Spoiler alert! In this week’s episode of USA’s Suits, Troian Bellisario’s Claire returned and found herself as the opposing counsel on a case with Rachel (Meghan Markle) and, though he tried to stay hidden, newly-minted junior partner Mike (Patrick J. Adams).
In the end, Rachel begged Claire, who knows Mike didn’t attend law school, not to out him — which she didn’t. But unbeknownst to Rachel, Claire did tell Mike that if he loves Rachel, he wouldn’t marry her. Bellisario spoke to Yahoo TV about the key scenes.
As a walkup to the episode, we talked about Claire’s first scene with Rachel and how the two of you do have a similar look, which emphasizes the point that these two women have things in common. Was that something you enjoyed playing with in the episode?
There are so many scenes when we are sort of mirroring each other. The way that she finally does appeal to me [to keep Mike’s secret] is by saying, “You could just as easily be in my position if you had found out later what Mike’s secret was [after you’d already fallen in love with him],” and I think that that is a huge moment for Claire. She’d been sitting kind of on her own moral high-horse the entire time in regards to Mike, because in her mind, she’s just like, “This is wrong. I would never allow this to happen.” But when Rachel reveals that [she’s engaged to Mike], I think it really does strike something for Claire, because, you know, Claire is a work horse. She hasn’t allowed relationships to run her life, and I think she does easily see that if she had just waited a little bit and fallen in love with him, she would easily be in the same position. Meghan was so great. She did such a magnificent job with that, that it did knock Claire off of her stride for a long time.
Rachel’s making her relationship in her life and her career a priority, and here you see Claire, who is very obviously just focusing on the career. To me, she’s very much out of the love game. When Rachel brings up her relationship, I think that’s something that Claire feels very far away from but is obviously envious of.
What do remember about filming that emotional scene?
When we both showed up that day, Meghan had chosen to wear white and I had chosen to wear black, which is kind of completely unintentional. And there’s this really wonderful moment when she was looking at me and she was saying those lines, and really, it was the bride begging for me to spare her future husband. After she finished her speech, church bells went off [outside]. I thought, “This is absolutely bizarre.”
Obviously the final scene with Claire and Mike has given him a lot to think about. What kind of conversations did you and Patrick have about that moment?
I think a lot of it, for us, is sort of unspoken. There were a few moments that we kind of had to unpack and figure out what were the moments of tension between us. You’ve watched this whole episode of one character trying to see the other, and then finally, he comes out and presents himself to her. So there’s a lot of complicated emotions for her. What we didn’t want to do — which I think was written very well — was make a scene about sexual tension, or a scene about a possible romance. The conversation between Mike and Claire truly was about Mike’s future, and, in Claire’s mind, what he was doing to this woman. That was really fun to play because I love working with Patrick, but also because I think he has a really wonderful understanding of the struggle that Mike is put in, which is, he wants it all: He wants to marry this woman that he’s in love with. He wants to have the career that he deserves — even if he didn’t go to school, he deserves it by all means — and here is this woman who holds a threat of taking everything away from him.
It’s interesting how she says that she doesn’t think it’s enough for him to stop pretending he’s a lawyer — if he loves Rachel, he wouldn’t marry her.
I think that’s what was so well-written about the episode. Rachel finally gets Claire to understand her position, and Claire, I think, kind of envisions herself in Rachel’s shoes. The wonderful thing about a woman as smart as Claire is that she sees that if Mike is marrying Rachel, he’s possibly going to ruin his life, but he’s really going to ruin hers. There’s this incredible potential in Rachel that she recognizes, both in her career and in her life, and she sees that Mike is really, really putting that in jeopardy. He is in love with Rachel, but Claire really wants to shake him and wake him up and say, “It’s not just your life now. That’s what marriage is. It’s not just you.”
Do you have any plans to return to the show again?
I would love to continue to return to Suits. It’s particularly difficult because they shoot their season exactly when my Pretty Little Liars season is. So it’s just always a matter of scheduling, which is why it was so wonderful that this worked out. But I’m really having my fingers crossed that they keep on bringing me back, and there’s definitely some times in the future where I think it would work out scheduling-wise. So I would be so happy to return.
Anything else you wanted to talk about that I haven’t mentioned?
Just that it was incredible to work with the talent that is [my fiancé] Patrick J. Adams. As much as I think it came from a completely noble place in Claire, it was super fun to look into his character’s eyes and be like, “Yeah, you shouldn’t marry her” and throw that wrench in there.
Suits airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on USA.