Suits’ Gabriel Macht Digs Into the Personal Side of Harvey Specter

Harvey tries to repair a broken relationship in the latest episode of the USA Network drama

by | February 1, 2017 | Comments

Gabriel Macht in Suits (Shane Mahood/USA Network)

Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) might be a hotshot lawyer on Suits, but his world is essentially crumbling around him right now: His law partner, Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), left him; his protégé, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), just finished a stint in prison and refuses to work with him again; and he hasn’t spoken to his mother in seven years.

But in Wednesday’s episode, Harvey will take an important step toward self-improvement: he’s going to visit his mother and hopefully make peace with the woman he’s blamed for most of his problems.

Ahead of the big episode, Macht spoke with Rotten Tomatoes about the effect Harvey’s visit will have on the rest of his life, the status of Harvey’s relationship with Mike, and that fake-out dream sequence with Harvey and Donna (Sarah Rafferty) that fans are probably still freaking out about.

Gabriel Macht in Suits (Shane Mahood/USA Network)

Jean Bentley for Rotten Tomatoes: How was it to delve into this personal side of Harvey?
Gabriel Macht: I love it. So much of the show is procedural driven and law talk and all of that stuff that takes forever to memorize and very hard to make natural and look like I know what the hell I’m talking about. When you get a narrative where we depart from the procedure and actually talk about personal issues of a character, it was easier in many ways to learn and more challenging to get in touch with those places in your head or in your heart where you have to reveal what’s going on.

I love that Harvey uncovers the seed of anger that has been driving him for so long. I think Donna, being the great voice of reason for him, really pushes him to go reconnect with his mother and make him deal with his fears of abandonment. I think this episode allows for reconnecting in ways that we haven’t seen him do. He’s such a workaholic, and to see a personal side of him, what makes him tick, it was very challenging for me and exciting, and I’m really proud of this episode. I’m happy with the way it came out.

RT: It’s fun to see this other side of Harvey. He can be a little bit of a jerk sometimes. To see this other side of him and more about why he is the way he is was pretty fun, especially this far into a show.
Macht: We’ve seen glimpses of it here and there, and I think what’s great is he is this impulsive guy and he is aggressive and he can be a real jerk. Underneath, I think we all know that he’s got a heart of gold and he’s got his heart in the right place, but he does have these demons that he needs to work out.

When he goes out there, he basically takes a bit of his armor off and tries to get in touch with what’s going on inside of him. I think he learns some truths that open his eyes and allow him to grow and mature. I think he feels responsible, himself, for taking off and not connecting with his family. Maybe we’ll see a side of Harvey moving forward where he’s a little bit more accommodating and a little less fearful. He’s got anxiety attacks and all that stuff. Maybe this will center him and ground him in a way that we haven’t seen in a while.

Gabriel Macht, Brynn Thayer in Suits (Pana Pantazidis/USA Network)

RT: What can you say about how this visit with his mother will affect the other relationships in his life?
Macht: I think he’s just going to take a little bit of his own ego out and let it rest for a little while. I think he’s going to come to a place where he’s actually listening a little bit more, and I think he will understand that maybe other people have different perspectives, and I think that he’s still going to do his best. He’s definitely going to maneuver the truth when he needs to, because that’s just who he is at times. All for the right moral gain. I think what fans are really responding to is that we all make mistakes. Sometimes his wit and his maneuvering or how he works it all out is sort of superhuman, or … What’s the word? The elevated version of ourselves.

In this episode, what I like so much is that it’s not the elevated version. He’s the most human that I think I’ve seen him in a long time. I’m proud of the writing and of the crew and setting it up to where it’s almost the most naturalistic that we’ve seen.

RT: I really need to talk to you about that dream sequence at the beginning of the premiere with Harvey and Donna.
Macht: Yes, that dream sequence. Did you think it was a dream?

RT: No. Not at first. I got tricked.
Macht: We got you?

Sarah Rafferty, Gabriel Macht in Suits (Shane Mahood/USA Network)

RT: You got me, but also then I was like, “Of course it’s not. Of course it’s a dream.” So what’s the status of Harvey and Donna’s relationship right now?
Macht: The status, I don’t think, has changed. I think the status is they both rely on each other to give each other their honest and truthful opinion of what’s going on around them. I think they’re still struggling with how to be truthful and honest with each other. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know if that means, “Oh, gosh, they’ve got to be together and they’re not in touch with that.” I think they’re both probably very confused.

That dream is all about setting up this episode, basically. The fear of abandonment: That’s what Harvey’s been struggling with for a long time. This is where his anxiety attacks have come from, and these are the issues he has with his mother. That’s what that whole arc with the therapist was about.

As far as the status of Harvey and Donna now, I really don’t know where they’re at. I know that they’re full confidantes and they have each other’s’ backs. We’ll see where that relationship heads. I know the fans think they want the two together, but I don’t know if they really want them together.

RT: What was it like to film that little wink to fans?
Macht: Patrick was directing the scene. It’s very awkward for both Sarah and I. We’ve been friends for so many years, and our kids are friends, her husband and I are really, really close buddies. My wife, Jacinda [Barrett] and Sarah — we’re all very, very connected on so many different levels, so we’re professional, and we got through it and it was all good. The scene turned out great.

Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams in Suits (Shane Mahood/USA Network)

RT: We saw Mike and Harvey butt heads in the premiere. What can you say about their relationship going forward? Can they ever reconcile?
Macht: I think they can. I think they’re both very rational people at times, and I think at this moment both of them are feeling a bit irrational and a bit scared and a bit fearful about how they’re both going to move forward. Harvey at the firm, and Mike just in his life overall. I think they’re very sensitive and Harvey has the best intentions to try and figure out how to get Mike back in the firm and offer him this deal as a consultant, and Mike really needs to grow up and figure out what he’s doing moving forward. He doesn’t even know what he could be doing with his life, so there are big questions in that episode.

These guys, they’re family. These guys are brawling with each other and making up and forgiving each other like we do in families, and trying to just get through it. Life is tough and, right now, the stakes are high for them. I think they’re going to forgive and forget and try to work through it.

Suits airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on USA

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