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Image Credit: SUITS -- "Trust" Episode 605 -- Pictured: Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter -- (Photo by: Ian Watson/USA Network)

'Suits' season 6 is anything but locked up

Season 6 of Suits is different, but make no mistake about it, the USA series is as good as it has ever been.

The program took a huge leap creatively when it allowed Mike Ross to walk into prison in the season 5 finale, and that was throwing down the gauntlet. If Suits was going to make that bold move, then season 6 had to back it up and prove to the audience that it was worth doing and worth following. And five episodes in, there’s no doubt that it has. The change of scenery hasn’t stopped Suits from being as well-written, well-acted, and watchable as we’ve come to expect from a show that should have a Harvey Specter–esque mantel of awards right now.

First, the prison storyline. If Mike (Patrick J. Adams) hadn’t somehow been punished for his fraud, audiences would be saying it was a cop-out. This idea was inherent in Suits from the pilot episode. Further hints were dropped along the way. We saw Mike try to leave on his own to avoid the damage in season 4; that didn’t work, so how else do you resolve the issue other than someone coming for him? And his walking into Danbury Correctional Institute was what Mike would do: He would fall on his sword, protect his friends that were as good as family, and accept responsibility for his actions. It was the biggest step forward he could take from being the guy literally running away from the law when we met him five years ago.

The writing of Suits hasn’t suffered because Mike is behind bars. It’s simply bifurcated the focus, similar to what happened when he went to work for Sidwell Investment Group in season 4. And like in season 4, everything is set up to come back together. This week’s “Trust” revealed how Mike’s cellmate Kevin (Erik Palladino) connected to the client that Harvey (Gabriel Macht) had been urged to take, and how said client (Cybill‘s Alan Rosenberg) linked to the investment bankers that Jessica (Gina Torres) just decided to represent. Series creator Aaron Korsh and his writers’ room know what they’re doing; we just have to trust them and let their story unfold.

Prison has also forced Mike to turn over a new leaf. He may not be using his brilliant legal mind to win cases, but that’s missing the point. He’s in Danbury to move forward as a person. When he told his story to Frank Gallo (Paul Schulze) in the season 6 premiere, that was really Mike explaining himself to himself, and you could see in Patrick J. Adams’ performance that it was all resonating with Mike in a different way.

And in “Trust,” he points out to cellmate Kevin Miller (Erik Palladino) that he knows what it’s like living in fear of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. We’ve seen how Mike can relate to the people he helps, but we forget that he’s not always been on the right side. He’s been a criminal, and we’re seeing now how he can relate to the other people in prison, and slowly come to terms with that portion of his life that he’s spent five seasons trying to bury and move on from.

The creation of a separate storyline has enabled Suits to further add to its impressive roster of actors by casting Mike’s fellow inmates. Schulze, who did antagonist-to-protagonist transformation so well as Ryan Chappelle on 24, makes a great bad guy as Frank, but also makes sure that’s not all there is to him. Palladino has been spot-on showing us a generally good person who made a bad decision and is now paying for it; in that sense Kevin is a mirror for Mike, but at the same time, you’re also kind of rooting for him, too. And Malcolm-Jamal Warner playing Julius the prison counselor? Just the right amount of tough the part needed, if a bit amusing considering his last role was as A.C. Cowlings on FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson. From the acquaintance of a murder suspect to a guy rehabilitating convicts — the joy of acting.

What about the rest of the firm, you say? Suits has you covered there, too. Pearson Specter Litt has not slowed down in season 6 just because Mike isn’t there. We’re watching Jessica have her own internal battles as she tries to save her firm while debating if she really has the heart to keep doing it. Louis admitting in “Trust” that he misses Donna is something the show ought to explore. Rachel (Meghan Markle) is going off on her own case, which she really needs to do because she deserves to be perceived as more than Mike’s fiancée.

And no offense to Mike, but the series has given Harvey a fantastic substitute in the form of Sean Cahill (the wonderfully snarky Neal McDonough). Harvey and Cahill are like oil and water, but there’s something strangely awesome about seeing them work together, not to mention the fun of watching Macht and McDonough play off of one another. Just as Mike is in new territory, so is this relationship between Harvey and Cahill, and so is the firm. Everything’s going forward, which is what every show should strive to do every season, and no show has done that better than Suits.

Season 6 of Suits might be different, but that doesn’t mean the show has fundamentally changed. On the contrary; it’s the same show it’s always been, which is well-written, well-acted, pushing boundaries and kicking ass.

Suits airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on USA.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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