Warning: This interview contains spoilers for the ‘Trust’ episode of Suits.
It took some fast-thinking — and help from Harvey and the prison’s counselor and warden — but Mike (Patrick J. Adams) has started to get roommate Kevin (Erik Palladino) to open up to him. We learned that Kevin was arrested for almost killing someone while drunk-driving following a bad verbal fight with his wife. But he wouldn’t tell Mike what they were arguing about, or why he thinks he needs to protect his family now with his silence. At least not yet.
“When you approach those scenes as an actor, I try to connect it to my own life as much as possible. Especially when they are emotional scenes, I try not to force anything. If we get to the place that could be emotional, we get there. If we don’t, so be it,” says the father of three. “For me, it was just about connecting to my own children and imagining what that would be like, to not be with them and not be able to see them grow up and spend time with them the way that I do now. Imagining that is a very difficult thing for a human being to go through, if you are a person who is seeing the world through the lens of being a parent.”
He can also understand Kevin being slow to trust Mike. “I’m a New York guy, and trust doesn’t come easy for me. My wife always says, ‘Wow, it takes you years to say someone’s a good friend of yours, doesn’t it?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, it does.’ Somebody can hide for a good two or four years. You don’t know,” he says with a laugh. “[My wife and I have] been together 15 years. The thing I said to her over and over for the first two years was, ‘Are you really like this? Is this really who you are?’ She’s one of the most lovely people on the planet. My instinct was correct, but you just don’t know. Some people are better at it than others.”
Mike, for example, is good at hiding things. “He spent the first five seasons on Suits lying,” Palladino says. “In Kevin’s circumstance, he’s not going to just say, ‘Oh, you seem like a nice guy. Let’s be best friends.’ That would be crazy, especially in prison.’ In this episode, obviously, he opens up to him, and it’s really conflicting for Kevin to do that. He probably wanted to share some of this information over the last however long he’s been in prison at that point. Where there’s a bunch of diametrically opposing forces going on in somebody, I think that’s very interesting to watch.”
Mike’s dilemma is good TV, too. “I would imagine for the audience, it’s good to see a character — Mike, specifically — go through that struggle again. He spent five years going back and forth: [is pretending to be a lawyer] the right thing or the wrong thing? Right now, he’s going through that again with [betraying] Kevin: Is this the right thing for the greater good? Is this the wrong thing?”
As for where the relationship goes next, Palladino is playing that close to the vest. “Over the course of the season, it unfolds. It’s super entertaining. You’ve got to watch it. Definitely watch that show Suits. I’m on it, by the way,” he says, laughing at the biased endorsement. But seriously, he considers the role a blessing. “It made me feel really good about being in the business, being on such a show with such a lovely group of people,” he says.
Suits airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on USA.