The Thursday Playlist: Suits, FX Goes Legit, a Nerds War and Oprah Rides Lance
Patrick J. Adams | Photo Credits: Shane Mahood/USA Network
Winning the battle was only half the story — or, in this case, the season. USA Network's Suits returns Thursday (10/9c) to finish out a second year, its momentum from the crackling first half of the season somewhat stalled by the four-month break. Nothing in the first two new episodes quite matches the tension of the summer run, which was dominated by a suspenseful in-house battle for control of the Pearson Hardman (now minus Hardman) law firm.
But in the wake of the failed coup, there are few happy campers, rivals smell blood in the watercooler, and loyalties continue to be tested in USA's edgiest drama. Mike (Patrick J. Adams), the savant who pretends to be a licensed lawyer, is in especially sorry shape, mourning his beloved grandmother by turning into a promiscuous pothead, alienating his primary ally, the ace paralegal Rachel (Meghan Markle). As his own disillusion leads to self-destructive actions with bruising consequences, Mike is further rattled when assigned to Harvey's (Gabriel Macht) latest client, a rich kid involved in a hit-and-run that triggers traumatic memories of Mike's own parents' death.
Who's having fun these days? Newly promoted senior partner Louis Litt (Rick Hoffman in a career-high role), preening as he takes advantage of his new perk of being able to hire his own associate, with the help of a feisty headhunter (Rachael Harris, always a hoot). But when Louis' new "machine" of an overachiever wonders why she never heard of Mike back at Harvard, the risk of exposure once again becomes an issue. "The gift that keeps on giving," boss Jessica (the awesome Gina Torres) laments to Harvey. "How many more headaches is this kid going to give me?"
Let's put it this way. No more headaches, no more show.
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THE FX FACTOR: With the exception of the remarkable Louie and the hysterical animated Archer (which returns at 10/9c), I tend to be a much bigger fan of FX's distinguished drama slate than of its generally crude comedies. I may be willing to make yet another exception, with Legit (10:30/9:30c), a gamy but genuinely affecting new series that feels more like an independent movie unfolding in half-hour chapters. Australian comedian Jim Jefferies is the scruffily nondescript star — like Louis C.K., playing a version of himself and using his own name — and we first encounter Jim in his adopted home of Los Angeles, going on bawdy riffs that mark him as a self-absorbed misanthrope and a disappointment to his mum back home.
In a bid to go "legit," or at least bolster his character, Jim goes on a crusade to improve the fortunes of his divorced best friend's brother, Billy (the terrific DJ Qualls), who's confined to a hospital bed and wheelchair with advanced Muscular Dystrophy. At 32, Billy has an appetite for life (or at least the desire to get some action) that Jim is more than happy to fulfill, even if it kills the guy. The first episode involves a road trip to a Vegas cathouse, where we soon discover (to Jim's slapstick chagrin) that there's more to Billy than meets the eye. There's also more to Jim than his profane shtick would lead us to believe, though he's not above exploiting Billy's disability for his own selfish gain. This is, after all, a dark comedy.