Suits returns for the second half of its third season tonight on USA, and we left off where every episode of Suits leaves off: With sexy stares and badly kept secrets. Suits can be a very fun show — smarter and snappier than its weight class, and incredibly consistent. But that consistency reflects Suits' major weakness, which is how repetitive the show is. In fact, the exact same things happen in every single episode.
1. "Why didn't you tell me before?" "I'm telling you now!"
Oh man, Suits, it is time to retire this one. So much of the show is about secrets, especially the big secret that Mike did not go to law school, let alone Harvard Law School, nor did he pass the bar. But any two characters also have some other secret between them, or some secret they're keeping from one another that they're trying to leverage. We get it. But keeping secrets is not really that interesting — it's the telling of secrets that makes for better television. And Suits follows too similar a path every time someone tells a secret. Let's mix it up a little.
2. Someone is insanely mean to Louis
Yeah, Louis is the office weirdo whom no one likes. But people are outrageously cruel to him (Harvey in particular), and it goes past the "Hey, you don't have to be friends with everyone" rule of adult life well into "You know, this ongoing campaign of harassment is really not okay." Save Louis.
3. Someone speaks in Sorkinese
Aaron Sorkin didn't invent pitter-patter dialogue, but sometimes Suits' lines seem like they're ripped right from the Sorkin playbook. For example, here's a scene from the season-two premiere, "She Knows":
Donna: So what did you say on the message?
Rachel: I said that I couldn't stop thinking about our kiss.
Donna You kissed him?
Rachel: On the mouth.
Donna:Where did it happen?
Rachel: In the library.
Donna: The Pearson Hardman library?
Rachel: No, the Library of Congress.
And here's a scene from Sorkin's The American President:
Beth: : You kissed him?
Beth: You didn't tell me that.
Sydney: I kissed him.
Sydney: On the mouth.
Beth: Where in the White House?!
Sydney: In the dish room.
Beth: The dish room?
Sydney: The China Room.
Identical? No. Really, really similar? Yeah. And a fanatically devoted assistant named Donna certainly reminds one of West Wing.
4. Donna flirt-smirks as she walks towards the camera, away from a conversation
Speaking of Harvey's helpmate Donna, she is probably the most underserved character on the show, and her loyalty to Harvey doesn't seem valorous and special; it often seems a little pathetic and emotionally dangerous. Donna's smart and capable, and we learn that every week when she waltzes into a conversation, drops mad wisdom, and then prances away while her better-paid, higher-ranked co-workers stare on in wonder. Give Donna more to do, please. She deserves it.
5. One of the female characters wears something sleeveless
If the ambient temperature in an office is cool enough for the men to be comfortably wearing jackets and ties, it's probably a little too cool for a woman to be comfortably wearing a shell or a tank dress. I know, I know: Suits is not a documentary about office-oriented clothing. But shows like Scandal, or Being Mary Jane, or even The Mindy Project have shown us a variety of attractive — sexy, even — workwear that is still borderline practical.
6. Someone says "shit"
Once per episode, someone gets to say the word "shit." Use it wisely, Suits! You only get one.
7. All the women get interesting, meaningful story lines that have nothing to do with the menfolk they work for and date
Just kidding, this never, ever happens on Suits. If there's a single episode of this show that passes the Bechdel Test, I certainly can't think of it, and I've seen every episode. Rachel and Donna are supposed to be good friends, but all they ever talk about are Mike and Harvey; Jessica is the badass head of a law firm, but God knows she could never talk to another female character. And Scottie's skills as a lawyer are never as relevant to the story as how much she loves/does not love Harvey. Suits is a good show, and I enjoy the hell out of most of it, but three seasons in, it's time for a fresh coat of paint.