Nowadays it is pretty common to come across Indians, (irrespective of age) who might be aware of such intricate American legal terms like ‘pleading the Fifth’ or ‘class action suit’ and most of these are not people who might be on the verge of embarking on a career as a lawyer in the US, but people from a variety of backgrounds who are hooked to the USA Network original series Suits. It is a famous legal drama, about to get into its 4th season, which is based on the events occurring in a fictional law firm in New York City. However, make no mistake, the show is hugely popular all across the world but in India it has well and truly attained a cult status.
The Series premiered in 2011 and over the last 4 years has garnered a following in India that can hardly be contested by the fan following of many other well known television series that have run during the same period. However the primary reason why the serial is so popular is not because of the seemingly knotty legal tangles that are presented in each episode. In fact the popularity of the show actually lies in the way it presents to the Indian viewers a classier version of the popular Indian serials that they had grown up on and the only difference is that the whole thing is packaged all too neatly that is decidedly appealing to a wide range of audiences. Let’s look at some of the reasons why Indians connect with Suits so well. The Dashing Male Lead: – The male lead Harvey Reginald Specter, played by Gabriel Macht is currently rated as one of the most handsome men on US television and in addition to that he dresses impeccably in ‘$12000 suits’, lives in a huge apartment in Manhattan, drops one liners with élan and he always ‘wins’; that kind of gives him the larger than life persona with which Indians are so used to when it comes to their male leads, be in on TV or the silver screen. Last but not the least, he is the definitive ladies’ man
The firm which is introduced in the first season as ‘Pearson Hardman’ only emloys lawyers err attorneys, who are educated from the hallowed Harvard Law School but Mike Ross bags the job even though he is not actually a lawyer by impressing Harvey with his wealth of legal knowledge. Mike Ross is played by Patrick J. Adams and he comes across as the perfect foil for a character like Harvey, since he is as smart as the legal eagle. However, he is a much loved character since viewers do not want his past to be revealed and his role of a sidekick is also an integral part of the storytelling process of some of the most famous Indian films likeSholay. His murky past however creates a web of intrigue and suspense.
The Glamour and the Money
Figures like ‘settlement of $46 million’ or statements like ‘I cut billion deals for breakfast’ along with the ‘$12000 suits’ worn by the lawyers, glass offices at the heart of Manhattan as well as the designer suits worn by the owner of the firm Jessica Pearson screams glamour and wealth, which is something that most of us find fascinating. Harvey drinking Scotch and listening to Jazz during office hours takes the cake though.
Jessica Pearson: The Fashion Icon
It is the same way in which plenty of us got hooked to the ‘saas bahu’ genre of serials in which the protagonists used to wear heavy jewellery, expensive sarees as they plotted their next move to bring down their adversary. Needless to say, the houses in which the families lived were almost always palaces and not mere houses. In a twisted way, Suits provides the viewers the whole thing but only in a far more realistic setting.
The Really Evil Villains
There are some characters like Travis Tanner, Louis Litt and Daniel Hardman who are as evil as some of the scheming housewives that you would find in some of the famous ‘K Series’ serials; the only difference being these are all grown men and established lawyers who want to ‘win’ against Harvey Specter by hook or by crook. Reason why Travis Tanner is so hated? He is more like Mahabharat’s Shakuni Mama and less like a scheming lawyer.However, the characters are played brilliantly by the respective actors and you would love to hate them.
However, the characters are played brilliantly by the respective actors and you would love to hate them.
High on Emotion and Drama
Harvey comes across as a man who does not give in to emotions but time and again it is seen that he does get emotional about the plight of any of his clients who might be in a hole for one reason or the other.
The recurring comic relief in the series is provided by Louis Litt played by acclaimed actor Rick Hoffman, who is a partner in the firm and Harvey’s ‘frenemy’. He has quirky habits like performing rotator cuff exercises after lunch, has a love for cats and even goes to a mock trial in order to gain possession of someone else’s pet cat. His epic one liner of ‘You just got Litt up’ has also become wildly popular.
At the end of the day it does not bore an international viewer from India with a lot of the intricacies related to the US legal system, except a few of them without which it would be tough to handle the storyline and most importantly a tough concept is easily explained during conversations among the different characters. As a matter of fact, legal experts have said that the series is hardly great on legal content but who cares as long as it is entertaining?
By: Soham Samaddar