SUITS Scoop: Sarah Rafferty Previews the Backstabbing, Bidding Wars and Mud Baths (!) That Lie Ahead

Sarah Rafferty courtesy of USA Networks

Between bidding wars, lying, backstabbing, theatre play, a mud bath, and fights – what more can a Suits fan prepare for? What else can the season offer? According to Sarah Rafferty, who plays Donna Paulsen, we are just beginning.

Last time we spoke, it was before the finale and you said the finale is going to be crazy, that fans don’t even know what’s about to come their way. And my mind is blown because the finale aired and literally every single character on the show live changed throughout the course of an hour. What was it like getting that script?
Rafferty: I feel like every season they have been able to nail the finale in that way, by surprising us and giving us a gut punch. I was just so excited, I think we all were really excited because change is good and change is fun. Those are really dynamic things to play. We are all really excited. I am not going to lie though; I really thought the fans were going to be pissed, especially at Donna. I had some conversations with our creator, Aaron about that and we had a good laugh. The day the finale aired we were on the phone together because I was a little nervous about how people were going to respond and he was too.

Well, I think that is what makes the show great. I have spoken to you a bunch of times and your cast mates. It seems all of you are so open to taking risks and just saying lets see how it goes. Between you all acting and the writers you seem to nail it every time. Now, I got to ask your take on the “I love you” statements that both Harvey and Donna have made. What did it mean?
Rafferty: I think I was the most interesting is that varying responds to what it is. We may have played it one way, but that people can you can have everyone debating as to what it means and having a different perspective on what it was. It’s kind of the most gratifying part of this, is that people are just engaged and they’re engaged either thinking they need to be with each other or they are thinking no they have a platonic love and that’s how it should be or she loves him and he doesn’t love her or visa versa. There are so many different ways that people see it so that’s great. I have said from the beginning that people conscious mind and their sub-conscious mind are two different things. So consciously both Harvey and Donna think that they’re not in love with each other and consciously Donna thinks that that they’re not a match for each other because as we saw, especially in the finale last year, she wants to have a conversation about their emotions, to have a conversation about their lives and their partnership and he doesn’t want to have that conversation. He can’t show up for it so to her he is not a match for her.

Another interesting thing about last season that made it all more complicated and confusing for her is that she had just been in a situation where she thought potentially her life was ruined and she was going to go to jail and Harvey saved her. And while that’s going on in her life, we flash back 12 years when her and Harvey met and her life took a different course. So sub-consciously she was probably reflecting on her life choices and how she got to this moment. So I think it’s not 100 percent what the “I love you” was. I can tell you this 100 percent she is not leaving him so he will come after her and they can be together.

I don’t think Donna would though. I love the character and you have probably experienced this in your lifetime, as a woman to have a strong character on television was very difficult. Now it’s becoming more common. But for a long time it wasn’t. For Donna she is such a strong character, I don’t think she would ever do anything for a game. I know you said earlier that you were nervous, but I took this as an amazing moment that Donna is standing up for what she wants against one of the strongest characters on the show, Harvey. So for you, when you got the script, what can we expect going into this new season because now everyone has a clean slate and transitioning.
Rafferty: Because they are in the transition things are not all calm and copasetic. We come right back, we don’t time jump. So they are in the trenches with it and managing all this change. So it’s not easy on any of them when we come back.

A lot of fans what to know what is going to happen to Harvey now that Donna is not going to be listening to his meetings. Is Donna going to get sucked back into Harvey’s world?
Rafferty: I think that is going to be a huge challenge for her. How can – she can’t just turn her back entirely on him. She can’t deny that she has had 12 years in this relationship; she can’t deny that she cares for him. So it puts her in a very compromised position at the firm working for someone else and having this kind of conflict of interest. So your right, it’s hard for her. She can’t just turn a blind eye.

What is it like switching over to work with Rick [Hoffman], who plays Louis vs. working with Gabriel [Macht]? I mean you and Gabriel know how each other works and the tango of moves you play together make it look so easy. Does that change for you as an actor moving over to work with someone else?
Rafferty: It’s the same way you would approach anything. But the recent seasons I have had a lot of scenes with Rick. So, the only thing that has really changed is that the dynamic is that she literally works for him. I feel like in past seasons I have had a lot of scenes with Rick and with Gabriel. With me, it’s one in the same. It hasn’t been a huge change except for the fact that Donna’s desk is actually in a different studio now and I always want to walk in the wrong door [laughs].

Is it fun? I love the scenes between Donna and Louis. How is it working together with both intense and fun scenes?
Rafferty: The same kinds of conflicts are there because when Donna works for somebody she puts her heart into it, it’s not just a job. She’s much more engaged in a deeper level in what’s going on. Things aren’t great between Harvey and Louis so it makes it like an extra double layer of complication for Donna going into the season. I think that’s basically sums it up, it’s complicated [laughs].

I would be shocked if you told me everyone was happy.
Rafferty: Yeah [laughs]. Well its not like they are coming back and going and doing dinner theatre together [laughs]. So, it’s going to be a little complicated.

Someone on twitter sent in a question. Somya, with the Twitter handle @SachinSree05 and she asked me would Donna ever be Harvey’s secretary again?
Rafferty: I think Donna thinks that, that is done. I think she has told herself that its done and over. I think she is an all in type of person so she thinks that is not going to happen. But I don’t really know. I would never say never. The first time I said Donna is always right they had Donna mess up the documents in season two.

Then I remember talking to you about whether or not Donna and Harvey hooked up and that was a no and then the writers threw another curveball and during the flashbacks we found out they hooked up.
Rafferty: They throw anything at us [laughs]. We were playing it one way and then were like, oh okay. So we just go with where the storyline takes us.

What can people expect this season?
Rafferty: I am not very far ahead of you guys in terms of episodes. I can tell you when we come back everyone is kind of out of their comfort zone and you are right to zero in on the fact that everything is changing for everybody. So there is a lot going on and it’s not comfortable and rosy right out of the gate. I am sure we will have some light moments peppered into the drama that people will enjoy, at least I hope.

Anything you want to say to the fans?
Rafferty: I want to say thank you. We do it for them. We wouldn’t have a television show if it weren’t for them and having them be as engaged as they are and loyal they are, and tweeting us and tweeting you – it’s so gratifying and It inspires us to continue to try and do good work. It’s why we do it. So I just send gratitude, love, and thanks.

Catch Suits every Wednesday at 9pm EST on USA.

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