Saturday, 26 March 2016

Celebrating Lewis Litt: The MVP of SUITS

There are some TV shows which, if one element were removed, would be almost unwatchable. Entourage would be a recent example. Without Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold, would anyone care to watch a bunch of obnoxious assholes bombing around LA in sweet rides with beautiful women? Okay, bad example. Moving on...

Suits is a drama-comedy series that has been on-air since 2011. It tells the story of Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams, Helena's (Tatiana Maslany) unlucky BF on Orphan Black), a college drop out with a near-perfect memory who works as a law associate for high-powered attorney Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) despite never attending law school.

Suits has not quite achieved the cultural relevance of Entourage. It's an entertaining show brought up by a good ensemble of actors augmented by some sharp comedic banter. In short, it is a perfectly decent piece of entertainment. On its own, it might be a little forgettable, but like Entourage, it is brought up by one truly great character.

Played by Rick Hoffman, Lewis Litt is Harvey and Mike's on-off antagonist. He is also the best character on the show. In the first season he is the Big Bad, constantly attempting to undermine our heroes at every turn. As the show matured, Lewis moved from villain to anti-hero -- a flawed man who is undermined by his inability to overcome his own ego. In recent seasons, Lewis's struggle to not be his own worst enemy often became the centre of the best storylines, from Harvey's battle to oust co-founder Daniel Hardman (Breaking Bad's David Costabile), to Mike's attempts to stay out of jail when his cover is blown.

And then there is his ongoing friendship with Harvey's sparky assistant Donna (Sarah Rafferty), which contrasts comically with his incompetent, offscreen secretary Norma. Though she is never seen, Norma's death does provide one of the more hilarious and touching episodes (Season 4's 'Not Just a Pretty Face') as Louis tries to disguise his pain by continuing his abuse toward her while he and Donna painstakingly put together her funeral. Litt's ability to be a massive tool and the most sympathetic character on the show is especially strong here.

Of all the characters on the show, Lewis continues to be a fascinating, frustrating presence on the show. One can only hope he does not get written out, because without him Suits would be pretty poor viewing.

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