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Interview with Aaron Korsh of "Suits" on
USA Network 7/10/12
Moderator: Amanda Altschuler
July 10, 2012
12:00 pm CT
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by and welcome to
the Suits conference call with Aaron Korsh.
Aaron Korsh: Hello.
Operator: During the presentation all participants will be in a listen
only mode. Afterwards we will conduct a question and answer session. At
that time if you have a question please press star then the number 1 on
your telephone. If youíd like to withdraw your question press the pound
As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, July 10th. I would now
like to hand the floor over to Ms. Cary. Please go ahead.
Amanda Cary: Hi everybody. Thank you so much for joining our call today
for Suits with our showís creator, writer and executive producer, Aaron
Korsh. Suits airs Thursdays at 10:00 pm on USA. We will have a
transcript available for this call.
So if youíd like that or if you have any questions you can reach out to
me at Amanda dot Cary, C-A-R-Y at N-B-C-U-N-I.com. And without further
ado Iíll turn it over to (Vernell) to go ahead and get our Q&A started.
Operator: Thank you. At this time if you would like to register for a
question you may do so by pressing star 1 on your telephone. If your
question has been answered and you would like to withdraw your
registration press the pound key.
If you are using a speakerphone please lift your handset before entering
your request. One moment for your first question. And our first question
is from the line of Jamie Ruby.
Jamie Ruby: Hi. Thanks so much for talking to us today.
Aaron Korsh: Youíre welcome.
Jamie Ruby: So can you talk about some of the changes this season,
especially since now that Hardmanís back?
Aaron Korsh: Sure. I will say that, you know, last season we ended
obviously on the cliffhanger with Trevor and it was a challenge to kind
of make it, you know, the challenge that we basically had was we didnít
want to run away from it and have at the last second, you know, Trevor
take his, you know, not say what Mike did or, you know, basically cheat
the audience in some way.
So we wanted to kind of embrace, you know, take it head on and embrace
that challenge. And we thought the way to do that would be to bring in
Hardman because all of us wondered like who is this Hardman? We, the
writers wondered it. I originally put him in the pilot but the character
kind of changed a little bit.
I know the fans wondered who he was and it just seemed like a perfect
fit to bring him in and let him be the foil that kind of, you know,
solved the problem of how to keep Mike in the firm and still have
Jessica find out about his secrets. So that was kind of the impetus of
bringing Hardman along.
And the other thing is I just felt like a lot of shows that Iím a big
fan of often do some sort of - they bring in an outside character as a
foil and they kind of do a Civil War type thing and it just appealed to
me so thatís what we did.
And it allows, you know, bringing Hardman in allows the different
characters to shift their dynamics and test their loyalties to each
other and themselves.
Jamie Ruby: Definitely. Can you talk about how originally you got the
idea from the show when it first started?
Aaron Korsh: Sure. It was around the time of the writersí strike. It was
just ending. I think it was like 2007. And Iíd been somewhat of a
struggling - Iíd been a writerís assistant, Iíd been staffed a few times
in the comedy world but I was struggling. It was hard to make it.
And my agent suggested to me that I write a show about my time - I
worked on Wall Street as an investment banker for about - in New York
for about five years.
So he said I was always telling him stories about those times, why donít
I write something about that? Basically just to write a spec pilot to
try to get a job. I originally thought it was going to be a half hour,
very fun type of thing, almost like Entourage on Wall Street.
And when I sat down to write it, it kind of just came out the way it was
as an hour long show with more dramatic bent to it than comedic and
thatís, you know, thatís kind of what it was. I donít know if itís
widely known or not but my first bossís name was Harvey.
I was 21. He was about 26 but he seemed like so much older than me. You
know, he was like kind of (unintelligible). So thatís where the impetus
for the show came from.
Jamie Ruby: Okay, great. Thanks so much.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of (Alexandra
Veshetta) with (Accidental) (Unintelligible).com.
Alexandra Veshetta: Hi. Itís a pleasure to talk with you.
Aaron Korsh: Thank you.
Alexandra Veshetta: Since you mentioned Hardman in the pilot, I have
seen the uncut pilot, so was it Victor Garber who played him, right?
Aaron Korsh: It was. It was.
Alexandra Veshetta: Yes. So how did that not work out, because I mean
well, Iím a major fan of Alias so of course Iím a major fan of Victor
Garber and I think that if thereís anyone who can intimidate Harvey that
is Jack Bristow. I mean...
Aaron Korsh: Absolutely.
Alexandra Veshetta: ...and what...
Aaron Korsh: No, youíre absolutely right. Well basically we thought he
did an amazing job but we thought he actually did work out well. But the
- we had some time problems with the pilot. The international version
was able to be much longer but the version in the USA, you know, in
Alexandra Veshetta: Yeah.
Aaron Korsh: ...did not. So we had to - it was basically - when you get
in the edit bay you have to make some hard choices often. And sometimes,
you know, sometimes you can cut lines within scenes and that will get
you down to time. And sometimes you just need to cut whole scenes.
Youíre not going to make it just by cutting within scenes. So we made
the tough decision to cut that character out because - it was kind of
twofold. I mean it was all driven by time because I thought those scenes
But that character was kind of originally thought of - that Hardman, the
version of him was as Jessicaís mentor and they were friends. And when
we were - so we cut it out for time but then we thought it adds a lot
more to the show if Hardman is a bad guy.
So by that time - by the time that, you know, we decided to bring him
back Victor Garber - it just wasnít going to work out to bring him back
in the newly constructed character. We just didnít think he would
probably be interested in that so we moved on from it.
Alexandra Veshetta: All right. And the interesting thing about the new
actor as well is that thereís a curious connection because he was on
Person of Interest last season which is a JJ Abrams show. And JJ Abrams
said that he thought he was terrific and they wanted to find a way to
bring him back to the show.
Aaron Korsh: Oh.
Alexandra Veshetta: So you basically - yeah, so you basically picked
the second big - you actually picked for Daniel Hardman who is terrific
by the way, heís a great, great actor and thereís still this connection
which I found - the whole thing was just curious because it was a whole
JJ Abrams all over it which was kind of curious.
Aaron Korsh: Oh, well I will tell you I did not see him on Person of
Interest Iím sorry to say. But what I did see him on and what I got to
know him on was he was on Damages, Season I think mainly one but also
two. And he was such a powerful role.
A very - not a large role but he had this quiet power that I never
forgot. And, you know, when we were looking at Hardmans, you know, we
were looking at a ton of different people.
And he - originally we were going to make Hardman, the second round of
Hardman, he was going to be almost like he had been a young - he had
been Harvey-like when he was young in looks and demeanor. And we
couldnít really find the right person for that.
And one of the writers repitched me David Costable. And I had never
forgotten just from his small role in Damages. And he came in, in the
audition and he was so good we just thought this is the way to go.
Alexandra Veshetta: Oh yeah. Definitely good. And he played a judge on
Person of Interest.
Aaron Korsh: Oh.
Alexandra Veshetta: Yeah. It was - when I saw him playing Daniel
Hardman - oh wait, that dude, you know, and it was - the whole thing was
just - anyway, speaking of Daniel Hardman I know that thereís a
character called Monica that we will get to meet in - within a few
Aaron Korsh: Oh.
Alexandra Veshetta: ...who has a major past with them. Could you tell
us a bit more about her and this rewind episode?
Aaron Korsh: Absolutely. Well basically the rewind episode is kind of,
you know, itís - the purpose of it is - we thought it would be
interesting to shed some light on these charactersí pasts. So itís a
flashback episode but also has implications for today.
We didnít just want to go into the past. We wanted to move the story at
least a little bit forward in the present day. So youíre going to find
out a little bit more about Harveyís past. Youíre going to find out
about everybodyís past because it flashes back to...
Alexandra Veshetta: Yeah.
Aaron Korsh: ...five years ago. It tells the story of Mike and Jenny,
when they first met and Trevor. And Monica is somewhat of a key
component. First of all, thereís also Zoe, another woman. A couple of
women from Harveyís past are prevalent in the episode, both Monica...
Alexandra Veshetta: Zoe is played by Gabriel Machtís wife, correct?
Aaron Korsh: Exactly. Jacinda.
Alexandra Veshetta: Right.
Aaron Korsh: Jacinda Barrett. But Monica is, you know, I donít want to
give too much away. But Monica has a past at the firm. She left the firm
under kind of cloudy circumstances and she plays both a role in the past
and in the present.
And she interacts mainly with Louis in the episode in the past and Mike
in the episode in the present. But sheís got a history with everyone at
the firm and she left under - as I say, under cloudy circumstances. And
she - her departure affects Rachel, Louis, Daniel, Harvey, Jessica,
And then Mike has to kind of seek her out for some help in the present
Alexandra Veshetta: Thank you.
Aaron Korsh: Youíre welcome.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Reg Seeton
Reg Seeton: Hi Aaron. Thanks for taking the call.
Aaron Korsh: Youíre welcome.
Reg Seeton: So the second season, was it always planned to have Mikeís
secret revealed in the premier or did you struggle to make the right
decision with that?
Aaron Korsh: Well I definitely - so thereís no doubt that I struggled.
It was during the finale of - the shooting of the finale last year where
I was like are we, you know, up until the last minute I was like are we
really going to do this? Are we really going to have Trevor come in and
And I wasnít sure but we thought weíd film it. We could always cut it if
we didnít want to put it in.
And I just wanted to assure myself that weíd be able to resolve it in a
satisfactory way because itís one of my, you know, kind of pet peeves
when I watch a cliffhanger and then you come back and they kind of
ignore it or change it or something.
So I think, you know, I struggled with the decision but I was confident
that we - for me that we made the right decision. If I wasnít going to
reveal Mikeís secret to Jessica I would have taken out Trevor coming
into the firm because then I would have felt that you got ripped off.
Reg Seeton: Well how much of a challenge is it to balance whatís going
to happen with Mike amid what could happen to Harvey and Jessica with
Hardman in the picture?
Aaron Korsh: Itís a big challenge. We are constantly, you know, I have
to say the writers that are in the room, you know, now and much of the
day just do an amazing job of coming up with ideas and things to handle.
They always come up with more ideas than itís possible to fit into a
So we just try to balance like you say, moving forward in a satisfactory
way without going so far and so fast that you donít still have a place
to go. So itís a big challenge and they generate, you know, the lionís
share of the ideas come from them.
And then Iíll respond to those ideas and try to shape them as best I can
while at the same time working on, you know, the episodes that are kind
of about to be shot.
Reg Seeton: I just have one final question for you. With Louis feeling
like heíll never make senior partner how important was it to show some
sort of professional aftermath from Jessica coming down on him?
Aaron Korsh: From Jessica coming down on him in which episode?
Reg Seeton: Well basically when he, you know, gets the - it was when he
decided oh, maybe I should leave the firm.
Aaron Korsh: Oh, from that? Oh, okay. Well I mean that was a setup. You
know, look Hardman coming back in our minds was like Hardman in the past
had had kind of a hazy moral compass. And if any of our characters had
been set up to have a hazier moral compass than the rest of them itís
So we thought itís a natural fit for them to at least flirt with, you
know, bonding together and Louis going over to that side. So it - we
have to - yeah, you definitely have to pay off some form of Louisís
dissatisfaction with Jessica which really goes back.
I mean it goes back to the pilot when she promotes Harvey over him. And
then we made sure to lay it in again in the finale when he demands to be
senior partner. And then here, Hardman comes back and, you know, he
again wants assurance from Jessica that heís valued by her.
So itís definitely a theme throughout the season of Louis, you know,
what side is Louis going to come - ultimately come down on?
Reg Seeton: Great. Thank you very much.
Aaron Korsh: Youíre welcome.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of (Meg Mamira)
Meg Mamira: Hi Mr. Korsh. Itís very nice to meet you on the phone.
Aaron Korsh: Nice to meet you too.
Meg Mamira: I would like to find out how you created this Mike
character because heís very brilliant and he does his job well but at
the same time he has empathy for people, especially victims and people
who are in a powerless position.
And in my experience, people of brilliant minds, they usually donít have
that kind of empathy for other people because they think they are the
smartest people in the world. So Iím just so curious because Iíve never
seen a character like this...
Aaron Korsh: Wow.
Meg Mamira: ...on TV. So Iím so attracted to this character,
Aaron Korsh: Okay. Well I donít want to - I will just be candid. I mean
Mike is based on me.
Meg Mamira: Okay.
Aaron Korsh: I donít know if I have the empathy - obviously heís an
exaggerated version, okay? When I was younger...
Meg Mamira: Okay.
Aaron Korsh: ...I was a kid, I grew up. I just did well academically. I
had an excellent memory. I did not have a photographic memory. I
couldnít read and (recite) it to you. But I was able to do very well
academically with little to no effort and it was both I would say a
blessing and a curse.
Like in some ways I could do really well but it put this pressure on me
to do really well without trying. Or I kind of put that pressure on
myself because - to impress people and show them how smart I was.
But thatís where Mikeís thinking, you know, when Harvey in the pilot
says youíre not as smart as you think you are and thatís his biggest
fear is that heís not really as smart as he thinks he is. So that kind
of comes from my biggest fear. Growing up I had that kind of past.
In addition to that I - since this call is being taped Iím going to say
I may or may not have done a lot - smoked a lot of pot in my life.
And because of that, you know, even though I ended up, you know, going
to a good school and I did work on Wall Street and everybody at that
first firm that I worked at, it wasnít like a dictate but everybody
either went to Harvard, Yale or Wharton the Harvard guys hired Harvard
guys, the Yale guys hired Yale guys and Wharton guys hired Wharton guys.
But, you know, I was like smoking pot while I was working there and I
always felt - I felt like a fraud.
Now obviously I went to Wharton and I graduated but the Mike character
is based on feelings that I had of feeling like a fraud and using drugs
and just being dissatisfied with my situation in spite of being able
outwardly, to do well and keep up the job so to speak.
So thatís where the Mike character was born. Now I feel like - I donít
know that I have the empathy that Mike does but, you know, we grew up in
a town that had people of all different - it was just outside
Philadelphia and it was all different socioeconomic backgrounds and all
And you just - you werenít allowed to get away with being too above
people, right? You were just living with a lot of different people of
all kinds. And it kind of taught me that when you have a person in front
of them theyíre a person. Theyíre not above you. Theyíre not beneath
Theyíre just another person so you relate to them. So I think thatís
where Mikeís empathy comes from. But I - we amped that up because, you
know, it made him - if youíre going to have someone thatís cocky it
helps that they also care about other people I think.
So thatís where, you know, thatís...
Meg Mamira: Okay.
Aaron Korsh: ...where it basically came from. And Iíll just say, to go
back to someone elseís question before, when I first started working on
Wall Street I was 21. I had this mentor Harvey, and to me everything was
so important back then. Like I was only 21 but itís your first job and
it seems so important.
And thatís what we try to imbue, you know, this world through Mikeís
eyes with is that exaggerated sense of how important everything is.
Meg Mamira: Well youíve done so well. I love this show. I canít get
enough of it. So please keep up the good work.
Aaron Korsh: Okay. Thank you very much. And look, by the way Iíll say it
so everyone can listen. I read and watch a lot, you know, a lot of your
tweets and your write-ups and, you know, the response to the show is
overwhelming to me.
I really appreciate it and I never thought, you know, weíre just trying
to do the best we can. I never thought it would have the kind of
response that it does. And, you know, itís really moving for me.
Meg Mamira: Itís a wonderfully executed show. I really love it so
thank you very much.
Aaron Korsh: Thanks.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of (Fabiola
Fabiola Avelo: Hello?
Aaron Korsh: Hello?
Operator: ...(Elsevier) Newspaper.
Fabiola Avelo: Hi Mr. Korsh. How are you?
Aaron Korsh: Good. How are you?
Fabiola Avelo: Fine. Thank you. My question is, is there anything -
weíre watching the show in Latin America, the first season. So what can
be said about the show?
Is there anything that - is there a comparison between (unintelligible)
I donít know, another show like Franklin & Bash for the chemistry that
the characters have?
Aaron Korsh: Well I can tell you the show - I have only seen the first
episode of Franklin & Bash. I actually interviewed to write on that show
and I didnít get the job. But I think it is similar in the sense that
itís got two, you know, young lawyers that get along well together.
I think the difference between Franklin & Bash, this is according to
what they told me when I interviewed, was they look at that show as
though itís a comedy. And I think...
Fabiola Avelo: Yes.
Aaron Korsh: ...we look at Suits like itís a drama. We try to make it
funny but we really do think of it as a drama first and a comedy second.
And therefore I think our story lines tend to be a little bit more
dramatic, a little more serious and let the comedy kind of play where it
So thatís the main difference. But I think itís basically a story about
- to me itís a story about the redemption - the possibility of
redemption in this young character, Mike, told through this relationship
mainly with Harvey, especially in the first season.
It becomes more of an ensemble I think in the second season. And at the
core of the show to me is the loyalty these two guys have and how it
grows between each other. And then the - as things change it tests other
peopleís loyalties, you know, in and amongst themselves.
Fabiola Avelo: Okay. So is there anything that you take in reality in
order to make the show or like Law & Order - these or something?
Aaron Korsh: Iím sorry. Can you say that one more time?
Fabiola Avelo: Yeah. Is there any chance that you put on the TV some
real cases that weíve been watching?
Aaron Korsh: Oh no. We try not to use real cases just because, you know
what, we donít - our depiction of the law - my rule has always been it
doesnít have to be real, it just kind of has to seem real because
sometimes the way it would be, you know, in reality is just not as
interesting or exciting.
So we try to stay away from real cases. Sometimes obviously weíll know
about a case or about something that will inspire us to, you know, use a
little piece of something. But for the most part we just make them up.
Fabiola Avelo: Okay. So finally for me is what do you think that the
people can relate to in those shows? What do you think that the people
like about these kinds of shows?
Aaron Korsh: I think what people tend to like is they seem to like the
banter of most of the characters but in particular, Mike with Harvey.
And then as the show grows people seem to love Donna and they root for
Mike and Rachel and Jenny and, you know, to kind of see who heís going
to end up with.
I think people love Harvey. You know, I think everyone seems to find a
character, who is a fan of the show at least, finds a character that
they relate to and that they see some part of themselves in. I think
thatís probably the success of the show.
Fabiola Avelo: Okay. Thank you sir.
Aaron Korsh: Youíre welcome.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Bill Peloquin
with Blast Magazine.
Bill Peloquin: Hi Aaron. Thanks for taking our call.
Aaron Korsh: Youíre welcome Bill. Nice to meet you.
Bill Peloquin: You too. My first question is I was just looking back on
season one, what were some of the things that you wanted to improve upon
or do differently in season two? And have you had the chance to do that
so far this season?
Aaron Korsh: Oh, thatís a good question. Well, you know, season one -
Iíll say, when I originally wrote the pilot they were not lawyers, they
were investment bankers. And it was intended to be much more, for lack
of a better word, of a - it was like a serialized drama.
It wasnít going to be a case of the week type show. And itís very
difficult to make shows like that on TV these days and USA at the time,
did not do that. They needed a procedural element, a case of the week
that could be closed ended.
So we made - thatís why we made it - that was the impetus for making
them lawyers. And in the first season I think we were, you know,
encouraged to play the procedural element and what Iíll call the puppy
of the week. Thatís kind of how they think about it sometimes.
So we had - the outside cases were much larger in scope and therefore
each episode had - it was more of a stand alone episode. There were
certainly serialized elements to it but less so.
And in the second season what we wanted to do and with the networkís
encouragement was to diminish the procedural aspect, not to make it go
away, but to make it, you know, change the percentage so to speak, of
it. And I think weíve, you know, been able to do that, done a good job
with doing that.
And therefore weíre able to kind of dwell on the character dynamics a
little bit more.
Bill Peloquin: Yeah. I think thatís something that I really loved about
the show so far is that unlike some other shows, thereís not a whole
time about the cases and itís just a lot more focused on the characters.
And I just think that that really, you know, helps the show be as great
as it is.
So I think that was really a great move by you guys. So...
Aaron Korsh: I appreciate that. And Iíll give the network credit. I mean
they kind of recognized that and, you know, I had always initially
wanted to do that but we had gone away from that a little bit in the
first season. They still really allowed us to do a lot of character
But in the second season they actually said hey, they encouraged us to
do it and it was, you know, hopefully itíll be successful.
Bill Peloquin: Great. And Jessica, Rachel and Donna are all really
strong female characters. So was it important to you to create a number
of strong female roles kind of to balance out the machismo of some of
the, you know, lawyers that Pearson, Hardman in particular, Harvey
Aaron Korsh: You know, itís funny, I have been told time and again, you
know, how awesome our female characters are. And for me - and I love
them all. I donít think in terms of do we need male characters and
female characters. I just feel like we live in a - I just feel like itís
a natural thing.
That you live in a world, you interact with men and with women and you
want to have a rounded out world with people of all genders. And I want
all of my characters to be strong and interesting and funny. So I didnít
really say I need to specifically make these, you know, great female
I just wanted to populate a realistic world and these are the women that
came out. But the one exception I guess now that Iím thinking about that
I will say to that, is I donít even know if Gina Torres knows this but
originally, in the original pilot the Jessica character was a man.
And the studio encouraged me to make it a woman. And at first I resisted
only because I donít like change and they were trying to dictate some
change to me. And I was like but this is who it is. And then I embraced
it and I loved it.
And then at some point they questioned it and thought maybe we should
put it back to a man. And by then I loved it so much as a woman I
thought it was such a great idea that I was like no, we need this
character to be a woman.
Bill Peloquin: Thatís really interesting.
Aaron Korsh: Yeah.
Bill Peloquin: My last question - I just wanted to talk about my
favorite scene so far this season, was that scene between Harvey and
Louis in which Harvey actually backs Louis up and, you know, tells him
that heís the hardest working person in the whole firm.
Aaron Korsh: Yeah.
Bill Peloquin: And I just wanted to know like what went into writing
that scene? What made you decide that you wanted to put that scene in
because it was just so well done? I just loved it so much.
Aaron Korsh: You know, itís funny that might be one of my favorite
scenes. There are so many of my favorite scenes itís hard for me to say.
But I canít...
Bill Peloquin: Me too. Me too.
Aaron Korsh: You know, weíre in the room. Like the writers as I say,
they come up with so many great ideas and so many great stories and
theyíll usually like kind of pitch me the bones of the story. And when I
get in there I, you know, Iíll pick and choose the things I like about
And somewhere I donít 100% remember, but in the discussion of all of us
it just came out. And we were like this would be a great opportunity for
Harvey to really give Louis some love.
I mean what I like about a lot of these characters and itís true of
people that you work with, sometimes they piss you off and sometimes you
donít like them. And sometimes you like them. Itís just never as simple
as I do like them or I donít like them.
So it just kind of came out. And then Erica Lipez, the writer of the
episode, you know, what usually happens is weíll come up with the story
collectively in the room and then the writer writes and outline. We give
them notes, they rewrite and then they write it in draft and then they
And then for the last version, you know, weíll go through it and I will
do the rewrite with the writer. So Erica and I wrote that scene together
and we had so much fun doing it. And it was just a great time.
And then Iíll say I remember telling Rick and Gabriel about it while we
were shooting the first episode of the season. I told them it was
coming. And I said I looked at it like - I play a lot of basketball,
less now that Iím so busy.
But I play a ton of basketball and you can have people that are you
archenemy on the court right, and then sometimes youíll run into them in
a Starbucks and youíll see them in their day clothes and maybe theyíre
with their wife and child and youíre like oh, this is a person, and
youíll have a pleasant interaction with them and youíll like them.
And I said thatís to me what this is. Itís like you guys are somewhat
enemies on the court but this is like - itís a moment where your guards
are down and I just thought it was fantastic.
Bill Peloquin: It was. It was definitely one of my favorite scenes. It
was just so well blended like this drama between the two characters and
this great moment. But then there was also so much comedy in there too
so it was just - it was a great scene.
Aaron Korsh: Yeah. And I will say it was directed excellently and
performed excellently. They did a great job.
Bill Peloquin: All right. Well thank you very much.
Aaron Korsh: Thanks Bill.
Operator: Our next question is from the line of (Sandel Charles) with
Sandel Charles: Hello Aaron. Itís great to speak with you this
Aaron Korsh: To speak with you.
Sandel Charles: I - my questions - actually some of my favorite scenes
are actually with Donna this season, particularly one I can remember
with her and Mike in an office. She was reaming him about how much
Harvey kind of sticks his neck out. And I really like kind of the role
that she plays.
She kind of knows everything. Did you have someone kind of in your life
that kind of just knew everything and they were kind of your partner in
Aaron Korsh: No. Itís - by the way, itís a great scene. I love that
scene. You know, itís funny, most of the people because they just - when
you write them they just come out is all I can say. When I wrote them
they just came out. I didnít really base any of them on anyone that I
But as I say, Donna came out and emerged over time. She just seemed to
know things and know like yes, absolutely, she seems to know everyone in
And she seems to know everything thatís going on and she seems to just
have, you know, just a super sense about her even though she isnít
necessarily maybe the intellectual, you know, equivalent of some of the
people that she works with.
But she has the emotional intelligence so to speak that a lot of people
donít have. I will say the name Donna I took - there was a woman that I
worked with at my first job whose name was Donna so I picked that name.
But she was not really based on anyone real.
I do tell my wife that sometimes Donna reminds me of my wife but I
didnít think about it, you know, that would have been a subconscious
thing that came out. Although in episode - Iíll tell you, in Episode 205
you find out where Donna is from and I did end up picking the town that
my wife is from.
Sandel Charles: Oh, thatís great. More stuff about Donna - I - every
time like she does - thereís kind of maybe an allusion to or possibility
of or maybe not, but maybe there was something in somewhere in the past
that maybe happened between Harvey and Donna.
Is that intentional or are you still deciding whether or not you want to
take that relationship back that way or kind of whatís going on there?
Aaron Korsh: Itís interesting, you know, youíre - we do keep alluding to
it. Hereís the thing. I have in my head an idea of their past history if
any. But like kind of, you know, I have a story in my head that happened
with them in the past that is slowly being revealed over time.
However, the story that I have in my head itís like it evolves. And
sometimes as I say, weíre just writing something and something comes
out. Iíll say for example we were, you know, kind of doing the rewrite
on Episode 9 just a couple of days ago and some more alluding to their
past came out.
And we keep kind of peeling back small layers of it. But youíre right,
we have left open what really happened. I in my head, still have a story
that is consistent with everything weíve said so far.
But itís interesting to me how when we say something different people
will watch it and be positive that it means one thing or another. And
Iíll sometimes get tweets that say, you know, you canít - you said this.
And Iíll go back and Iíll watch it and Iíll say no, we didnít exactly
But you took that meaning from it which I like. But yeah, in my mind
they at least skirted with the idea of having something happen is the
best I can say.
Sandel Charles: Did that story involve a can opener because Iím still
baffled by the can opener.
Aaron Korsh: No, that is not - that story does not involve the can
opener. And I think Iíve said that - the story of the can opener was - I
canít remember last year, you know, I was writing the finale and I said
something and it was going to be a ritual.
And the network thought that my allusion - allusion with an A not with
an I, that I was alluding to something that was too overtly sexual
between the two of them. And I didnít mean for it to be because I was
like theyíre saying theyíre going in an office.
Itís a glass door. What do you thinkís happening in there? But they
wanted it to be less sexual. So I put in Iíll get the can opener just as
a throw away line. And then everybody on the crew and the cast and the
director is like youíve got to say what they do with the can opener.
And I said, are you crazy? If we say what they do with the can opener
itís just going to be no one will ever remember it. If we donít say what
they do with the can opener everybodyís going to want to know. They
donít really want to know. They want to want to know.
And it turns out - I mean thereís a Facebook page called the Can Opener,
itís crazy. So but I donít think that that night involved a can opener.
Sandel Charles: Okay. Well thank you so much for your time and Iíll
look forward to finding out what the can opener means sometime in the
Aaron Korsh: All right, great.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of (Lucia
Godfrey) from (Haron) TV.com.
Lucia Godfrey: Oh, hello. Thank you.
Aaron Korsh: Hi.
Lucia Godfrey: Hi. I actually was going to ask you a question about
Donna but instead Iíll veer to one of my other questions. One of the
things I really enjoy about the show is the pop culture references and
not just any pop culture references but lots of really geeky ones.
So I just like think theyíre so fun. Is that something that you put in
intentionally or is that just sort of your background of what youíre
interested in? I mean where do those come from?
Aaron Korsh: Tell me - you said lots of really - I didnít, I missed the
Lucia Godfrey: Oh, sorry. Pop culture references.
Aaron Korsh: No, no. I heard pop culture but you said lots of really -
did you say...
Lucia Godfrey: Oh. Geeky. Like, you know...
Aaron Korsh: Oh, geeky. Yes.
Lucia Godfrey: ...sci-fi and...
Aaron Korsh: Oh.
Lucia Godfrey: ...that kind of stuff.
Aaron Korsh: Yeah. Itís because Iím a geek is what it is.
Lucia Godfrey: Okay. Awesome.
Aaron Korsh: I mean Iíll say this. Probably 90% of the references are -
I know them. Because if a writer puts a reference in that I donít know I
tend not to like it so Iíll replace it with one that I do know. Once in
a while Iíll put in one that I donít know.
I canít think of them off of the top of my head but I think I have done
it once or twice. But most of them - I donít generate them all but most
of them are something that I at least would know. But many of them come
out in the rewrite process when Iím, you know, one on one with the
And, you know, my whole life Iíve read a ton, Iíve watched a lot of
movies, Iíve watched a lot of TV. And whenever Iím watching or thinking
things make me think of movies all the time.
So thatís where they come from, is in my life Iíll say hey, that reminds
me of this movie or that movie so it just comes out.
I always wondered why people donít do that more in the things they write
because itís what, you know, me and all my friends growing up thatís all
we did was quote movies and do things like that. So thatís where most of
it comes from.
I can absolutely tell you that Harvey is a Captain Kirk fan because I
lived for Star Trek when I was a kid.
Lucia Godfrey: Oh, thatís awesome. If you had to say sort of what your
- other than Star Trek or maybe Star Trekís your answer. Whatís your
favorite sort of sci-fi properties?
Aaron Korsh: Oh. Well, you know, the interesting thing is I donít know
that Iím like a sci-fi - itís funny. I donít know that I would say that
Iím a fan of any one genre. Itís more like when I find something I love
I just love it. So I loved Star Trek. I did love Firefly that my wife
introduced me to.
Lucia Godfrey: And you got to cast Gina Torres. That must be a pretty
awesome in sci-fi.
Aaron Korsh: That is - yes, that is how I grew to love Gina Torres was
from Firefly. And, you know, I guess I can say itís not sci-fi itís
fantasy but in the course of my life I have read the Lord of the Rings
Trilogy four times which is a lot of pages. Itís probably like 2500
pages that Iíve read four times.
But other than that itís funny because someone once told me I loved
westerns and Iím like I donít love westerns. I just love Larry McMurtry
and Elmore Leonard. Like I just happen to love them. Iím a huge Stephen
King fan. So really I just love whatever - if I love it I read it or I
watch it. So thatís it.
Lucia Godfrey: Thank you so much.
Aaron Korsh: Youíre welcome.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of (Brandon
Roll) with (Unintelligible) TV.
Brandon Roll: Hi Aaron. I was wondering, what can we expect to see in
terms of a back story of Donna and Harvey and how does the relationship
play in the grand scheme of things?
Aaron Korsh: Excellent question. Well Iíll start with the second part
first, the relationship playing into the grand scheme of things. Itís a
good question. I mean for me I donít really have - Iím assuming youíre
meaning going forward or you mean how does it play into it going
Brandon Roll: Going forward.
Aaron Korsh: Going forward. I donít have an answer for going forward
because as of currently, you know, right now theyíre - I mean their
relationship as Harvey to Donna, boss to secretary obviously is a
pivotal key going forward.
We donít currently have any plans through, you know, the end of the 16
this year to take them in a romantic direction moving forward. I think
that would - that will be tough to do in the early seasons of this show
because I think it just would.
I mean I was a huge fan of LA Law and I know Arnie Becker, you know,
when he got together with Roxanne, I think was her name, it had to
happen late in the season because what did that guy do once heís with
her? It caused problems for me.
So I donít think in the near future theyíre going to be getting
together. But as far as shedding light on their past relationships weíve
got a lot of exploration of that in the next few episodes coming up.
Their past history is going to be at least danced around.
And their feelings towards each other are going to be explored in five,
a little bit six, seven, not too much eight and then more in nine. So
youíll definitely get more light shed on their relationship.
What tends to happen I will say, and Iím not sure if this is my style
because I donít really consciously mean to do this but oftentimes the
more we answer a question the more it just leads to more questions and I
like that we do that but I donít really mean to do that on purpose.
And Iíll use for as an example when Rachel and Donna are talking in the
finale last year and Donna gives her cryptic answer, you know, because
you can never go back, in - when it was originally written it was
originally written to communicate they never fooled around.
They made a decision one time not to do it and this is why. But the way
she played it, it just opened a lot of questions. It was like is she
telling the truth or what really happened? So that tends to be how they
play it and how it comes out.
Brandon Roll: And do you think that affects Harveyís opinion of Mike
Aaron Korsh: Oh, thatís a great question. Yes, now that you mention it.
I donít know that I thought of it in those terms but yeah, it probably
does. But the thing is I mean what I would say about Harvey that I will
just say on that matter is Harvey has his own opinions on whatís right
But what I love about Harvey is generally he doesnít judge other
peopleís moral choices unless they affect him. So in my mind I donít
think Harvey would care if Mike went out with Rachel or not. But the
problem is, is that Mikeís got a big secret and heís got a big mouth.
And he knows, you know, Harvey knows that to reveal that secret to
Rachel at work is a big, you know, is a big risk for Harvey.
So that, you know, Harvey might have an opinion on Mike and Rachel vis a
vis his relationship with Donna but I donít think that would drive his,
you know, telling Mike he canít be with Rachel.
Brandon Roll: Thank you very much.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of (Rebecca
Lamarch) from (Interspasia).com.
Rebecca Lamarch: : Hello.
Aaron Korsh: Hi (Rebecca).
Rebecca Lamarch: : Hi there. Sorry about that. I couldnít tell if I had
to click through. So I was wondering, as a writer you must have billions
of ideas going through your head all the time and this is more in regard
to your writing process. How do you decide - how and when do you decide
which stories are worth pursuing?
Aaron Korsh: Good question. Well I mean the best way I can answer that
is I mean itís really just a gut feel type of thing. You try to think it
through but most of the time - at the beginning of the year Iím in the
writersí room with the writers and weíre all thinking together.
And Iíll go home and Iíll literally just close my eyes and just start
imagining things and Iíll come - at some point something will hit me and
Iíll say this is what weíre going to do for the beginning of the year.
And then weíll, you know, weíll kind of arc out the season together.
But itís usually like people are pitching me ideas and I just try to
synthesize them and kind of say this is what feels right to me. But then
as the year goes by I am able to spend less and less time in the
writersí room because Iím rewriting the current episode or casting or
editing or whatever.
And then the writers take over and they really pitch me, you know, the
current, you know, theyíll pitch me a few episodes in a row. And then
Iíll respond just with a gut feel to which of the things I like and
which of the things I donít.
Most of the time I like it all. Itís more a matter of just, you know, we
canít do it all so we just have to pick and choose. And then Iíll give
them feedback and then theyíll, you know, work with that. And Iíll come
back in and thatís usually how it works.
And then Iíll just say once we get into the rewriting of the individual
episodes we sometimes, you know, really make - we donít make huge
changes but weíll sometimes say look, I donít like the ending of this. I
donít want it to be like this. I want to change it.
So that can always happen and then thatíll have to ripple through to the
next, you know, several episodes.
Rebecca Lamarch: : So having Suits being your baby, your own idea and
everything, do you find it difficult to hand over to the creative team?
Aaron Korsh: Yes. But there are only so many hours in the day. And itís
not possible, you know, one of the things - I went to a show runner
training program that the Writersí Guild has. Itís an excellent thing. I
went to it last year. And you - it is not possible to maintain control
over every aspect of a show.
Itís just - itís not humanly possible. Editing, writing, casting, you
know, itís no way. So you have to pick and choose where youíre going to
be at any given time. And the good news is, is that the writers are
Like when I go in there the things they pitch me Iím just like thatís
amazing. Letís do that. So, you know, obviously would I love to be able
to have more of an impact on everything? I would.
But what I try to do is the final write of every script, you know, kind
of - I have a big impact on that obviously, which impacts dialog and
jokes and quotes and things like that. And then in the edit phase I make
a lot of choices about what weíre going to do.
But the, you know, the writers just generate so much and I need them.
Rebecca Lamarch: : Thatís fabulous. And finally, if I could trouble you
with another question, I was just wondering, in the middle of working on
Suits has it inspired you for any future projects?
Aaron Korsh: Somebody just asked me that on Twitter the other day. My
answer was I can barely keep my shit together with Suits. You know, I
have a lot of ideas for other things but the truth is, you know, I have
a two - a just over two year old son. We just had a baby daughter about
three weeks ago. And...
Rebecca Lamarch: : Oh wow. Congratulations.
Aaron Korsh: Thank you. Thank you. And that combined with Suits, I get
about five hours sleep a night and I cannot think at this time of doing
Rebecca Lamarch: : Fair enough. Thank you so much.
Aaron Korsh: Thank you.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of (Carla
Giddles) with Turner Broadcasting.
Carla Giddles: My - the journalist whose line got cut off, that was
(Humada Corada) from Columbia. Iím sorry about that.
Aaron Korsh: Okay.
Amanda Cary: I think we have time for one final question (Vernell).
Operator: Okay. Our next question is from the line of (Anne Bailey) with
- Iím not sure...
Anne Bailey: Hi Aaron.
Operator: ...about the company.
Aaron Korsh: Hi (Anne).
Anne Bailey: Hi. Yeah. The (Sense). My first question is, is there a
chance for Michael and Rachel at all?
Aaron Korsh: Thereís always a chance. Of course. You know, this is one
of those things where I will say we have a plan for them through episode
16 of this year which I think will air sometime in the winter. I donít
know - you never know until we get there if weíre actually going to
execute that plan.
This is one of those things. Like last year we definitely had a lot of
things that we wanted to do. Some things we thought we were going to do
at the end we ended up moving them up to the beginning. And then some
things we thought we were going to do and never got to do.
So we have a plan for kind of what - a road for their, you know,
tumultuous, you know, kind of come together, go apart type of thing that
takes us through 16. But until we get there Iím not sure if weíre going
to actually execute that plan.
Anne Bailey: Got you.
Aaron Korsh: But thereís always hope I would say. Of course.
Anne Bailey: Right. And my second question and hopefully this is just
a hypothetical and not something thatís actually going to happen. But
what would happen if Louis found out Mikeís secret?
Aaron Korsh: I donít think good things would happen. I can say that.
Anne Bailey: No.
Aaron Korsh: You know, we had - itís funny, I will say we had a plan
last year. This is a perfect example. We had a plan for Louis finding
out about Mikeís secret last year and we didnít do it. It just ended up
- we didnít - it wasnít that we dismissed it. We just basically didnít
get to it.
But then this year that kind of went away. But thatís one of those
things that can always come up. We had a twist such that - which I wonít
give away but whenever youíre going to do something like that you have
to twist it obviously. You canít just have Louis ruin Mikeís career. So
you have to...
Anne Bailey: Right.
Aaron Korsh: ...twist it in a certain way. And I thought we had a good
twist and I really liked it. But for whatever reason when Hardman came
in it just never materialized. But itís - we have one. Itís in our
Anne Bailey: Cool. Cool. I like Louis. I like that actor. His name
slipped my mind right this second.
Aaron Korsh: Rick Hoffman. His name is Rick Hoffman.
Anne Bailey: Yes. Yes. He, you know, he plays such a great villain. He
Aaron Korsh: I will say - I mean Rick, and heís the nicest guy in the
world so itís so funny. You know, people I think sometimes mistake his
character for the actor. But...
Anne Bailey: Right.
Aaron Korsh: ...I think heís so good. I mean I will take a moment. I
talk about how much I love the writers. I think our entire cast is
amazing and they all elevate these characters so much. And that the same
dialog in the hands of lesser actors would seem like bad writing.
So itís almost like I can get away with not great writing with what they
do with the words. But Rick in particular like he just brings the
humanity I think to this character. And this year weíre trying to flesh
him out so that heís more complicated.
And based on episode three and the response I seem to have gotten people
were like oh, we actually like Louis. Like, you know, I think somebody
mentioned that Harvey/Louis scene earlier. So this year Louis is going
to become to my mind, more human.
It doesnít mean heís going to be better or worse. Heís just going to be
more fleshed out and I think people will be drawn to him all the more.
Anne Bailey: Iím sorry. Oh. I wanted to tell you too before I say
goodbye, I watched the Deep End and I really liked it and I wished it
would have stuck around longer.
Aaron Korsh: Oh. Well thank you. I mean I was just...
Anne Bailey: It was a good show.
Aaron Korsh: Yeah. I enjoyed my time there. All those people were
terrific. I was - I didnít have, you know, the same impact on that show
as I do on this one. But I really loved it and yeah, it was great.
Anne Bailey: Cool. Well thank you for talking to us today.
Aaron Korsh: Thank you.
Amanda Cary: Great. I think that can conclude our call for today. Thank
you everyone for joining and if you have any questions you can email me
at Amanda.Cary@NBCUNI.com. And thank you Aaron for doing the call today.
Aaron Korsh: My pleasure. Iím sorry we didnít get to get to everyone.
Amanda Cary: Thatís all right. Thank you.
Aaron Korsh: Thanks.
Amanda Cary: Bye-bye.
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