'Suits': Patrick J. Adams Says Returning for Final Season Was About Celebrating the Show's Legacy (Exclusive)

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Home sweet home: Patrick J. Adams is back on Suits!

After a year and a half away, Adams returns to his old stomping ground, reprising his role as attorney Mike Ross in Wednesday's episode of USA Network's outgoing legal drama. In the hour, titled "If the Shoe Fits," Mike reunites with his former mentor, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), as he prepares to go toe to toe with his old boss -- and Samantha Wheeler (Katherine Heigl) -- on a new case.

For the 37-year-old actor, returning for the final season was a no-brainer. While not everyone will be back (see: Meghan Markle) for the last episodes, it was important for Adams to celebrate the Suits legacy with those who made the show a success for nine seasons.

"Ultimately, it was about coming back," Adams told ET in between scenes on the Toronto set of Suits in June. "It was about, 'We'd love to get the band back together,' basically. Do one last trip around the world. It was as simple as that. For me, it was just an excuse to come and see everybody and really be here for the final moment."

"When I left the first time, it was just me. was saying goodbye and I knew this thing would continue after me," he added. "Now I know that every time we'd shoot a last scene in the bullpen or in Harvey's office or in Donna's office or wherever, I'll get to be there for that. Then, when we say 'cut' for the final time and Suits is over and that's it and it's in the past, I know I'll get to be there with everybody when it happens. For me, that's a huge gift."

Here, Adams talks to ET about returning to the show that made him a star, reuniting with Macht and his fondest memory from the very first season.

ET: How exciting and surreal has it been to be back on set? Does it feel like you never left?

Patrick J. Adams: It was [surreal], yeah. You actually nailed it on the head. I was worried and I was nervous that it was going to be strange or that somehow I would feel out of place, and it was the exact opposite. As soon as I got here and got in the suit and got to set, it was like I was here last week, which is a testament to this place and the people and what a groove it is -- exactly what it always has been and it's a really easy rhythm to fall back into.

You've been away from the character of Mike Ross for a minute...

A year and a half, yeah.

Was it a seamless transition stepping back into his shoes?

Mike was not a huge leap, in terms of personality, for me. It's so close to who I am, I think, so accessing that part of me was not hard. I think Mike has grown a little bit while he's been gone. For me, the journey of Mike has always been about also charting his maturity. When we met Mike, he was very young, very naïve, obviously very smart but also out of his element a little bit. He was a little bit of the puppy dog in this big place. For me, it's always been about constantly trying to get him older to who is he now and find his confidence without losing the playfulness that I think fans really respond to.

Suits: Patrick J. Adams and Gabriel Macht
USA Network

When he comes back, Mike has, more than ever, found his place in the world. He's really happy in Seattle. I think he's killing it. I think him and Rachel are having a great time. It sounds like he's found that perfect balance between the corporate world and taking big cases and things that really challenge him and sharpened his game, but also working for people that need it and doing right by people and finding cases where he can protect people who have no one else to protect them. It sounds to me, from what I've been reading in the script, he's really found that sweet spot. He's very confident. He's ready to come back into this world and take Harvey head on and have a blast doing it. It's not a hard leap for me. I get to come back and be what I am, which is be excited, be happy and also be a little competitive and try to one up Harvey.

When I spoke with Gabriel last April following your last episode as a series regular, he said your departure left a "void." The Harvey-Mike dynamic that was the core of Suits left when you did. What has it been like reuniting with Gabriel again and getting to revisit their friendship?

I was worried when I left. I didn't know how it would work, because I felt that was the core of the show too. I certainly didn't want the show to fall apart in any way when I left, but I was curious what they were going to do and I think they've done a really nice job with the new cast members and finding new dynamics that really fit. I think the show clearly still works, but coming back and getting to return to form is wonderful.

Gabriel's so fun to work with. We have such a short form, it's crazy. I've never worked with another actor where we just so quickly fall back into form. I've never had a brother, but I imagine it feels like that, where you've got the same rhythms and you can make fun of each other and push each other's buttons and get a rise out of one another. When we sit down to rehearse a scene, it's just right there. It's just great to be comfortable. As actors moving from project to project, you're always seeking that level of comfort so that you can do your work at your most relaxed, and when you don't, it takes a long time to get there. It's a real gift of a show that's lasted almost 10 years that we can be there together one last time.

You've been with this character for nearly a decade. What is your fondest season one memory?

My fondest time was shooting the pilot. When you're shooting a pilot -- I'm sure every pilot is different -- but you're making it up as you go along. It's like shooting a film or something. There's no specific game plan. You don't have to follow any form. There's no wrong answer to something, there's just a lot of right answers that you have to choose from. It was just an unbelievably creative, stressful but exciting time shooting that pilot, and we were constantly trying to make new things up and find new ways to do things. Even if something worked, we were like, "Is there a better way, though? Let's do that."

That whole experience was so enlightening and so exciting, and then to have it become so successful was so great. The rest of the first season was wonderful too, because we didn't know if the show was going to be popular or how we were going to do. But we were always trying to get back to that thing we did in the pilot and so the seeds of that will stay with me forever. I'm always going to be reminded that when you go to work, to have that level of enthusiasm and curiosity and constantly trying to deepen these moments.

Suits airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network.

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