed rather risky to me. I’d still like to see him reunite with Sheila, but who knows. Hopefully, the writers will be kinder to Louis in season seven, but top marks to Rick Hoffman in this episode, as the scene in which he breaks down on listening to Tara’s voicemail was beautifully acted.

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Poor Louis! 

The other key cast member with big dreams during these past few episodes has been Donna. Although it came from nowhere, on being presented with the opportunity of becoming involved in a project that was hers, not the firm’s, not Harvey’s, clearly appealed to her. Yes, the device itself was quite silly, but it allowed us to see a more vulnerable Donna. She has always been confident and with a clear sense of purpose and this has been the first time we’ve seen her question whether she is in fact happy with her life. The Donna was never about the money for her and it’s a shame that things haven’t worked out, especially as I was looking forward to seeing her interact more with Benjamin and Stu.

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Donna has some important decisions to make next season

Where Donna goes from here is clearly going to be a big question for next season and her final scene with Harvey laid the foundation for that arc. Delicately played by both Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht, it was an emotional moment for these two characters who care about each other so deeply, but yet still can’t quite address it. Donna expressing to Harvey that she wants more is a significant step and it would be too simple to say that she only means romantically. For fans like me who hope to see them together eventually, we believe she wants more with Harvey, but she clearly also wants more for herself professionally too. I admit, I was a little annoyed that Harvey didn’t give her a bit more support in that scene, but Gabriel did a great job of conveying Harvey’s confusion and perhaps realisation that he may be about to lose her for good from his work life no matter what he says.

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What’s next for Rachel and the PSL family?

It’s also great to see that Rachel too is about to fulfil her dream of being a lawyer. Had she been somehow penalised because of Mike I would not have been impressed!   In light of the rumours swirling around Meghan Markle’s future on the show, it will be interesting to see what happens to Rachel next year. I suppose this depends on a few things. If Meghan does want to leave, then when and how will it happen? If Suits does get the green light for an eighth season, then perhaps that will influence the writers on Rachel’s future / exit in season seven? Of course, all we can do is speculate on all of this. Personally, I hope Meghan stays until the end of the series whenever that may be, but if that’s not to be, then it will be interesting to see where the writers take her character. Seeing as Mike and Rachel are so happy now, with a wedding on the horizon, I can’t see why Rachel would go, leaving the question as to whether they’d kill her off. It would be tragic, but certainly provide some powerful material for the cast to play, as her death would impact on everyone. Time will tell.

The finale also saw the return of Jessica! She may not have been gone long, but I’ve already missed Gina Torres and so it was a lovely surprise to have Jessica return to save the day at the hearing. Plus, this also allowed Harvey to say a proper goodbye to his mentor and friend. I’d been sad that this hadn’t really happened in 6×10 or 6×11, especially considering how close the two characters were and so it was fantastic to have a moment just for them amongst Mike’s celebrations.

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A lovely moment between Harvey & Jessica

These back six episodes have been all about closure for Harvey, with this moment between him and Jessica the final piece of the year. He has reconciled with his mother and opened the door to a closer relationship with his family as a whole, developed a more mature professional relationship with Louis and helped Mike get a second chance (which in turn, hopefully rids him of the guilt he’s been carrying with him ever since Mike was arrested). As next season will see him step up to lead the firm, hopefully we’ll see him more at peace with his life. I just hope he is now there to support Donna in finding out what she needs, seeing as she has always been there for him, helping him get to this point.

Overall, I though Character and Fitness was a brilliant finale. Enough time was given to each of the characters and their stories, while still building the tension around Mike’s hearing and its outcome. Suits is a series that always keeps you guessing and you can never be sure where the writers are going to take you and the finale was no exception. Despite the lows and uncertainty facing Louis and Donna, I was very pleased that unlike the last couple of years, season six’s ending was incredibly positive and hopeful. More importantly, it leaves the series with the opportunity for a new beginning, which is very exciting indeed for its fans. Roll on the summer!

Suits seasons 1 -6 are available in the UK via Amazon Video, with the first five seasons available on Netflix. Suits season seven starts production this week in Toronto, with the first ten episodes arriving on our screens in the summer! 

Television Review – Suits – Episode 6.15 “Quid Pro Quo”

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Quid Pro Quo, the title of this week’s episode, suggested that we were in for yet more deals and manipulations, as Harvey’s crusade to get Mike in to the Bar continued. That was indeed exactly what this penultimate episode delivered, although thankfully this wasn’t at the expense of the other storylines. The fact that these back six episodes continue to be well balanced, rather than focussing solely on one plot, has been one of its biggest strengths in my opinion.

I mentioned getting Mike in to the Bar as being Harvey’s crusade, as it has been Harvey driving this scheme. Mike may have been dissatisfied with the lack of power and control over cases he was working on at the clinic, but had Harvey not made a deal with Seidel in the first place, they wouldn’t be in the risky position they are now, with collusion and blackmail becoming their default behaviour. This probably all still flows from the guilt he has carried since Mike went to jail for him and this week we saw Harvey doing what he does best, putting pressure on people to get what he needs from them. The only problem I have with this, is the increasing regularity of his actions being distinctly shady. I love these characters and know they are good people, but the more dodgy deals they make, the more irritated I get! At least, with Rachel’s help, they were able to ensure the miners received a fair deal, while keeping Mike’s dream a possibility.

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Rachel (Meghan Markle) & Harvey (Gabriel Macht). Photo source: USA Network

Rachel and Harvey having more contact has been a highlight and the two of them made a fantastic team this week, just as much as Harvey and Mike. Rachel has certainly grown in confidence over the seasons and now she’s proved just what she’s capable of. I’d personally love to see more scenes like this one!

As for Mike, after him seemingly taking a few steps back on the personal development path recently by putting his clients on the line for his own ends, it was a relief to see him redeem himself a little by refusing to put his own dream ahead of obtaining a fair offer for the miners in his case. The celebratory scene between him and Harvey was lovely, albeit, in my opinion, a little premature! They have proven time and again, the extremes they will go to for each other and I sense there will be more before season six concludes.

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Harvey (Gabriel Macht) & Donna (Sarah Rafferty) pursue their own goals. Photo source: USA Network

As for dreams, Donna and Benjamin continued to explore the future of “The Donna.” I’ve been a little hesitant about this storyline so far, beyond the light relief it offers, but the promise that it would cause Donna to re-evaluate her life is now starting to pay off. She is so much more than Harvey’s secretary and this week she started to see that perhaps it’s time for her to think seriously about what she wants for the rest of her career. 

Having seen their investor meeting appear to go so well, it was a heartbreaking moment watching Donna listen to them talking about her as if she was a lesser person and I can see how she will perhaps start to question her life and lay a new path. Whether this leads to her leaving the firm or not, I’m already looking forward to following her story in season seven. Yes, I’d like to see Donna and Harvey end up together, but I also want to see Donna fulfilled and I don’t see a relationship with Harvey as the only source of that fulfilment.

Donna’s story also saw the return of Stu (played wonderfully by Ian Reed Kessler)! I was disappointed that the writers chose for Donna to give up on more meetings so fast before going back to Stu (especially for 90% stake!), but I grew to really like him last time and his easy-going manner will be a welcome addition to the show now he’s back to support Donna and Benjamin’s project. I can see them making a great trio next season.

That just leaves Louis. Poor, poor Louis. Watching him grow up over the last few weeks has been a real delight. He has put pettiness aside just as Jessica always wanted and has been the one keeping the firm going, as Harvey yet again only focuses on Mike. The scene in this episode where he stood his ground with Harvey about what the firm needed, regardless of the effect on Mike was hugely satisfying. He has come so far and at the moment I still think he should lead the firm. It was therefore very sad to see his decision to be honest with Tara backfire.

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Harvey (Gabriel Macht) & Louis (Rick Hoffman) – still a team for the moment. Photo source: USA Network

Rachel warned him that there were no guarantees she would forgive him and the fact they don’t have a solid foundation supporting their relationship, perhaps made her reaction inevitable. I was however, still sad to see that Louis may be about to lose yet another romance because of Mike. Personally, I think their engagement when they barely know each other, let alone her pregnancy, is the most farfetched storyline in the series at the moment and I don’t think it will end well. Tara reminded me a lot of Scottie in this episode, in that she had been pushing for them to be honest and open with each other and yet when that’s what Louis gives her (as Harvey did with Scottie), she says she wishes he hadn’t! Just as I don’t think Scottie is right for Harvey, I don’t see Tara as Louis’s soulmate, but I will be disappointed if we now see him undo all the growth he’s achieved because of her.You can do better Louis!

With everything now in place for Mike’s Bar hearing and after watching the promo for the finale (link below), I can’t help but worry that not everyone will escape this season unscathed! Will Anita Gibbs ruin Mike’s chances? Will Harvey pay the price for one risk too many? I certainly hope it doesn’t cost Harvey his career, as although this latest crusade has been of his making, Suits wouldn’t be Suits without Harvey Specter at the firm as a lawyer! The series continues to be one of the few shows I find impossible to predict and I am bracing myself for an unexpected twist, but all we can do is wait until next week to see whether things will be resolved, or whether a cliffhanger will make the  wait for season seven feel even longer!

I’d love to hear what you think will happen in the finale, so feel free to comment.

The Suits season finale, episode 6×16 “Character & Fitness” airs next Wednesday on USA Network in the USA. You can watch the trailer here. This episode 6.15 airs in the UK on Dave on Sunday night at 10 p.m, with the finale the week after.

Television Review – Suits – Episode 6.14 “Admission of Guilt”

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Another week, another fantastic episode of Suits, as episode 6.14 successfully moved the multiple strands currently running in this sixth season along, as we head ever nearer to the season finale.

The most striking thought I had after watching Admission of Guilt was how well balanced an episode it was. There were wonderfully light, fun moments, lovely emotionally meaningful moments and lots of drama and tension, so much so that I was biting my nails by the end! It was Suits at its best, reminding me of earlier seasons, as we watch the legal manoeuvrings ping back and forth as people’s true motives were revealed (let’s face it, wasn’t it obvious that man had more at stake than his marriage?).

The main focus was Harvey and Mike’s pursuit of a legitimate case against Velocity Data Solutions, in order to achieve their ulterior motive of getting Mike a hearing for admission to the Bar. It’s a storyline that enables us to enjoy all the aspects that made the series a hit. Harvey is back being the brilliant tactician he is, finding a way to bend the circumstances to his (and by default here, Mike’s) advantage. Whether it works or not remains to be seen, not to mention the fact he seems certain Mike will come back to the firm, while Mike seems committed to not doing so! Plus how will Mike react if Harvey no longer intends to take the lawsuit forward, if he really cares about those workers?

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Will Mike Ross get admitted to the Bar? Photo source: SpoilerTV/USA Network

There is also some wonderful interplay between Mike and Harvey, which reminded me how much I’ve missed the two of them together playing scenes like these. Their partnership has always been the cornerstone of Suits and it was great to see Gabriel Macht and Patrick J Adams delivering more of their characters’ banter.

We were also treated to another successful partnership between Rachel and Katrina. These two characters have had a rocky history and yet they now respect each other and proved to be a strong team. In an episode focusing primarily on the case and Mike, it was lovely that there was time given to furthering Rachel’s personal journey too. She has always been determined to be a success in her own right and make her father proud of her. Seeing her reaction to someone telling her how much he admires her professionally was a lovely, emotional addition to the episode. Added to that, we also don’t seem to have to worry about Mike and Harvey’s actions jeopardising Rachel’s career now that she will be being admitted to the Bar.

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Katrina (Amanda Schull) & Rachel (Meghan Markle). Photo source: USA Network

Louis’s personal development also continued this week and the more he grows, the more I see him as the logical choice for Managing Partner. This week saw Harvey putting Mike ahead of the firm, letting Louis down and putting his career and reputation (and therefore that of his firm) at risk. In the meantime, Louis continued to try and keep the PSL ship steady. Yes, his plan failed, but he did try and was this another predictable show, it would have been a success. It will be fascinating to see whether he does end up heading the firm in the future.

His relationship with Tara continues to grow too, although I remain sceptical, and can’t help thinking she’ll ultimately break his heart. Their conversation about having more children was quite telling, as her cleverly worded response suggests to me that the topic of children may end yet another of Louis’s romances. Rick Hoffman has spoken about Louis either growing in season 6B or regressing and I genuinely hope I’m wrong that things won’t work out for him.

Then there was “The Donna.” I remain unconvinced by this storyline. I love the light relief it brings to the show, especially when the stakes are so high everywhere else and it did produce some fun moments this week, with Harvey being introduced to another Donna and Donna receiving a pep talk from her electronic self. However, it still feels rather superficial and to some extent trivialises the character of Donna and everything that makes her such a special part of the series. I know creator Aaron Korsh has spoken about Donna’s arc growing in to something that makes her think about what she wants from life, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be converted before the end of series and that this brilliant character isn’t let down.

What is already clear though, is that the writing staff are creating a hugely satisfying back six episodes to this season and I’m intrigued to see what lies ahead for the family of PSL. I’m always impressed how unpredictable a series Suits is. With two episodes left, we still cannot be sure what will happen. I’m starting to get a little concerned that something bad is brewing for them, but I love that the writers continue to twist and turn the storylines in order to keep us guessing! Is it next week yet?!

Favourite Lines this week:

  • Louis to Harvey: “Does that mean you’re never going to go mudding with me?” Harvey to Louis: “Yes Louis, that’s what it means.”
  • Harvey to Mike: “You were the least experienced dickhead I’ve ever met.”
  • Rachel to Katrina about her father’s comments: “It doesn’t make me feel bad. It makes me feel great.”
  • Benjamin to Donna: “This isn’t Westworld! I can’t make her human!”

 

My Top TV Couples!

I’ve recently been rewatching a few old television favourites and it’s become clear to me that the shows I tend to invest in usually have a strong couple at their heart. Some of these are friendships, some are more than that and others morph over time from one to the other. I’m still considering my list of ultimate TV friendships (watch this space), but in the spirit of it being Valentine’s Day, I’m starting with my favourite television couples.

Of course, everyone’s list will be personal, so I’m sure there will be couples I’ve missed who you would choose, so feel free to let me know your choices in the comments! It also goes without saying that this post will contain spoilers for the shows referenced.

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Fox Mulder & Dana Scully (The X-Files)

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To me, Mulder and Scully will always be the ultimate television couple. It was a relationship that grew from their strong friendship and over the years of the series I loved seeing how much respect and love these two amazing characters had for each other. It bubbled under the surface, but never detracted from the series itself and even 20 years later, the incredible chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson remains as powerful as ever. The magic the two of them share does not come around very often and as yet, has not been beaten. You can read more of my thoughts on these two here.

Harvey Specter & Donna Paulsen (Suits)

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I know some people may argue against the inclusion of Harvey and Donna in a couples list, but their relationship has developed so much recently, that I find it impossible not to see them as meant to be, even if they are not quite there yet! Over the last six seasons we have seen their deeply-rooted friendship grow. Yes, they’ve already been lovers once, but they share so much more than that. Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht have a chemistry that is rare on television and I’m sure their long-standing friendship has added to the fabric of Harvey and Donna’s relationship. These characters wouldn’t be so wonderful on screen were they portrayed by anyone else. As with Mulder and Scully, this is certainly a slow burn, but surely these two have to end up together?!

Josh Lyman & Donna Moss (The West Wing)

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I clearly enjoy the slow burn relationships don’t I, as here is yet another one! From the start of Aaron Sorkin’s political drama I always loved the banter between the Deputy Chief of Staff and his assistant and as the series progressed, their wonderful bond became more apparent. Thanks to Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney’s on screen connection, any other relationships each character had just never seemed quite as special as the one they shared together. Josh may have been the political player, but it became clear how much he relied on Donna and when she left to pursue her own ambitions, it gave him the push to pursue his new path and when they did finally get together it didn’t overshadow the series, as by then it was the logical and natural next step.

Alicia Florrick & Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

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I still feel incredibly sad when I think about this ill-fated pair, but there was no way they wouldn’t feature on my list, as they are probably the hottest and most moving couple on TV. The attraction between Will and Alicia was clear from the very beginning (in no large part down to the chemistry between Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies) and along with many fans of the series, I had my fingers crossed for their future. They clearly loved one another and Alicia should probably have picked Will before she ever married her dreadful husband. The time they were together treated us to some of the steamiest scenes on television (here’s one for the uninitiated) as well as some of the most emotional, but sadly it wasn’t to be, with Will being tragically killed in series five (something I still wish the internet hadn’t ruined for me in advance). It was an event I never expected, which still makes me reach for the tissues. The fact their love was cut short in such an cruel way makes their whole story all the more powerful and is probably the couple that has moved me the most on television.

Temperance Brennan & Seeley Booth (Bones)

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Bones is a series I’ve missed over the last few years and I’m slowly playing catch up, but what was clear from day one was the chemistry between David Boreanaz’s Booth and Emily Deschanel’s Brennan. I have only reached series eight (the final season 12 is airing now), but what I enjoy most about this series is how the writers were able to transition the characters from friends, to lovers, to marriage and children. It has enabled fans to see their relationship grow in a more mature and realistic way, which is something other shows could learn from.

The Doctor & Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)

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Since it’s return in 2005 Doctor Who has seen some wonderful partnerships on board the TARDIS. However, there is one that touched the hearts of many fans of the series and that was the love between David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler. Yes, nothing ever happened between them, but their bond was never in doubt and their heartbreaking farewell on Bad Wolf Bay was a classic moment that certainly made me shed some tears.

Kevin Walker & Scotty Wandell (Brothers & Sisters)

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There were many relationships within Brothers & Sisters, but for me the most heartfelt and believable one was that between Kevin and Scotty (played brilliantly by Matthew Rhys and Luke MacFarlane). Through all the Walker family turmoil, they were a breath of fresh air with their loving relationship. They weren’t free from problems (most notably Scotty’s affair), but loved each other enough not to throw their relationship away.

Buffy Summers & Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)

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Some may be surprised that the relationship on my list from Buffy is not the one between Buffy and Angel! Yes, theirs was one of the core elements of the series in the early years, but Buffy and Spike’s short-lived relationship was the one that has always interested me the most. When you think about it (and leave aside the undead aspect!), they were a far better match for each other. Perhaps it was the fact Buffy was older than the teenager who fell for Angel, but her connection with Spike came across as a more mature one. They knew each other’s faults and accepted them anyway and some of the scenes between James Marsters and Sarah Michelle Geller in those later episodes remain some of my favourites.

Doug Ross & Carol Hathaway (E.R)

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E.R remains my favourite medical series (more on that here) and although it had some lovely relationships during its 15 years, one always stood above the rest and that was the love affair between Doug and Carol. The fact it became so iconic in the 90s (and was the first big break for each of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies) is more impressive when you think that Carol wasn’t even meant to survive the pilot episode. They went through ups and downs, split up and got back together more than once, but you couldn’t help but root for them and the icing on the cake was Clooney’s surprise return for the last few moments of the episode which saw Carol leave Chicago behind for the love of her life.

Chuck Bass & Blaire Waldorf (Gossip Girl)

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Chuck and Blaire were the best schemers in Gossip Girl, manipulating situations and characters to their advantage and there were many times when I really couldn’t stand them! However, the writers created something very clever in their relationship. Despite their underhanded behaviour, they seemed to bring out the best in each other, which in turn changed my perception of them and thanks to the acting talents of Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester they became my favourite characters in the show. Had they not ended up together I’d have been thoroughly disappointed.

Carrie Bradshaw & Mr. Big (Sex And The City)

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The Mr.Big debate was a big one during Sex And The City’s run, with fans divided as to whether Carrie should end up with him or not. He may have been an idiot for the majority of the show, but I was always of the view that deep down they were soul mates. Despite all the pain and hurt, they always seemed to come back to one another and he would do anything for her. I also loved the fun they seemed to have and Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker sparkled in their scenes together.

Sydney Bristow & Michael Vaughn (Alias)

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J.J Abrams’s spy drama was a highlight of American television at the time of its original run and the will they won’t they dynamic of Sydney and Vaughn captured the hearts of its fans (including me). Yes, there were some utterly bonkers plot developments along the way, including Vaughn’s faked death, but Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan always ensured the relationship between Sydney and Vaughn was genuinely lovely to watch right until the end.

Ross Poldark & Demelza (Poldark)

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Yes, Aidan Turner’s torso has generated a great deal of attention since Poldark was brought back to our screens in 2015, but the best character in my view is the fiery Demelza, superbly played by Eleanor Tomlinson and their romance is what keeps me tuning in each week. They may be from different backgrounds, but they are undoubtably stronger together and do truly belong together. I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in series three after the ups and downs of the last series.

Lizzie Bennet & Mr Darcy (BBC, Pride & Prejudice)

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Colin Firth may be a successful Oscar-winning actor, but he’ll always be best known for his iconic portrayal of Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. The British public fell under his spell and that of his counterpart Jennifer Ehle. In my opinion, they created the definitive Lizzie and Darcy and every scene they had together sparkled, making them one of the TV couples of the 90s in Britain.

Ianto Jones and Captain Jack Harkness (Torchwood)

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The relationship between Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) in Torchwood was hugely important for British television and remains one of my favourites of recent years. What was lovely about the pairing was that they may have been very different personalities, but were in fact perfectly suited. They were playful, affectionate and stood by each other through all the crazy happenings in their lives and Ianto’s emotional death in Children Of Earth was heartbreaking for fans of the show. We felt his loss as much as Captain Jack. Heck, does any other fictional character have a shrine like Ianto’s in Cardiff?!

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So, those are my top fifteen television couples. I look forward to hearing about who you would choose!

Television Review – Suits – Episode 6.13 “Teeth, Nose, Teeth”

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After two character-driven episodes, although the latest chapter of Suits contained a good dose of character development (more on that later), it was a return to the show’s usual rhythm, as we see the characters navigating New York’s legal and business world, while handling a few personal challenges along the way. Overall, it was an enjoyable hour of television; however it wasn’t as satisfying in my view as the last two weeks have been.

There was lots to enjoy in 6.13, wittily titled Teeth, Nose, Teeth as a reference to Louis Litt and as Louis was my favourite character this week by a mile, I’ll start there. Last week was all about Harvey’s personal growth, but this week highlighted he isn’t the only member of PSL to be experiencing a period of personal change.

After Rachel turns to Louis with news that the legal and ethics committee of the Bar have refused her an interview, he doesn’t wade in, explode and make things ten times worse. Instead, he talks the situation through with his fellow named partner, Harvey, and they agree a strategy together! Louis accepting his and Harvey’s strengths was a stride forward for him. The fact he followed this up with asking for Harvey’s advice on his personal life and then actually handled that situation in a rational, mature and loving manner made me want to cheer!

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Louis Litt (Rick Hoffamn) – character of the week!

I do worry though that his relationship with Tara will not end well. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but she comes across as a woman using Louis’s generous nature to have a reliable support in her life. I’m not convinced she loves him and it’ll be a shame if, after this growth, we still don’t see him happy. In fact, with Louis changing for the better and Harvey yet again skirting around the law, perhaps Louis is becoming the man more suited to run PSL in the long-term and I never thought I’d say that!

As for Harvey, it was great to see him more relaxed this week than he’s been in a long time. He was able to actually work with Louis and even give him supportive advice about his complicated relationship. No longer is this type of conversation “not his area” and I hope we see much more of this side to him. It was also lovely to see Donna and him getting back to the witty banter of past years. Yes, I hope they end up together, but for the moment, I’m fine with the type of fun they used to have in earlier seasons coming back to the screen.

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Mike (Patrick J Adams) finds it hard to sit on the sidelines with Rachel (Meghan Markle)

As well as making peace with Harvey this week (and nailing the best line of the episode when discussing his upcoming wedding!), I was pleased to see Mike forging ahead with his desire to try and help people via his work at the legal clinic.  The fact it wasn’t easy due to his conviction made the story all the more plausible. We saw Mike as a man growing up and trying to do the right thing, even if it’s tough. It was disappointing for me therefore, that the episode ended with him and Harvey yet again looking towards the grey areas of the world to get what they want.

As much as I’d love to see Mike and Harvey working together again, how they handle this plot is crucial. From a reality perspective, if they do succeed in getting Mike a hearing to be considered for admission to the Bar (which is the equivalent of their professional body, not just an exam/committee), I hope they don’t just suddenly magic everything fixed, as that is not how it would work and although this is a television show, the solution they come up with has to be one that could happen in the real world for me to take it seriously. I suppose time with tell. I also hope it doesn’t jeopardise Rachel’s hearing, as that could ruin her relationship with Mike!

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Will Harvey (Gabriel Macht) get to hear some home truths from The Donna?!

We’d heard that this week also marked the start of Donna’s own arc. She’s always been integral to the series and on the few occasions we’ve focused more on her (series four’s Intent as an example), they have been some of the best episodes of the series. Yes, I think “The Donna” is fun, it’s lovely to see more of David Reale as Benjamin and there is potential for some highly entertaining moments by introducing it (picture Louis turning to it for advice and it putting him in his place, or Harvey not realising it’s on her desk when she’s no there and it giving him sass), but I was hoping for something with a bit more depth for her. I have faith in Aaron Korsh and Sarah Rafferty is always a joy, so fingers crossed this doesn’t simply turn in to a gimmicky storyline. Having said that, if Harvey ends up getting disbarred for what he’s about to do with Mike, he may need to live off Donna and her possible millions!

So, overall, 6.13 provided some lovely character moments and although I’m not hugely satisfied with Mike’s decision or the start of Donna’s arc, it did what Suits is best at, which is keeping the audience guessing as to where exactly it’s headed. Will Mike get a hearing for admission to the Bar? Will these actions have consequences for Harvey? Will Mike and Rachel actually make it to their vows (for those of us rooting for the Best Man and Maid of Honour, they better do!)? You can watch the promo for the next episode at SpoilerTV here.

Favourite Lines this week:

  • Harvey mocking Mike: “She have a man purse?”
  • Mike mocking Harvey (and officially joining the #Darvey campaign): “We also need to make sure you don’t *cough* Donna at the wedding!”
  • Louis’s analysis of Tara’s ex: “He’s not just good looking, he’s a god damn Renaissance statue!”

Suits series 6 continues with episode 6.14 “Admission of Guilt” on USA Network next Wednesday in the States and with this episode 6.13 on Dave on Sunday at 10 p.m. in the UK.

Television Review – Suits- Episode 6.12 “The Painting”

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Last week’s mid-season premiere, saw the family of Pearson Specter Litt coming to terms with the departure of Jessica Pearson (we miss you already Gina Torres) and Donna approaching a usually off-limits subject with Harvey – his complex relationship with his mother and its impact on him as a person. The fact he even allowed her to discuss the matter demonstrates the steps he’s already made following therapy in series five, but the prospect of him finally confronting his past demons has been highly anticipated by fans of the series.

The great news is that episode 6.12, entitled “The Painting” not only tackles this emotional subject with sensitivity, but proves to be one of the strongest episodes Suits has ever had. The fact that six seasons in, the writers are still producing stories of this quality is a testament to the series as a whole.

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Donna (Sarah Rafferty) providing support as always to Harvey (Gabriel Macht)

The episode has two strands, one focussing on Mike and his pursuit of a fresh start following his release from prison and subsequent decision not to return to PSL and the other following Harvey, as he travels to Boston to try and reconcile with his mother, after 20 years of pain and anger.

After he receives an offer of work at a legal clinic from out of the blue, it’s great to see Mike getting his teeth back in to the law, with work that will truly make a difference to the lives of his clients. He said during his trial that it was these types of cases that made him want to be a lawyer, so hopefully this new path will help him to rebuild his life after prison. I assume his position there will at some point lead to conflict with his former firm, but I guess time will tell. It will also be interesting to see if Mike will ever be able to be a real lawyer, which would be a much steeper hurdle to overcome (although not impossible in the state of NY). In the meantime, this episode allows Mike to start again, with a clean and honest slate. It also lets him be the teacher in the same way Harvey was to him, which is fun to see.

We also potentially see a more mature Louis Litt in this hour, as he puts his anger towards Harvey aside for the sake of the firm and steps up to the reality of Specter and Litt being a team. I really hope this lasts and that the rest of the series sees more teamwork between these two.

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Brothers reunited – Billy Miller & Gabriel Macht

The heart of this story, however, is Harvey and we see more character development here than we have to date. Those that view him as an arrogant, cocky, detached individual haven’t been paying attention to the facets of his character, which we have gradually seen since the series began. Hiring Mike helped give Harvey someone to protect and care about, having Donna in his life helps give him perspective, but even with such influences, Harvey’s emotional limitations have always remained and these were a direct result of his childhood and subsequent relationship with his mother as an adult.

I’ve seen some comments online about him having a childish reaction to his mother’s behaviour, but that’s too simplistic a view. It wasn’t simply the fact that his mother repeatedly cheated on the father that he adored (although had you understood that you’d caught your mum cheating from as young as he was the first time, then it would be bound to affect you). The real damage was due to his mother asking him to cover for her and putting responsibility for any fallout if he told the truth on him. He may have been a young man then, but the pain and mistrust and indeed guilt that would cause a person cannot be underestimated.

If you watch episode 5.10 before this one, it reminds you of just what past difficulties the Specter family had and when you combine this with the flashbacks here to his father’s funeral, you see what a mountain there is to climb to heal their wounds.

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A step towards forgiveness – Lily Specter (Brynn Thayer) & her son move forward

What the writers do wonderfully is show the past pain immediately before the current reality. It adds to the tension, as we know how much is at stake. Having the scene at his father’s wake directly before the dinner with his mother, really heightens how big a step this trip is for Harvey. A couple of years ago he would never have boarded the plane. It’s made all the more emotional and sad when we learn how he’d tried to make peace seven years ago, before coming face to face with Bobby.

Brynn Thayer is fantastic as Lily Specter and we see how she is similar to him in some respects, as they are both stubborn individuals; had she considered her son seven years ago, she perhaps could have foreseen what Bobby’s presence at his father’s funeral would do to Harvey. True, he could have handled it better, but had Bobby not been there, the last seven years may have been so different. Crucially their relationship and therefore the pain they each hold, feels very real and believable.

A new chapter for Harvey & Donna?


There is also a strong performance from Billy Miller as Harvey’s brother Marcus, who has always been in the middle of this broken family and has perhaps suffered more than anyone. He lost his happy family, which resulted in his later problems and then had to accept he could never have his whole family together. We’ve always been aware that his brother meant a great deal to Harvey and its his revelation that he didn’t bother to tell him he was seriously ill, which has the biggest effect. Harvey can no longer deny the pain his continued anger is causing to more than just himself.

Gabriel Macht is simply superb in this episode. He has always been able to display the many facets of Harvey’s character and I’m still irritated that his work during series 5 in particular wasn’t acknowledged at the awards. Yet, in this hour he manages to take his performance to another level, as we see both past and present Harvey and the pain they feel. However, its the raw vulnerability of the character that packs the biggest emotional punch. We’ve never seen Harvey this exposed and the final scene with Lily is truly heart-wrenching, as we see him forgive her as well as himself.


His journey then comes full circle; back to the office, back to Donna. She has been his strength and support all these years, gently helping to open him up to emotions and it’s lovely to see him acknowledge this, but also that he wants her by his side as he starts a new, more positive chapter in his life. Let’s face it, he could have put the picture up on his own, but he wanted her to share that moment with him. As someone rooting for these two, I’m excited to see how a more emotionally open and happy Harvey will choose to move forward, especially as we know that Donna’s life is going to change in some way over the next four episodes. Whether this leads them to one another, or if Aaron Korsh will hold this back until nearer the end of the show remains to be seen. However, no one can argue that Harvey has never been more ready than he is now to move forward with his life and allow himself to truly love someone.

After such a powerful, emotional episode, I understand next week’s is a more comedic affair, which I’m very much looking forward to. It may be season six of Suits, but the cast and creative talent behind this series is by no means slowing down and with a seventh season already confirmed, I’m excited to see what will unfold over the final four episodes of this year.

Suits season six continues its run on Wednesdays on USA Network in the States and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on Dave in the UK. For my more general thoughts on the show as a whole, feel free to read my series review. All comments very welcome!

 

Television Review – Are You Watching….? Suits

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At the end of January, one of my current favourite television series returned with the second half of its sixth season. In the run up to its return, I decided to go back to the beginning and was reminded just what a fantastic series it has always been. If you haven’t given Suits a try yet, now is the perfect time to dive in! Hopefully this post might just convince you.

The premise

Suits had a simple premise when it began in 2011. In episode one, hot shot lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is forced by his mentor and his firm’s managing partner Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) to hire an associate to work with him. This is not an appealing idea to Harvey; he works best alone. Under duress, he holds interviews with one dull character after another, until he meets Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), whose dream to go to law school was derailed and yet despite not finishing college, let alone going to law school, he is the most promising candidate by a mile and Harvey hires him regardless!

17-suits-w529-h352Yes, it would never happen in reality (I hope not anyway!), but it’s a clever basis for a legal drama, as we watch the relationship develop between Harvey, known for his confident, selfish, detached attitude and his young protege. Indeed, the more we watch, the more it becomes clear that it isn’t just Mike who is benefitting from his new life, as he is clearly good for Harvey too.

The characters

The biggest strength of Suits and the reason it has become one of my favourite shows, has always been its core set of characters, whose lives and relationships we follow throughout the series. As well as Harvey, Mike and Jessica, there is fellow partner Louis Litt (the brilliant Rick Hoffman), whose frequent clashes with Harvey provide comic relief, but also more dramatic moments too along the way and paralegal Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), a young woman determined to be a lawyer herself and to whom Mike is attracted immediately.

Finally, there is the awesome Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty). Although she is Harvey’s secretary, she is so much more than that and it often seems that she is the backbone of the firm, providing both professional and personal support to all of the others at one point or another over the years. That the three female characters in Suits are all strong, confident women is another factor that makes the series stand out and television today.

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Creator Aaron Korsh and the team of writers have always been able to strike the right balance between serious drama and comedy, something that differentiates Suits from other modern legal dramas such as The Good Wife. In an episode, you can have moments of serious conflict between characters, while a much lighter story (usually revolving around the glorious Louis Litt) runs in parallel and yet both work because of the quality of the writing and acting.

I don’t want to say anything that gives significant plot points away, but despite the series now being in its sixth year, it is constantly finding a way to be refreshed by the writers. Indeed, there have been storylines that have happened, more than once, which have shifted the entire balance of the series, giving it a new lease of life and direction. This certainly hasn’t remained simply a show about a guy pretending to be a lawyer and one of the most exciting aspects of being a fan of Suits is wondering what road the characters will find themselves taking next.

 

The relationships

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Jessica (Gina Torres) & Harvey (Gabriel Macht) (Photo by: Ian Watson/USA Network)

The individual cases (and sometime story arcs) are important of course, but the series is driven by the characters and their relationships with one another. You’ll find yourself liking all of the core six for different reasons.

Donna is witty, strong, intelligent and loyal to the end, able to read Harvey (and indeed Louis) like a book and I’d go as far as to say she is one of the most well-rounded female characters on television at the moment. Louis will drive you crazy, but you’ll still have a soft spot for him as the show goes on. Jessica is the strong, feisty, boss. I love that it is a woman in this position of power in the world of corporate law and how she is able to keep everyone else in line. She also has an utterly spectacular wardrobe! Rachel is the woman determined to be a success in her own right (not because of her successful lawyer father), but who also has a kind and generous heart, especially with Louis, as well as having great chemistry with Mike Ross and Donna.

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Rachel (Meghan Markle) & Mike (Patrick J Adams)

Patrick J Adams does a superb job making Mike a genuinely decent guy. Yes, he is being dishonest by pretending to be a lawyer, but it’s clear he could have been one. He has the intelligence and indeed the talent and despite the lie that starts him on this journey, he is one of the most moral characters in Suits. If the audience didn’t like Mike, I don’t think the series would work.

The other crucial success of the show is the character of Harvey Specter and his relationship with Mike. Gabriel Macht continues to do a fantastic job of bringing quite a complicated man to life on screen. Those who say Harvey is simply an arrogant, flashy, corporate hot shot haven’t been paying attention. Yes, he is an excellent lawyer and he knows it (and wants everyone else to know it too); yes, he looks great in a tailored suit and has a to-die-for penthouse home, but there’s much more to this man and peeling back those layers is one of the most fascinating elements of the show.

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Brotherly bond – Mike (Patrick J Adams) & Harvey (Gabriel Macht) (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

Over the series, you learn about the issues in his past that drive him and only an actor as good as Macht could so subtly over time develop him. You may not even realise just how much he changes until you go back to episode one and that change all begins with his decision to hire a fraud. As Donna says later, it gives him someone he needs to protect and Harvey and Mike’s brotherly relationship is the foundation of the series.

The other relationship I have a huge soft spot for is that between Harvey and Donna. Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty have a fantastic chemistry on screen (no doubt helped but the fact they have been good friends for over 20 years) and the result is one of the best partnerships on television. They remind me a lot of the dynamic I loved between Mulder and Scully and just like I did 20 years ago with them, I can’t watch Suits now without hoping that Harvey and Donna ultimately end up together! It’s a relationship of trust, respect, support and indeed love and I know I’m not the only one who thinks they belong together.

Anything else?

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Destined to be? Donna (Sarah Rafferty) & Harvey (Gabriel Macht)

I’ve touched on the writing of the show already. Aaron Korsh has around him a fantastic writing team, who six years on, are still delivering a show that is interesting, fun and full of development. Indeed the latest episode (which airs tonight in the UK on Dave) is packed full of character development, which will only help shape the future storylines. When Suits started, I imagined the likely final endgame – would Mike get caught or not? It’s thanks to the writers that the series has become so much more than that and full of possibility!

Visually, it looks great too. It’s always fabulously lit, is jam packed with incredible fashion (they all look fantastic in Suits, it’s so annoying!) and I’m constantly impressed with how well Toronto doubles for New York. Then there’s the music, which is a mix of original score by Christopher Tyng and individual songs, which always perfectly match the emotional moment on screen. I have Suits to thank for so many new artists now on my playlist!

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Donna (Sarah Rafferty) & Louis (Rick Hoffman)

Where to catch up – what are you waiting for?

So, have I peaked your interest? It is, after all, still winter time, when staying in with a good television series is hardly a bad thing! Plus, if you are new to Suits you have plenty of material to keep you going, with 88 episodes waiting for you!

I know that here in the UK Netflix has seasons 1 – 4 and all of the series is on Amazon Video (albeit not all of it on the free Prime service), or there’s always iTunes or DVDs for seasons 1-5. If you catch up quickly enough, the remaining five episodes of series 6 will continue on Dave on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. I’m planning to review the remaining episodes, so look out for those here over the next month.

If you do start watching, I’d love to hear what you think, or if you already watch, feel free to give your own thoughts on the show in the comments.

As for me, I think I’m off for another rewatch!

 

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