Moderator: Amanda Altschuler
07-10-12/12:00 pm CT
Confirmation # 21598984
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 you’d like to withdraw your question press the pound key.
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 show’s 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 you’d 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 I’ll 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: You’re welcome.
Jamie Ruby: So can you talk about some of the changes this season, especially since now that Hardman’s 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 didn’t 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 I’m 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 that’s 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 writers’ strike. It was just ending. I think it was like 2007. And I’d been somewhat of a struggling - I’d been a writer’s assistant, I’d 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 don’t 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 that’s, you know, that’s kind of what it was. I don’t know if it’s widely known or not but my first boss’s 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 that’s 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. It’s 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, I’m a major fan of Alias so of course I’m a major fan of Victor Garber and I think that if there’s anyone who can intimidate Harvey that is Jack Bristow. I mean...
Aaron Korsh: Absolutely.
(Alexandra Veshetta): ...and what...
Aaron Korsh: No, you’re 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 America...
(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.
You’re 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 were great.
But that character was kind of originally thought of - that Hardman, the version of him was as Jessica’s 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 wasn’t going to work out to bring him back in the newly constructed character. We just didn’t 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 there’s 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, he’s a great, great actor and there’s 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 I’m 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 couldn’t 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 there’s a character called Monica that we will get to meet in - within a few episodes...
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, it’s - the purpose of it is - we thought it would be interesting to shed some light on these characters’ pasts. So it’s a flashback episode but also has implications for today.
We didn’t just want to go into the past. We wanted to move the story at least a little bit forward in the present day. So you’re going to find out a little bit more about Harvey’s past. You’re going to find out about everybody’s 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, there’s also Zoe, another woman. A couple of women from Harvey’s past are prevalent in the episode, both Monica...
(Alexandra Veshetta): Zoe is played by Gabriel Macht’s wife, correct?
Aaron Korsh: Exactly. Jacinda.
(Alexandra Veshetta): Right.
Aaron Korsh: Jacinda Barrett. But Monica is, you know, I don’t 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 she’s 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, everyone.
And then Mike has to kind of seek her out for some help in the present day.
(Alexandra Veshetta): Thank you.
Aaron Korsh: You’re welcome.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Reg Seeton with www.TheDeadbolt.com.
Reg Seeton: Hi Aaron. Thanks for taking the call.
Aaron Korsh: You’re welcome.
Reg Seeton: So the second season, was it always planned to have Mike’s secret revealed in the premier or did you struggle to make the right decision with that?
Aaron Korsh: Well I definitely - so there’s 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 tell Jessica?
And I wasn’t sure but we thought we’d film it. We could always cut it if we didn’t want to put it in.
And I just wanted to assure myself that we’d be able to resolve it in a satisfactory way because it’s 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 wasn’t going to reveal Mike’s 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 what’s going to happen with Mike amid what could happen to Harvey and Jessica with Hardman in the picture?
Aaron Korsh: It’s 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 it’s possible to fit into a season.
So we just try to balance like you say, moving forward in a satisfactory way without going so far and so fast that you don’t still have a place to go. So it’s a big challenge and they generate, you know, the lion’s share of the ideas come from them.
And then I’ll 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 he’ll 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 it’s Louis.
So we thought it’s 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 Louis’s 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 he’s valued by her.
So it’s 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: You’re welcome.
Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from the line of (Meg Mamira) with Lighthouse.
(Meg Mamira): Hi Mr. Korsh. It’s 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 he’s 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 don’t have that kind of empathy for other people because they think they are the smartest people in the world. So I’m just so curious because I’ve never seen a character like this...
Aaron Korsh: Wow.
(Meg Mamira): ...on TV. So I’m so attracted to this character, intrigued.
Aaron Korsh: Okay. Well I don’t want to - I will just be candid. I mean Mike is based on me.
(Meg Mamira): Okay.
Aaron Korsh: I don’t know if I have the empathy - obviously he’s 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 couldn’t 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 that’s where Mike’s thinking, you know, when Harvey in the pilot says you’re not as smart as you think you are and that’s his biggest fear is that he’s 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 I’m 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 wasn’t 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 that’s where the Mike character was born. Now I feel like - I don’t 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 different (kids).
And you just - you weren’t 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 they’re a person. They’re not above you. They’re not beneath you.
They’re just another person so you relate to them. So I think that’s where Mike’s empathy comes from. But I - we amped that up because, you know, it made him - if you’re going to have someone that’s cocky it helps that they also care about other people I think.
So that’s where, you know, that’s...
(Meg Mamira): Okay.
Aaron Korsh: ...where it basically came from. And I’ll just say, to go back to someone else’s 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 it’s your first job and it seems so important.
And that’s what we try to imbue, you know, this world through Mike’s eyes with is that exaggerated sense of how important everything is.
(Meg Mamira): Well you’ve done so well. I love this show. I can’t get enough of it. So please keep up the good work.
Aaron Korsh: Okay. Thank you very much. And look, by the way I’ll 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, we’re just trying to do the best we can. I never thought it would have the kind of response that it does. And, you know, it’s really moving for me.
(Meg Mamira): It’s 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 Avelo) from...
(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 - we’re 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 don’t 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 didn’t get the job. But I think it is similar in the sense that it’s 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 it’s a comedy. And I think...
(Fabiola Avelo): Yes.
Aaron Korsh: ...we look at Suits like it’s 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 can.
So that’s the main difference. But I think it’s basically a story about - to me it’s 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 people’s 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: I’m 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 we’ve been watching?
Aaron Korsh: Oh no. We try not to use real cases just because, you know what, we don’t - our depiction of the law - my rule has always been it doesn’t 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 we’ll 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 he’s 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 that’s probably the success of the show.
(Fabiola Avelo): Okay. Thank you sir.
Aaron Korsh: You’re 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: You’re 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, that’s a good question. Well, you know, season one - I’ll 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 wasn’t going to be a case of the week type show. And it’s 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 - that’s 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 I’ll call the puppy of the week. That’s 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 network’s 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 we’ve, you know, been able to do that, done a good job with doing that.
And therefore we’re able to kind of dwell on the character dynamics a little bit more.
Bill Peloquin: Yeah. I think that’s something that I really loved about the show so far is that unlike some other shows, there’s not a whole time about the cases and it’s 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 I’ll 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 stuff.
But in the second season they actually said hey, they encouraged us to do it and it was, you know, hopefully it’ll 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 himself?
Aaron Korsh: You know, it’s 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 don’t think in terms of do we need male characters and female characters. I just feel like we live in a - I just feel like it’s 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 didn’t really say I need to specifically make these, you know, great female characters.
I just wanted to populate a realistic world and these are the women that came out. But the one exception I guess now that I’m thinking about that I will say to that, is I don’t 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 don’t 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: That’s 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 he’s 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, it’s funny that might be one of my favorite scenes. There are so many of my favorite scenes it’s hard for me to say. But I can’t...
Bill Peloquin: Me too. Me too.
Aaron Korsh: You know, we’re in the room. Like the writers as I say, they come up with so many great ideas and so many great stories and they’ll usually like kind of pitch me the bones of the story. And when I get in there I, you know, I’ll pick and choose the things I like about it.
And somewhere I don’t 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 it’s true of people that you work with, sometimes they piss you off and sometimes you don’t like them. And sometimes you like them. It’s just never as simple as I do like them or I don’t like them.
So it just kind of came out. And then Erica Lipez, the writer of the episode, you know, what usually happens is we’ll 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 rewrite.
And then for the last version, you know, we’ll 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 I’ll 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 I’m 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 you’ll run into them in a Starbucks and you’ll see them in their day clothes and maybe they’re with their wife and child and you’re like oh, this is a person, and you’ll have a pleasant interaction with them and you’ll like them.
And I said that’s to me what this is. It’s like you guys are somewhat enemies on the court but this is like - it’s 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 (CV Semetic).com.
(Sandel Charles): Hello Aaron. It’s great to speak with you this afternoon.
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 that?
Aaron Korsh: No. It’s - by the way, it’s a great scene. I love that scene. You know, it’s 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 didn’t really base any of them on anyone that I knew.
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 the firm.
And she seems to know everything that’s going on and she seems to just have, you know, just a super sense about her even though she isn’t 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 don’t 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 didn’t think about it, you know, that would have been a subconscious thing that came out. Although in episode - I’ll 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, that’s great. More stuff about Donna - I - every time like she does - there’s 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 what’s going on there?
Aaron Korsh: It’s interesting, you know, you’re - we do keep alluding to it. Here’s 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 it’s like it evolves. And sometimes as I say, we’re just writing something and something comes out. I’ll 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 you’re right, we have left open what really happened. I in my head, still have a story that is consistent with everything we’ve said so far.
But it’s interesting to me how when we say something different people will watch it and be positive that it means one thing or another. And I’ll sometimes get tweets that say, you know, you can’t - you said this. And I’ll go back and I’ll watch it and I’ll say no, we didn’t exactly say that.
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 I’m still baffled by the can opener.
Aaron Korsh: No, that is not - that story does not involve the can opener. And I think I’ve said that - the story of the can opener was - I can’t 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 didn’t mean for it to be because I was like they’re saying they’re going in an office.
It’s a glass door. What do you think’s happening in there? But they wanted it to be less sexual. So I put in I’ll get the can opener just as a throw away line. And then everybody on the crew and the cast and the director is like you’ve 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 it’s just going to be no one will ever remember it. If we don’t say what they do with the can opener everybody’s going to want to know. They don’t really want to know. They want to want to know.
And it turns out - I mean there’s a Facebook page called the Can Opener, it’s crazy. So but I don’t think that that night involved a can opener.
(Sandel Charles): Okay. Well thank you so much for your time and I’ll look forward to finding out what the can opener means sometime in the future.
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 I’ll 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 they’re so fun. Is that something that you put in intentionally or is that just sort of your background of what you’re interested in? I mean where do those come from?
Aaron Korsh: Tell me - you said lots of really - I didn’t, I missed the word.
(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. It’s because I’m a geek is what it is.
(Lucia Godfrey): Okay. Awesome.
Aaron Korsh: I mean I’ll say this. Probably 90% of the references are - I know them. Because if a writer puts a reference in that I don’t know I tend not to like it so I’ll replace it with one that I do know. Once in a while I’ll put in one that I don’t know.
I can’t 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 don’t 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 I’m, you know, one on one with the individual writer.
And, you know, my whole life I’ve read a ton, I’ve watched a lot of movies, I’ve watched a lot of TV. And whenever I’m watching or thinking things make me think of movies all the time.
So that’s where they come from, is in my life I’ll say hey, that reminds me of this movie or that movie so it just comes out.
I always wondered why people don’t do that more in the things they write because it’s what, you know, me and all my friends growing up that’s all we did was quote movies and do things like that. So that’s 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, that’s awesome. If you had to say sort of what your - other than Star Trek or maybe Star Trek’s your answer. What’s your favorite sort of sci-fi properties?
Aaron Korsh: Oh. Well, you know, the interesting thing is I don’t know that I’m like a sci-fi - it’s funny. I don’t know that I would say that I’m a fan of any one genre. It’s 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 it’s not sci-fi it’s 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. It’s probably like 2500 pages that I’ve read four times.
But other than that it’s funny because someone once told me I loved westerns and I’m like I don’t love westerns. I just love Larry McMurtry and Elmore Leonard. Like I just happen to love them. I’m a huge Stephen King fan. So really I just love whatever - if I love it I read it or I watch it. So that’s it.
(Lucia Godfrey): Thank you so much.
Aaron Korsh: You’re 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 I’ll start with the second part first, the relationship playing into the grand scheme of things. It’s a good question. I mean for me I don’t really have - I’m assuming you’re meaning going forward or you mean how does it play into it going backward?
(Brandon Roll): Going forward.
Aaron Korsh: Going forward. I don’t have an answer for going forward because as of currently, you know, right now they’re - I mean their relationship as Harvey to Donna, boss to secretary obviously is a pivotal key going forward.
We don’t 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 he’s with her? It caused problems for me.
So I don’t think in the near future they’re going to be getting together. But as far as shedding light on their past relationships we’ve 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 you’ll definitely get more light shed on their relationship.
What tends to happen I will say, and I’m not sure if this is my style because I don’t 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 don’t really mean to do that on purpose.
And I’ll 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 Harvey’s opinion of Mike and Rachel?
Aaron Korsh: Oh, that’s a great question. Yes, now that you mention it. I don’t 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 what’s right and wrong.
But what I love about Harvey is generally he doesn’t judge other people’s moral choices unless they affect him. So in my mind I don’t think Harvey would care if Mike went out with Rachel or not. But the problem is, is that Mike’s got a big secret and he’s 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 don’t think that would drive his, you know, telling Mike he can’t 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 couldn’t 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 it’s 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 I’m in the writers’ room with the writers and we’re all thinking together.
And I’ll go home and I’ll literally just close my eyes and just start imagining things and I’ll come - at some point something will hit me and I’ll say this is what we’re going to do for the beginning of the year. And then we’ll, you know, we’ll kind of arc out the season together.
But it’s 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 writers’ room because I’m 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, they’ll pitch me a few episodes in a row. And then I’ll respond just with a gut feel to which of the things I like and which of the things I don’t.
Most of the time I like it all. It’s more a matter of just, you know, we can’t do it all so we just have to pick and choose. And then I’ll give them feedback and then they’ll, you know, work with that. And I’ll come back in and that’s usually how it works.
And then I’ll just say once we get into the rewriting of the individual episodes we sometimes, you know, really make - we don’t make huge changes but we’ll sometimes say look, I don’t like the ending of this. I don’t want it to be like this. I want to change it.
So that can always happen and then that’ll 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 it’s not possible, you know, one of the things - I went to a show runner training program that the Writers’ Guild has. It’s an excellent thing. I went to it last year. And you - it is not possible to maintain control over every aspect of a show.
It’s just - it’s not humanly possible. Editing, writing, casting, you know, it’s no way. So you have to pick and choose where you’re going to be at any given time. And the good news is, is that the writers are amazing.
Like when I go in there the things they pitch me I’m just like that’s amazing. Let’s 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 we’re going to do.
But the, you know, the writers just generate so much and I need them.
(Rebecca Lamarch): That’s 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 anything else.
(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. I’m 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 - I’m 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: There’s 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 don’t know - you never know until we get there if we’re 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 I’m not sure if we’re going to actually execute that plan.
(Anne Bailey): Got you.
Aaron Korsh: But there’s always hope I would say. Of course.
(Anne Bailey): Right. And my second question and hopefully this is just a hypothetical and not something that’s actually going to happen. But what would happen if Louis found out Mike’s secret?
Aaron Korsh: I don’t think good things would happen. I can say that.
(Anne Bailey): No.
Aaron Korsh: You know, we had - it’s funny, I will say we had a plan last year. This is a perfect example. We had a plan for Louis finding out about Mike’s secret last year and we didn’t do it. It just ended up - we didn’t - it wasn’t that we dismissed it. We just basically didn’t get to it.
But then this year that kind of went away. But that’s one of those things that can always come up. We had a twist such that - which I won’t give away but whenever you’re going to do something like that you have to twist it obviously. You can’t just have Louis ruin Mike’s 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 it’s - we have one. It’s in our pocket.
(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 really does.
Aaron Korsh: I will say - I mean Rick, and he’s the nicest guy in the world so it’s so funny. You know, people I think sometimes mistake his character for the actor. But...
(Anne Bailey): Right.
Aaron Korsh: ...I think he’s 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 it’s 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 we’re trying to flesh him out so that he’s 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 doesn’t mean he’s going to be better or worse. He’s just going to be more fleshed out and I think people will be drawn to him all the more.
(Anne Bailey): I’m 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 didn’t 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. I’m sorry we didn’t get to get to everyone.
Amanda Cary: That’s all right. Thank you.
Aaron Korsh: Thanks.
Amanda Cary: Bye-bye.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines.