The star of USA Network's legal drama talks to ET about how their absence will affect season eight.
Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Wednesday's two-hour season finale of Suits. If you have, refresh your memory on how Meghan Markle and Patrick J. Adams were written off the show.
Suits is beginning a new chapter.
Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle's final episode on Suits aired Wednesday night, appropriately titled "Goodbye," and it culminated in a romantic -- and very last-minute -- wedding ceremony for their characters, Mike Ross and Rachel Zane, that's been years in the making. After saying their "I do's" (read our farewell to Adams and Markle), Mike broke the news to his mentor and friend, Harvey Specter, that he and Rachel were leaving New York City. A new opportunity awaited them in Seattle, Washington, where they would get the chance to run their own legal clinic and help defend class-action lawsuits against Fortune 500 companies. Their goodbye was sweet and fitting, but leaves Suits with interesting possibilities for the future with the merger of two powerful law firms kicking off season eight.
"[Season seven] stands out in the way that we have these two departures with Patrick and Meghan, and how seemingly right it feels for both their personal lives. But it’s an awkward transition, I think, for all of us to get acquainted with this new norm," series star Gabriel Macht tells ET following Wednesday's two-hour closer. "With the end of season seven, the fans will be fulfilled in that they do get married and they go off into the sunset in the right way. It makes total sense for Mike’s character to do what he wants to do."
The 46-year-old actor, who has starred on the USA Network legal drama since its inception in 2011, reflected on Adams and Markle's exits, admitting that not having Mike and Rachel within the fabric of the Suits universe is going to be "hard" for the fans and the cast moving forward "because these characters are so beloved." But he's already looking ahead to season eight, which will feature a notable new addition Katherine Heigl (a Suits superfan) and return fan favorites Amanda Schull and Dule Hill. (Production kicked off earlier this month in Toronto.) Still, though, Adams and Markle's absence permeates.
"It’s been a real transition not having them on set," Macht says. "There is a bit of a void -- not to say that we haven’t gotten an incredible cast of actors who have come on board with us and the ensemble is so fresh and new. It’s part of the old, but it’s very new."
Following the finale, ET spoke with Macht about what the departures of Adams and Markle means for Suits moving forward, why it's been a difficult "transition" for him personally and scoop on season eight. (Plus, Macht shares his thoughts on if it's time for Harvey and Donna to make it official.)
ET: We say goodbye to Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle in the finale with a stunning wedding. But Harvey seems stunned when Mike breaks the news that he's leaving -- this time, for good. What does having Mike and Rachel leaving for greener pastures mean for the series, and more specifically, Harvey?
Gabriel Macht: What is amazing about Harvey is that he has a lot of difficulty with regards to change -- this idea that his right-hand man in Mike, and having his ace in his back pocket whenever Harvey is in trouble or has nowhere to turn when it comes to legalese, Mike is there in spades. That’s going to be a real eye-opener and it’s shocking for Harvey, as you see in that one moment [in the finale]. It’s another thematic element of Harvey’s growth where he has to step up, grow up and accept change, and really try and figure out what his place in the community, in his workplace, in the firm is going to be moving forward. In that one moment, his best friend, his younger brother, his confidant, his right-hand man, [Harvey's realizing] he's leaving now.
What does it mean for you?
When I speak personally about this, separate from Harvey, that moment was the last scene that I shot with Patrick. When we started this show almost eight years ago, this started off as a duo with the two of us really taking the lead and the show really surrounded the two of us. Thankfully, the show became more of an ensemble drama in its storytelling and we’ve been able to develop all the surrounding characters, and that’s been great. For Harvey and myself, to move forward without Mike and Patrick, there is a void. There is a sense of, like, something that we started together, we’re not finishing together. Patrick has an incredible sense of integrity and intelligence and charm and humor that comes with this show, and it’s so grounded, and I’ve relied on that gravitas. He’s told me that whenever I need to give him a call and cry on his shoulder, he’s all good with that. (Laughs.)
Harvey and Mike's partnership really kick-started the series and made Suits what it is. How will that bromance void be filled now?
Well, I think it's fair to say that to recreate Marvey [the ship name for Mike and Harvey] in any way is going to be impossible. There's definitely room for romantic behavior with other characters. There are times where you see it with Harvey and Louis. The seed was planted that Alex and Harvey were close as friends, so there are opportunities there. Even with Rachel's father, there's definitely places where we'll take the piss out of each other and playfully tease each other in a testosterone-filled way that engages the male audience. (Laughs.)
Harvey and Donna went through a lot, especially in the back half of the season. How do you feel about where things stand with them at the end of the finale?
They have had a rocky road in that they have both really tried to question as best they can their relationship in relation to each other. I thought Harvey was really falling Paula in many ways. Her error of judgment was, "You gotta fire Donna to make this work." That sort of sparked an awakening in Harvey that maybe Paula wasn't as generous and as thoughtful and as passionate to Harvey's needs as he thought. And maybe it was meant for a reason that this all happened to really question his own motivations with Donna. It's created a lot of questions. At this point, they're on the same level with each other and they move forward in a business-like manner because there have been so much dealings with the firm [and] possibly losing the firm. I think that that took over their focus. Moving forward into season eight, I think those questions will come up again.
It's been seven seasons of a will they/won't they dance and there's a growing feeling among fans that it's time for them to make a concrete decision about their relationship status. Do you personally think it's time for Harvey and Donna to make the leap?
Yeah, look, I understand that. The only thing that I can say is there are people out there who have these types of relationships. Sometimes they last 25 years and their brothers and sisters and their best friends are like, "What the hell are you doing? Why don't you guys just hook up already and get together?" Who knows? Maybe they're not right for each other. At the end of the day, maybe, just maybe they're not right for each other. Maybe they are?
You were an integral part of Gina Torres' Chicago-set planted political spinoff in the finale. How interwoven will the new show be with Suits?
Our finale was more so a catalyst for creating a new story with one of our original characters. Moving forward, I have no idea what they're thinking as far as bringing recognizable characters from Suits onto their show. I'm so happy and thrilled for Gina that it got picked up. The story is really located now in Chicago and as you saw in the finale, there's no reason why people can't jump on a plane and appear in their world. But I think it is somewhat of a separate world in the beginning of the storytelling. If and when they come to me and say, "Hey, would you like to take part in this storyline?," I'll have to take a look at it at that point. But there's no reason why characters can't show up.
The show is welcoming a new partner at Specter Litt in season eight, played by Katherine Heigl. What does she bring to the table that breathes new life into Suits universe?
There are a lot of similarities between her character, Samantha Wheeler, and Harvey. As you'll see in the first couple of episodes, they go head to head. They're truly adversarial, but they sometimes mirror each other in their actions and their manipulative ways to accomplish what they need. There's something charming about that and exciting. We'll see who's the better the poker player, who can kick more people in the knees. With that said, Katie has expressed her fandom for the show and has loved the show for a little while. She's been right in. She gets the rhythm of the speech. She is really, really free with the material -- spontaneous. She's just been nailing it. It's been fun to play with her and I look forward to seeing where these characters are going to go and how much they'll have to do with each other. I can tell you in the first two episodes, there's been a lot [of interaction] and it's been a lot of fun.
More of a geeky question for you: Michael Jordan, who's been name-dropped for years. We're still waiting on that cameo! What's the status?
We shined him and then he bowed out. Apparently, he's coming in episode 8x03, but people are telling me he might not make it onto the plane. I don't know if it's for real. (Pauses for a moment.) That's all bulls**t. Don't take my word for any of that. (Laughs.)
Suits returns for season eight this July on USA Network.